There was no script, no pilot, basically just a sketch of an idea: a television comedy about a New York family man with a disability. But the lead role was to be played by Michael J. Fox, and the story lines would be loosely based on his experiences living with Parkinson’s disease for the past two decades. (The actor’s eponymous foundation has raised more than $ 300 million for Parkinson’s research.) Multiple networks wanted the show. NBC, which committed to producing 22 episodes, won the bidding war, and Fox’s return to a starring prime-time role is slated for next fall.
The series undoubtedly will feature his character in scenes at home. Chances are, however, the set won’t look much like the Manhattan apartment Fox shares with his wife, actor Tracy Pollan, and their four children in an august Upper East Side building. That apartment is their sanctuary. Private. For family and friends. And,until recently, not exactly camera-ready.
In the more than 15 years since it was decorated by Marc Charbonnet in a traditional style (AD October 1997), the Fox-Pollan residence had gradually become a monument to entropy. "Our tastes changed but we held off redecorating – it seemed like a big undertaking," Pollan explains. "Something would rip, and I'd say, 'Just wait.' Thepaint would peel. I'd say,'Just wait.'"
Fox is more succinct. "This place has raised four kids," he says. "We beat the hell out of it"
For the reclamation project Fox and Pollan turned to Mariette Himes Gomez and her daughter, Brooke, the team behind the Manhattan interior design firm Gomez Associates. Fox says he and Pollan knew precisely what
they wanted: "a younger-style apartment than we had when we were younger."
That meant jettisoning the vividly hued antique carpets, the plump, tufted seating, and the richly patterned curtains. "Michael and Tracy are very aesthetic people," Mariette says, "but for them family comes first." So the updated liv-ing room is a stage set for informal gatherings, with people,
not objects, front and center. It’s a whisper of a space, with clean lines, neutral colors, and sleek modern furnishings. The earth-tone Arne Bang stoneware vessels on the mantel
Left, from top: Fox and Pollan in their living room. The space features a 1930s De Coene Frères black-lacquer console (one of a pair) from Karl Kemp Antiques and circa-1950 glass-top Edward Wormley cocktail table; the square cashmere pillow is from the Shop. Opposite: A painting by Richard Pousette-Dart is displayed between circa-1920 French sconces from Alan Moss; the vintage Arne-Bang ceramics on the mantel were found at Maison Gerard, and the Hickory Chair armchair is covered in a Kravet Couture fabric.