05 March, 2012

"Designing in the Flickering Darkness . . . "


Greetings,

Okay y'all.  I wanna play a little game with everyone.  Hop over to the comments . . . and let's talk about the movies.   Not your favourite stars . . . or soundtracks . . . but, your favourite interiors.   But, I want to go further than a gushing commentary about the "Something's Gotta Give" house.  Yes, I know we all love that space.  And it turned the design world upside down for years afterwards.  But, I wanna dig a little deeper.  What I'm really fascinated to talk about are those movies where 'the house' is a character.  And the changes to the interior of the house affect the plot of the film.

I'll start with a few.

"Out of Africa"



Even just typing those three words on my computer brings up a deep well of emotion.  And that house.  That house.  Watching its evolution throughout the film.  And then seeing the contents of Karen's home spread across the front lawn (like some kind of turn-of-the-century One Kings Lane sale) . . . and Meryl and Robert swaying in slow motion - weaving a path through 'the things' of her life.  A simple, glorious film about ownership . . . and letting go . . .



"Mr. Blandings Building His Dream House"


I often recommend new clients watch this one before we start any major renovations.  Not only as a cautionary tale . . . but, to help everyone see that even the most gruesome construction projects result in the most amazing homes.  I even use "is this the flower sink?" as a code word . . . to be that little "why-don't-we-just-do-this-tiny-microscopic-throw-away-idea" thing - that throws the entire project (and/or budget) into a tailspin  . . .

And then something a tiny bit more obscure . . .


"Kiss Me Goodbye"



If you've never heard of this one . . . don't fret . . . practically no one has.  And it's SO off the radar, that I can't find a single image of the interior of the film ANYWHERE on the entire internet.  The story itself revolves around the brilliantly comical Sally Field - as she re-opens the New York brownstone that she had shared with her late husband.  I know it doesn't sound like a promising beginning to a fun comedy . . . but, if you find it 'on demand' - it's a good two hours of laughter and classical design.

Alrighty y'all.  Let's start sharing your favourites . . .

Cheers,
Scot

58 comments:

Scot Meacham Wood said...

Oooooo . . .

I another favourite.

Kevin Klein's "My Life as a House."

Today's Treasure by Jen said...

Great subject Scot. I know this sounds crazy, but the basement in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" is an incredible antique hunters dream!!! Aside from that "Mommy Dearest" had wonderful interiors as well- Can't wait to see what everyone says. ~Jen

Jen said...

Al Pacino's Manhattan apartment in Serpico. Brownstone with a garden. Opera, Pacino. It defined what I wanted my first NY apartment to be. Of course I had to go to Brooklyn to afford it.

Sarah said...

I still dream about the beautiful home in the Hamptons that was featured in Something's Gotta Give.
Great topic, Scott. ~ sarah

Daniel James Shigo said...

"Rope" by Hitchcock. It was probably the first movie that I remember where I was as fascinated by the interior as I was by the plot. The huge window, green walls, and the trunk cum coffee table with the dead body. Great stuff.

Anonymous said...

The home of Meg Ryan in the film "you have got mail" changing according to the actual feelings of her the site of the bed, the colours and light in the flat I love it. Dorka from Hungary

oliver thomas said...

My initial thought would have to be Mansfield Park...for the sheer scale...grandeur and opulance of a bygone era.

c. Joy said...

I dreamed of living in the "Kiss Me Goodbye" Brownstone? At least I think that's what it was, hard to remember (didn't that come out about the same time as "Murphy's Romance" - won't want to confuse the Sally Field houses...). I like the "Practical Magic" house - love the kitchen. And "The Holiday" houses. Too bad most of them are 'movie magic.'

Lee said...

Hands down for me... "Money Pit"!
Boy can I relate.
Lee

a cottage we two share said...

Ingrid Bergman's apartment in Indiscreet
Fantastic!

Turling said...

Money Pit! Damn, Lee beat me to it!

laney said...

...the british house in the movie "mrs miniver"...and the audrey hepburn apartment in "wait unitl dark"...each space was as important a chracter as the people...(and THAT window in "rope" was definitely a character in the movie!)

Kevin said...

War of the Roses, as the house became perfect the marriage became a tear down. of course, currently..Downton Abbey the show is the house. My all time favorite is Under the Tuscan Sun. I love teh whole act of take one room and make it your own, etc

Ann said...

Haha, it has been mentioned but "Money Pit" is fun too!

Scot Meacham Wood said...

Since several of y'all have mentioned "The Money Pit" . . . you may not be aware that it is actually a re-make of "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House!"

Scot Meacham Wood said...

And seriously y'all . . . no one has mentioned "Auntie Mame" yet?!?!?!? lol . . . it's one of the best interiors - and one of the best characters - in the film!

Jennings and Gates said...

Mentioning Sally Field, you reminded me of "Murphy's Romance." The house and barn are derelict and full of dust and mice. She arrives with everything she owns piled in the bed of an ancient pickup truck, but I love how full of optimism she is. The first thing she does is pull a weed out of the front yard and stick it in a coffee can on the mantle. Fabulously, as she brings order to the house and gives new life to the barn, her life and her sense of self gain new life as well. Thanks for the great post!

Scot Meacham Wood said...

Jennings and Gates -

There's also that great scene in the beginning of "The Color Purple" - where Whoopi is cleaning and re-claiming that beautiful farmhouse.

good stuff!
Scot

YONKS said...

Two stick in my mind, the beautiful seaside home in "The Ghost & Mrs Muir" and the renovation Rock Hudson did of an old barn in "All that Heaven Allows". Both b&w films, with interiors that, to me, stand the test of time. I could live in either now.
Great subject.
Di
x

Tabitha said...

Aunt Mame for her constantly evolving interiors and gin soaked life - need I say more?

a serene life for me said...

Actually I remember an interview that Sally Field did for the movie "Kiss Me Goodbye". It was her film all the way and she let them shoot in her New York townhouse. That beautiful town house is, or was hers. And, I agree I fell it love with when I saw the movie.

Eiresicilia said...

Something's Got To Give is my favorite and I love these too...Marley & Me, The Holiday, It’s Complicated, Housesitter, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Butterfield 8, Pillow Talk, Auntie Mame, Indiscreet, After the Thin Man
what fun!!!
http://youtu.be/Lxw_lDchA3A

Anonymous said...

All the homes and scenery in Pride and Prejudice are breathtaking. The grand estates define the upper class characters and the country home defines the Bennet family.

The home in Father of the Bride is classic and the outdoor reception in the tent is to die for!

CeceliaMc said...

The house in the original Christmas in Connecticut.

The inn in White Christmas.

The beach house in Goodbye Charlie.

Every interior in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Tony Randall's office in Pillow Talk.

The kitchen in the remake of Father of the Bride.

Bette Midler character's great room in the remake of Stepford Wives.

I'll stop now...

shiree segerstrom said...

Kiss me Goodbye was one of my favorite romantic movies! I'd completely forgotten it. The two movies that do it for me are "It's Complicated" and "The Holiday". I adore the Spanish style house Meryl Streep lives in in Santa Barbara and I love the beginning when you pan over all the tile roof types! Shiree'

CeceliaMc said...

kate Winslet's cottage in that Christmas movie she did with Cameron Diaz comes to mind too.

I don't how she could have left that place for L.A.

Also, the house in the Peter Seller's movie "The Party".

Pat Harmanci said...

"Someone To Watch Over Me". Mimi Rogers' NY townhouse is gorgeous. You can't see much of it, much to my disappointment, but the glimpses make one salivate for more!

Leslie said...

how about the kitchen in "It's Complicated" :) loved it!

Holly Hollingsworth Phillips said...

"The Thomas Crown Affair"...Beautiful beginning to end...Especially Pierce Brosnan's Brownstone.

R. Scott said...

I could list forever:

The English Country house in "A Bill Of Divorcement" - Katherine Hepburn's first movie.

The English Country House in "Howard's End".

The English Suburban house in "Room With A View".

Greta Garbo's Parisian Home in her last silent picture, "The Kiss" - Hollywood Art Deco at its most refined.

Norma Desmond's faded mansion in "Sunset Boulevard".

The c. 1900 family townhouse in Bergman's "Fanny & Alexander".

Ronda said...

The Carmel house in "Seems Like Old Times" with Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase.

Ann said...

Grey Gardens, the movie, before it fell victim to the cats and racoons

Off the Map

The Last September

Jewell in the Crown - Rose Cottage

The Family Stone

and of course, Downton Abbey

Cynna said...

The main house in High Society--so classic. Also interiors from the film Once Upon a Time in America (Robert DeNiro, James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern, Joe Pesci, Tuesday Weld)especially the ballroom. Gorgeous!

La Comtesse Lola said...

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again...

Anonymous said...

Scott,
Two of my favorite interiors, although I would not really consider them to be characters in the films, are Mimi Rogers' Manhattan apartment, in the movie "Someone to Watch Over Me", and Meg Tilly's house in the movie "Masquerade". I have watched these DVD's more than once just to look at the interiors. - Lisa

Postcards From The Hedge said...

Scot:

Brideshead revisited. Created a whole generation of discontent. Sidebar: My friend in East Hampton was approached by the Something's Gotta Give location folks, but she didn't want to be without her beach house for a whole summer. It is a special place!

Brillante Interiors said...

I am a cinephile and a designer sooo I really watch movies with a designer's eye (and a photographer's eye too, sometimes I just see still pictures during a movie). here are some favorites but I have many more:

"Un coeur en hiver" and majority of French movies

"Auntie Mame" for all the different phases of decor

"I am love" with my favorite House Museum in Milan (Villa Necchi)

Tracy@GeneralSplendour said...

YES I love the movie Kiss Me Good-Bye but have not seen it in years.

Ever since i first saw the movie Holiday Inn with Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby, I wanted to live in that gorgeous farmhouse. The palladian windows were to die for! I also love Sean Thornton's cottage in The Quiet Man. And I gush over Pemberley in the 1995 BBC production of Pride & Prejudice. The grounds are simply breathtaking. And I could go on and on....

Victoria said...

just finished watching Kiss Me Goodbye
forgot how wonderful that place was.
I too loved Gull Cottage from
the Ghost and Mrs. Muir, the house Practical Magic will always be a favorite. And there is a movie whose
title escapes me of an old castle in
Scotland that the main character a lady restores to live in with thick
stone walls any idea anyone of what I am referring to?

Karen said...

Scot,
What a great topic...first of all, Out of Africa is one of my all time favorite movies...for Meryl Streep's character as well as her house and the land around her. Steve Martin and Diane Keeton's house in Father of the Bride, the cottage in Holiday with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet...so many lovely homes.

carol miller said...

One of my favorites is the cottage in " In Name Only" staring Cary Grant and Carole Lombard. Half way through...Cary has it redone for Carole and we get a walk through. I die!!

Scot Meacham Wood said...

firstly - I'm loving ALL the feedback - and ALL the great movie suggestions! I too love "Brideshead" - one of the major characters in Brideshead Revisited. And all of the homes in Howard's End! I don't know that I've ever seen "Murphy's Romance" - so I'll put it on my list.

Keep 'em coming!
S

oliver thomas said...

Gretings,
Just like to say ive added Auntie Mame to my wish list of moviesi i need to watch (on reccomrndation frpm yourself and others on this subject,) i remeber seeing it soo many years ago but i was far too young too really appreciate it.
Its really so great to know im not the only one whos constantky looking in the background at the interiors and sets of movies!! lol

Anonymous said...

Loved the house in Steve Martin's Father of the Bride
Meryl Streep's house in It's Complicated
Both Houses in The Holiday
The Tuscan Farmhouse in Stealing Beauty
All the Interiors in The Talented Mr. Ripley
The New York appt in The Nanny Diaries
Everything about Downton Abbey with which I am obsessed!
And in a totally different vein....Mad Men because it is so Rat Pack cool!
Also just rewatched some of the really old Bond films and they are like a time capsule of interior design! LOL and also becoming cool again......

Ess said...

Rebecca!

The house is utterly consumed by the ghost of her (or the memories of her) so much so that it is only through Mrs Danvers' destruction of it through fire that Rebecca is purged.

Ess

Anonymous said...

These have been mentioned - Aunti Mame, The Money Pit, Holiday Inn (I still want those windows) and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir - how about the TV version of the Ghost and Mrs Muir, and the very cool Munster House and The Adams Family!! Donna

carol miller said...

Ok....I thought of a few more...Bringing Up Baby, I'm stuck on Cary Grant. The log house in Legends of the Fall, and the
Mexican estate in Old Gringo. I wonder if that estate is a place or just a set...it's incredible !!

tammy j said...

darn. you may never even see this comment, i'm late in the game...
but i love the house by the sea in "the ghost and mrs muir" with gene tierney and rex harrison.
beautiful movie! and house.

Penny said...

The cottage, Howard's End, in "Howard's End". It is the main character of the movie!

Tami said...

Auntie Mame is my favorite house movie. Her apartment changes from one extreme design to another.

KO said...

A Good Year

A British investment broker inherits his uncle's chateau and vineyard in Provence, where he spent much of his childhood. Divine decaying house and grounds. The house is the main character.

See the previews
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0401445/

This is a television show but nearly every interior in the PBS show "Zen" is fascinating, particularly the old Rome apartment in episode 2.

See the previews
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1618371/

Great topic!

Anonymous said...

Leave her to Heaven cabin "Back of the Moon" and the Beach house where Jean Tierney dies...

Bubble and Squeak said...

The revamped barn that Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson share in the movie, All That Heaven Allows. Chic Chic Chic!

Terri~the dressed up cottage said...

Great topic.
Did anyone mention:
Under the Tuscan Sun
or
It's a Wonderful Life

this gives us all great movie choices to watch.
what fun.

mlbdesign said...

love all the period movie suggestions-all the houses in the movie "Persuasion" are gorgeous and show a range of wealth and circumstances. but one of my all-time favorite houses is in the Robert Downey movie "Restoration" the house he is given by the king, banished from, and then after he escapes the plague in London- magically floats to on the river...and that made me remember the home of Gwyneth Paltrow in the movie "Shakespeare in Love" Cheers!
Meredith

Jed said...

The kitchen and conservatory in the movie Practical Magic was wonderful.
I remember Kiss Me Goodbye. I even named my dog "Shakespeare", like the one in the movie.
Jed.

Anonymous said...

Love all the houses mentioned already...but want to add the beautiful San Francisco house in Mrs Doubtfire. Sally Field again-she's made some fun movies in great houses! Cheers, Maureen

...................... said...

Well fiddle-de-de, I do believe that I could live in Tara, from Gone With the Wind rather well. Hands down a true classic.

For a more modern take, move me right on up to the penthouse apartment in, A Perfect Murder, with Gwyneth Paltrow.

Yes please!

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