The Oscars!!!


The living room from my all-time favorite movie house:  "Something's Gotta Give."  The elements that make this house so successful:  dark wood floors & furniture, slipcovered upholstery, blue & white striped dhurri rug, white walls, the contrast between the light & dark.

Tonight, the world is watching The Oscars to see if their favorite movie wins.  The Fashionistas of the world watch The Oscars to see what dresses the stars are wearing.  So, where does that leave us fiends who love home decor?  While there is an award for set design, it's not one of the most popular award given out.  And more importantly, the award for Best Set Design doesn't mean:  Best House of the Year.   What if Oscar did give an award like that out?  What would be your pick, your favorite house in a movie?   Design bloggers like to discuss movie houses and we tend to do that often. We ask each other:  what movies are your favorite to "watch?"   This has nothing to do with whether the movie is actually "good."    You see, if you are a design fiend, you "watch" a movie in a different way than the typical movie goer does.  We look beyond the movie stars to see the set.  What is the house in the movie like?  Is it beautiful?  Is it contemporary or traditional?  What is the furniture like? What accessories did they use?    Would I like to live there?  How can I copy that room?   Design bloggers love to talk movie sets:    The blogger Katrina from "Room with Pretty Things" recently recommended the new movie "Defintely, Maybe" as a must see for it's movie set.   Courtney from Style Court wrote recently that the movie with the most "stylish interiors" was "Indescreet," starring Ingrid Bergman.    Later, Style Court and I were discussing good movie sets and she personally recommended I watch "Everyone Says I Love You," an obscure Woody Allen musical with a good movie set. And, of course everyone knows "Mrs. Blandings" claims "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" as her all time favorite interiors movie.   

But, have you ever wondered what movies famous designers like to "watch" for their beautiful homes?  Recently, Maggie Galehouse with the Houston Chronicle posed just that question to a group of A-Lister designers:

Sherry Donghia, creative force behind the powerhouse company, Donghia,  listed  three movies as her favorite film sets:    Woody Allen's "Interiors" gets her vote for its set which is "interesting and seductive." Another favorite:  "Grand Hotel" starring Greta Garbo  - "totally luxurious" set in Berlin in the 1930's, "when Berlin was Berlin."    And last, she named "The Talented Mr. Ripley" starring Matt Damon - for it's stylish clothes, homes, accessories and beach scenes.


Woody Allen's "Interiors" is a favorite of Donghia's.  She loves the house the movie is set in.


The dining room from "Interiors"  - notice the gray mural over the wainscoting.  Large antique English buffet with silver accessories.  Woody Allen's films typically are filled with interesting houses and sets.


Donghia's pick:  "The Grand Hotel" - Berlin when it was Berlin.


Donghia's third choice:  "The Talented Mr. Ripley" - the stylish clothes and sets attracted Donghia to it.


"The Talented Mr. Ripley" - the European settings are as stylish as the wardrobes.

Bob Williams, partner of the successful furniture line Mitchell Gold+Bob Williams, cites "Practical Magic" as his favorite movie house.  "Practical Magic," starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman,  is often on blogger's favorite movie set lists too.  The movie is set in an old Victorian house  with a fabulous kitchen that gets decor lovers' attention.  Williams' other favorite decor movie is "Stepmom" - he adores Susan Sarandon's brown apartment in the movie.


"Practical Magic" and it's famous kitchen that everyone loves.


A cream, English AGA stove is at the center of the "Practical Magic" kitchen.


"Stepmom" - Sarandon in her brown apartment that Bob Williams loves.


Trend maker and all around decor guru, Thomas O'Brien names "Girl With a Pearl Earring" as his favorite movie:  "exquisitely gorgeous from first frame to last."  I couldn't agree more.


"Girl With a Pearl Earring" is Thomas O'Brien's favorite movie set.  Here Scarlett Johansson acts out the famous Vermeer painting. 


Vermeer's gorgeous "Girl with a Pearl Earring."


A scene from the movie - this set looks exactly like Vermeer's house where he painted most of his paintings.


Scarlett gets the pearl earring for the first time from Vermeer.  The blue of the scarf stands out from the movie's muted tones.girlwithpearl4

Here, Vermeer's wfe  - the owner of the stolen pearl earring.


Daughter of a famous designer, and a designer in her own right, Alexa Hampton loves "The Leopard" starring Burt Lancaster.  Filmed in 1963,  Hampton says "it's the whole glamorous Italy" that she loves about the movie.   Another favorite of hers is the PBS series "Brideshead Revisited" which was filmed in England at Howard Castle.  If you love this movie set also, Howard Castle is open to visitors each summer. 



"The Leopard" a favorite of Alexa Hampton.


The period piece, Brideshead Revisted makes Hampton's list.


Here is Howard Castle, where many movies have been filmed.  The stately castle is open to visitors and approximately 200,000 come each year.


Bill Stubbs, Houstonian interior designer and author of "I Hate Red, You're Fired!" cites "The Philadelphia Story" as his top choice for best movie set.  "The whole Main Line, Pennsylvania lifestyle.  The clothes, the preparation for a big party...everything just seemed to be the way you wanted your life to look."  For a newer film set, he likes  "Casino Royale" a recent James Bond film partly shot  in northern Italy on the lake in a fantasy villa and at the Hotel de Paris in Monaco.  


This MainLine residence attracts Bill Stubbs to "The Philadelphia Story."  What a cast!


Suave James Bond in Casino Royale - Bill Stubbs favorite newer movie set.


And what did Cote de Texas name as her favorite movie houses?   "Well, of course, I love 'Something's Gotta Give.'  by Nancy Meyers - that house set in the Hamptons with its blue and white stripe dhurri rug, the slipcovered furniture, the dark wood floors, the dining room, the ironstone in the breakfront, the wicker chairs in the library area - it's just fabulous.   I had so many clients come to me after that movie was released and say - I want that house!  I would love to actually copy it for someone one day.  It's timeless."  Another favorite  movie set of Cote's is "Hannah and Her Sisters" by Woody Allen.   It was partly filmed in Mia Farrow's own apartment where she grew up and eventually lived in as an adult with all her children.  The dining room with it's red walls is a wonderful space, and there's a great  loft in the movie.  But, the Dakota apartment steals the show.   Another great movie house is in "Spanglish"- the main house is in L.A.  and  their Malibu beach house is pretty wonderful too.   The movie, "Doctor Zhivago" is a favorite from Cote's childhood:   the snow, the frozen, icy, old mansion in Siberia, the wonderful little cottage with the horse drawn carriage with bells, the beautiful scenes from pre-revolutionary Russia - it is a gorgeous movie filled with gorgeous sets.    Another favorite of Cote's was made before her time:  "Rebecca," the Oscar winning, Alfred Hitchcock thriller with its fabulous Cornwall estate, Manderlay.  Manderlay steals the show from the actors.  And lastly, like any good Southern girl, Cote cites "Gone With The Wind" with its great houses.  "I loved Tara and it was a fantasy house of mine for years and Scarlett and Rhett's beautiful Atlanta home is  the epitome of the nouveau riche."  Thanks Cote for your list of good movie sets!


The dining room from Something's Gotta Give:  I love the slipcovers here and the white ironstone collection.


Here's how the dining room looked while being filmed.  Notice how the seagrass rug fits only under the chair!  The table is on a dolley that turns the set around. Director Nancy Meyers is on the right in an orange t-shirt.


Here is a vignette in the library area of the living room:  black wicker chairs with striped fabric.  The fabric appears to me to be a Rogers and Goffigon linen.


Here's the famous bedroom scene between Keaton and Nicholson.  Nancy Meyers sits on the bed.  The table next to Keaton appears to be an Oly mirrored table.


I love this overhead shot which I've never seen before.  You can really see great detail here:  There's light blue piping on the sofas' slipcovers. The coffee table is a striped fabric ottoman.  The pillows are made out of three different patterns.  The sofa table holds shells, books and candles. 


From "Hannah and her Sisters" - Thanksgiving is celebrated in Mia Farrow's personal apartment in the Dakota in NYC. 


"Spanglish" has two great houses:  here the family summers in a beachfront house in Malibu.


I loved the master bedroom in "Spanglish."    I would love to know what line this print fabric is from.


Mom and daughter in "Spanglish"   all I notice is the couch and it's English style fabric.


"Doctor Zhivago" - a childhood favorite of mine:  I loved the fantasy of this frozen, old Russian country house.  Notice the typical Russian turrets on the rooftop.


The three star crossed lovers in pre-revolutionary Russia.


The poor, ignored Tonya, Zhivago's first wife.


The second Mrs. de Winter is terrorized by Mrs. Danvers in a beautiful English country home, Manderlay.


The second Mrs. de Winters faces the first Mrs. de Winter's portrait - in the same dress, orchestrated by the evil Mrs. Danvers.


The beautiful Tara from "Gone With the Wind."  Every southern girl longs for a home like this!


The famous bbq scene.  Notice the garden folly in the upper right corner.  I never saw that before, either!


Mammie  laces up Scarlett's waist as she leans on her rice bed with its colonial style bedspread.


What movie houses are your favorite?  Please recommend something with a beautiful set for us to rent this weekend!  And to read the Houston Chronicle article in its entirety, please go here

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