I mentioned the flat in "Ma nuit chez Maud". Another great movie flat is the one in "Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain" by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (2001). I love directors who pay attention to the opportunities of set design. Amélie's is a flat you want to crawl into and just nest away - well, she's overall a paragon of loveliness.
Two other directors I love for the same reason are Pedro Almodóvar and Michel Gondry. They both create absolute universes that I long to live in, whether it be the tradegy of "Todo sobre mi madre" or of "La science des rêves". They both have an impeccable eye for movie interior design, and know how to use it to tell a story, in different ways.
"Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" by Brad Silberling (2004) has served as a source of inspiration for my yet-to-be-made short "The Death of Things". "Lemony Snicket's..." is a film with an absolute theatrical universe that brings to the story as much as the story brings to the set. Lovely.
For me this is a very interesting way of working, to try and tell as much as possible of the story through interiors and exteriors (not putting photo, light, costume etc aside). Maybe this is because I began as a classical animator, where you have no room at all in the beginning, not even an empty room. Just a blank piece of paper, or an empty computer screen, to fill with your heart's desire.
(The images link to their original location.) Edit! Some of the pic links have since been broken.