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Rome In A Day

September 24, 2000|DEBRA J. HOTALING

Homes, like movies, can go over budget faster than you can say "Heaven's Gate."

Which brings us to production designer Joel Lang, who perfected the art of moody interiors in the 1980s TV series "Miami Vice." Often working in expensive private homes, Lang's job was creating numerous sets within one residence.

If transforming a comfortable den for a corporate CEO to its on-screen role as an upscale drug dealer's den of iniquity wasn't enough of a challenge, Lang and his crew had to work this magic without pounding a single nail into a wall. Operating within this bracing set of rules, Lang came up with the idea of practicing his one-day installation voodoo on real folks' homes.

In Lang's world, designers create rooms in the studio--complete with furniture, lighting and decorative architectural details--that they later reassemble in the home.

Call it prefab. But if you're thinking double-wide trailers with a "wide load" sign, you'd be off track. "If somebody remodels his home, he has contractors coming in and out for six months," he says. "This way, you set them up in a hotel for two weeks and then they can have their life back."

Lang admits that his prefab concept isn't inexpensive, but it may be cheaper than hiring a designer who turns out to be the Michael Cimino of remodeling. And Lang is convinced there are people willing to pay for the pleasure of a new home without the turmoil of a remodel. Unless, of course, you're looking forward to six months of arguing with your spouse about crown molding.

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Lang Design Inc., Woodland Hills, (818) 704-1671.

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