Movie Real Estate: Grey Gardens

Posted in Movie Houses with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2010 by Christine Haskell

I know I’m a bit late posting on this one, but it’s worth noting the set. I would recommend seeing the documentary and movie back to back, as they were both spectacular on their own, but inform one another.I collected some photos from Grey Garden News and Old Hollywood Glamour.

Grey Gardens starred Drew Barrymore as “Little” Edith Bouvier Beale and Jessica Lange as “Big” Edith Bouvier Beale and each gave a very moving and sensitive performance. It’s just had it’s first high school performance, that would have been interesting along side playbills for Hello Dolly!

I was left with strong feelings of what mental illness really means (clearly there was an alternate reality present when cats are peeing behind large artwork) however I also felt these women had really found an independance for themselves and truly cared for one another.

Costume designer Cat Thomas covered the 1920’s through the 1970’s fashion brilliantly. Dressing characters that were based on true eccentrics-come-fashion-icons without turning them in to caricatures is no easy task.

An interview from sums it up best:

STF: Little Edie is one of those characters that has been so deeply mined for inspiration over the years–fashion just seems to love her. What do you think is her enduring appeal? And how did you manage to bring your own new twist to something that we’ve already seen so many iterations of?
CT: I think the thing that’s interesting about her, and one of the reasons people are so drawn to her, is this evolution of a young woman 17, 18 years old, you get to see both of them [Big Edie and Little Edie] at the prime of their lives with all of this glamour and ease and in the context of the Hamptons. It was sort of a careless, carefree, youthful and also very innocent moment. And then you get to see that departure point, which is important. She was beautiful, she was modeling, it was the pinnacle of her life, and then you get the deterioration which she still manages to make fashionable.

Edie Beale, Style icon, in her "costume for the day"

Visit Grey Gardens News for all things Grey Gardens!

Resting Decay

Eery to see pianos in such run down condition and seeing the singing in the movie makes this photo even more silent.

The main artery in any home...the stairwell.

Beautiful glass details

Set Design Print of living room

Set Design Print: Living Room

Grey Gardens, in the manner it is accustomed.


Living Room

Living room, this portrait later kept Big Edie company by her beside, and was a frequent area for the cats to relieve themselves.

Staged aging...

The start of seclusion...I love the asian inspired wall paper and classic 1950s bedding, everything in that time period had a "frosted paint" job. A pity, because it was generally over very valuable hard wood.

Independant to the end...

To learn how you can get your own Edie Doll, complete with Wonderbread bag for the attic raccoons, click here.

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Movie Real Estate: Fine Linen Film in Bright Star

Posted in Movie Houses with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2010 by Christine Haskell

It’s been some time since a Fine Linen Film (FLF) has come across the screen. It’s a phrase I coined when watching Merchant Ivory films with my mom.

It doesn’t stand for any old piece in period costume, I mean a film with layers. Layers of good script, good acting, and last but not least, costume you can really sink your teeth into. For a while, Merchant Ivory was the only crew that really got it. Then Vanity Fair and a host of Jane Campion films came on to the scene. The lastest one I’ve seen: Bright Star.

Bright Star

In 1819, the 23 year old English Romantic poet John Keats wrote the love poem Bright Star for his 18 year-old next door neighbor Fanny Brawne. At the age of 25, Keats died, and was buried in Rome in February 1821. He never saw Fanny again. Keats final poem was titled To Fanny.
This film was about connection, being alive, being seen, creating a sense of oneself, connecting with others, finding out who you are – much like kids do today. Though I wouldn’t say that today’s Facebook was the Keats of yesterday…

Jane Campion has succeeded in making a hyper-physical movie about a Romantic poet whose body is failing him and a woman whose art consists in sewing elaborate garments to cover nearly every inch of the human form. That she has done so is testament to her intelligent filmmaking and to the consistency of her vision for Bright Star, the story of John Keats’ relationship with Fanny Brawne. Every aspect of the film—from its opening hyper-close-up of a needle piercing fabric, to the astounding performance of Abbie Cornish—works to convey the idea, or rather the feeling, of poetry. Campion has made a movie about poetry that unwinds Wordsworth’s famous definition. If poetry is emotion recollected in tranquility, Campion takes us back through the poetry to the raw emotions that produced it. (read an interview with Campion here)

Those emotions find their superb voice in Cornish. There is nothing histrionic about her performance. In fact, she carries herself with a stillness that somehow manages to focus the viewer’s attention all the more on her physical presence. She has the ability of the best actors to register subtle shifts of feeling with tiny changes in expression. But more than that, she presents love, sadness, grief as physical sensations so palpable that we can’t help but share them. Since it’s common knowledge that Keats died at twenty-five, it isn’t spoiling the plot to refer to the scene in which Cornish’s Fanny learns of his death. This scene alone, which includes some lovely acting by Kerry Fox, would be enough to make Bright Star worth seeing.
For more of this review, see Henriette Power’s blog.

I enjoyed this set immensely. The film was shot on location in Bedfordshire, England and one day in Rome for the funeral scene. The main location was an estate in Luton called Hyde House. The natural gardens helped create the look of the heaths of Hampstead. The two houses on the property were stand-ins for the house Brown shared with the Brawnes, and the cottage, where the Brawnes originally lived. Hyde House was the first location that was scouted for the film’s setting. The woods, fields, daffodil fields, blue bell walks all inspired scenes and fabric choices.

One of the opening scenes featuring one of Fanny's original creations, compliments the pallette of the room beautifully.

Use of the color read again, symbolizing her bold character and being in love. Use of gauzy linen and frequent breezes emphasizes a beating heart and the fluttering of emotions.

An early dance scene. Her beautiful satin gown sparkles along with the mirror and lamps.

Again, the red chosen as her color. Liked this for the typical Campion outdoor pallette. Reminded me of The Piano a bit.

Interior shot of Fanny's house. I'm fond of the painted wood paneling throughout the house.

Having man-time on a leather couch seems cliche, but it works.

Campion’s firmly physical invocation of time and place, realised by Greg Fraser’s interesting cinematography, emphasises a Georgian England of flapping laundry, singing birds, insect trills, mud, colour-bleached woods, and freeze-dried winter forests. Scenery is absorbed with simple yet intimate vividness, as the natural setting that defines the characters’ lives and that both helps feed Keats’ imagination and wastes away his body. Campion’s feel for physical context is one of the strongest in modern cinema, and the setting, a Hampstead village still not yet annexed by the city of London, seems nearly as exotic as the stormy shores of New Zealand in The Piano.  For more review from Ferdy on Films, as well as the photo credits for this page, click here.  

Movie Real Estate: House & Garden, The Movie part II

Posted in Movie Houses with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2010 by Christine Haskell

I know I’ve written about this in a prior post, but the topic of Nancy Meyers films just never gets old for me.

I STILL haven’t seen this movie, have you? There’s been so much dishing of the movie already I know I’m already behind in adding my humble thoughts so I thought I’d share some links to various excellent posts and articles around the web.
Over at The Remodelista (a new favorite hangout of mine), they have a couple of excellent “Steal this look” posts. On the kitchen and the garden (both below).

Jane's Living Room

Jane’s Living Room:

The french-inspired kitchen, very much like the one in the Julia-Julia movie.

Meyers movies are like traveling to Europe (on a $10 budget). You always get the consistency of the First World experience, a color pallette that is unique to that area of the world, specically France in the summer, and leave wanting to bring home a vase you don’t need. Someone, tell me I’m wrong.

Now a staple of Meyer's films, the french sink.

These sinks are doing me in. Every time I see one, I want one – in my stocking.

A perfectly equipped kitchen, for the pastry hobbiest.

I mean, Martha has one…why shouldn’t Jane?

The Norman Rockwell feeling made current.

There are many things in this set that one can get, dare I say…at Ikea. I don’t think that it has to be local pottery on the table and quite frankly, those hanging pots in the back could stand some blackness to them. While the sets are “aspirational” they shouldn’t be so posed. If Jane is supposed to be able to cook, than those pots should be seasoned…dammit. I paid $10 for this escape from my life! But if you must stretch my ability to disbelieve…

Jane’s Dining Room & Kitchen:

As Martha Stewart, one of the first Queens of Aspiration, would have left it.

The still life of the Average American Housewife, with a BIG divorce settlement.

I can see the want ad now...single, divorced woman of ...49, seeks able-bodied male to stack wood (in California).

Now THIS photo made me laugh, truly. The wood pile, stacked so neatly-I can totally see Jane…place an order for that.

Maybe Jane's people know Martha's people.

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Movie Real Estate: Yes Virginia, There Really Is a Gull Cottage

Posted in Movie Houses with tags , , , , , , , on December 8, 2009 by Christine Haskell
Set in England, the coastal location is Stillwater Cove Regional Park in Sonoma County on the Monterey Peninsula, northern California. The 210-acre park, which includes a campground, is about 16 miles north of the town of Jenner on Highway 1.
The cottage resides in Montecito, California, shouldered between condominiums, and minus the lion statues on the porch, the ship’s wheel on the balcony, and the widow’s walk on the roof. Many of the interior scenes in the television series were shot in the house, and the rest were filmed at Twentieth Century Fox. On-location filming for the 1947 film took place in Monterey County, however this was limited to exterior shots:
Exterior scenes by the house were filmed in Big Sur. A six minute segment was filmed in and around Stillwater Cove in Pebble Beach. These include scenes on the beach, on the bluff overlooking the beach, and on the golf course (shown in the film as a horse pasture). There is also a very brief shot of the shoreline near Cypress Point and a few additional brief shots of waves crashing on rocks.
Information compiled from: the Monterey County Herald, Monterey County Film Commission, Leonard Maltin’s Movie and Video Guide, the Internet Movie Database, and other sources.

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Movie Real Estate: House & Garden, The Movie

Posted in Movie Houses with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2009 by Christine Haskell

See Jane juggle. See Jane tumble, into bed…and be the object of two men while in her 50s. Meyers creates the ultimate fantasy movies for women. Jane is a mom, girlfriend, garden hobbiest, mistress, gal pal, hostess with the mostess, owner of a thriving bakery, and therapy patient. Most of us can relate, mostly. Her balancing act reflects what most of us deal with: many roles. But Hollywood casts a sheen of sugar coating over all of it, and it’s like looking at a glistening sugared fruit bowl. You want to pick at it, even steal from it, but you know hers is a life of unattainable surrounding beauty that is just meant to look at.

The token photograph showing several of the luxury materials in Jane's environment.

Let’s start with the environment of perfectly chosen materials which create an aire of casual serenity, where barely a square inch of floor is ungraced with sisal, no window untreated with glazed linen. In the comfort of her rambling, terra-cotta-shingled ranch, Jane bathes in a claw-foot tub (which we love) and dines atop gray-veined Carrara marble. You want for her to find love, if only to have someone to admire it all with her. You hanker for one of her homemade chocolate croissants, afterall we believe she can actually make them. But something about Nancy Meyers films, I just wish I was holding a gift-registry scanner.

But Hollywood is Hollywood because they “do aspiration” so well.

Jane actually lives in the fictional space of It’s Complicated, the film starring Meryl Streep and directed by Nancy Meyers. Meyers’s movies (Something’s Gotta Give, The Holiday) have earned her a cult following among the design-porn set; the Hamptons beach house from 2003’s Something’s Gotta Give was a sensation—it even inspired a headboard collection for Williams-Sonoma Home. But It’s Complicated sashays into theaters at a very different time. Before Home Depot closed its tony Expo Design Center, before “HGTV” became a slur for compulsive nest-feathering, Meyers’s Hamptons set was termed “aspirational.” Now a quarter of mortgaged American homes are underwater, and movie montages about cashmere sheets are an irksome reminder of how we can’t afford them.  This is our generation’s Hollywood glamour.

Gone are the glossy titans House & Garden, Vogue Living, Domino, Metropolitan Home, Southern Accents, and Cottage Living (for which I wanted to light a candle), all boarded up alongside the housing market. In fact, It’s Complicated appears in December’s Traditional Home, where a “real” home might once have been.

What has irked me as elitist and exclusionary though, attracts me as well and has turned into an asset, and not just for Meyers. A Single Man is like so many of director-designer Tom Ford’s glossy ad campaigns: it may be one page deep, but you almost don’t notice amid all the brooding, the sexual tension, and the va-va-voom ’60s ambience. Nine’s fizzy Fellini redux is Chanel No. 5, all-Marilyn musk, and Harlow ostrich feathers. Are these great movies? Unfortunately not. They are design porn. Their over-the-top tableaux distract the heck out of me (as opposed to serving narrative purpose, in the way MadMen’s visual experience leaves shadows for the viewers to bring meaning in the absence of a chatty script; true hollywood glamour). But it almost doesn’t matter. Escapism is all too enticing right now, and no one takes you out of your own head like Hollywood—witness the $10 billion record-breaking box office for 2009. For proof you can really take to the bank, look (yes, look) at Avatar. Even its most ardent fans dismiss the plot and writing—the bad guys are on the hunt for a rare ore called unobtainium. Wow. I would have loved to be in that pitch session. Yet this is a world built on flowing, gossamer, almost tactile beauty. Director James Cameron takes even the most ordinary hunk of blue rock (the über-literal unobtainium) and spotlights it in the manner of Ming porcelain.

It’s amazing what a little light can do. The destruction of the world never looked so good. When there’s less magic and Ming in our own lives, marveling at fantasy is not altogether unpleasant. It’s unfortunate though that we can only use our eyes and not our brains when watching though.

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Should Be In Movies: Gloucester Paint Factory

Posted in Should be in movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2009 by Christine Haskell

Just got a forward from Captain Joe to check out some photos he and a buddy captured at an abandoned paint factory. It’s not every day that a Captain gives you a pointer ;-), so I thought I would check it out. Joe runs a hobby blog called Good Morning Gloucester – and for non locals, it’s pronounced Glah-ster, not Glowster.

Gloucester, Rockport, and Cape Ann are terrific towns on the east coast of Massachusetts in which I’ve spent a lot of time. They are also no stranger to the movies, having been the locations of several.

Here are some shots from his site.

Looks like it's just begging the Mayor for a wrecking ball and to be turned into condos...but folks like me would wish for a pub or community art center.

Looks like it's just begging the Mayor for a wrecking ball and to be turned into condos...but folks like me would wish for a pub or community art center.

It also looks like a building that would have been cast in the movie The Road to Perdition, with Tom Hanks and (my personal favorite) Paul Newman. Joe thought it would make a great set for a horror movie.

Kinda makes you wonder what happened to the guy trying to get in, doesn't it?

Kinda makes you wonder what happened to the guy trying to get in, doesn't it?



He was a we gave him a swimming lesson...

He was a we gave him a swimming lesson...

Neat perspective on this one. This basement area would make a neat glassblowing studio or other creative space.

Neat perspective on this one. This basement area would make a neat glassblowing studio or other creative space.

Those are some tired stripes...

Those are some tired stripes...

A room with a view...

A room with a view...

More pictures from this location are here and here.

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Movie Real Estate: Julie Julia, pure grade-A kitchen porn

Posted in Movie Houses with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2009 by Christine Haskell

So I finally saw it with a girlfriend last weekend. I was prepared for the worst as the film had been panned by nearly everyone. Most reviews sided with Streep’s performance. They longed to see more of France and wished the film were actually Julia’s memoirs (My Life In France) rather than from Powell’s perspective. Most seemed to feel Julie was, in a word: shallow. I can see both sides to this one, love Meryl, and thought Julie’s self challenge was a noble goal — and I’m a sucker for noble goals. A more interesting profile of this movie is in Pyschology Today. Jeremy Clyman provides brief synopsis of the plot sufficiently serves as a checklist of positive psychology tenants.  His writing is so good, it makes me wonder if he is single. 

Personally, I respect anyone who creates their own wealth and wealth for other people. Julie Powell did something to move herself forward and in the end, sold a book, optioned a movie (on a new idea, how novel!), created press for Cordon Bleu and is associated with two very talented actresses. How many people can say that? In my opinion, she’s earned her right to sit in a villa somewhere and laugh all the way to the bank – hopefully she negotiated well.

For me, this was pure kitchen porn – and as far as the kitchen scenes are concerned, this film delivered. With every brass pot, wooden butcher block, porcelain sink, or flower at the dinner table I was overcome. I loved every minute of it. I loved the sparkly lights and cute little skirts for the rooftop dinner parties, I loved the cut out hearts for the Valentine’s dinner – and anyone who didn’t feel a little lump in the throat over the “you are the butter to my bread” line from Paul Child is just made of croutons as far as I’m concerned.

Julia in France...they stayed in a furnished apartment with period antiques.

Julia in France...they stayed in a furnished apartment with period antiques.

Julie in her living room, complete with Good Will styling.

Julie in her living room, complete with Good Will styling.

Julia in training: notice the colors of this still (white linen, brass pots, yellow wall, ingredients in clear jars)

Julia in training: notice the colors of this still (white linen, brass pots, yellow wall, ingredients in clear jars)

Julie in training: cooking in close spaces doesn't have to be limiting.

Julie in training: cooking in close spaces doesn't have to be limiting.

Julia in her natural habitat.

Julia in her natural habitat. You can almost smell the fresh lemons.

The Childs in Norway. You can't tell much from this still, but the color pallete was perfect here: all muted tones, the grass wall paper (classic northern European) and the blanket behind them in traditional patterns.

The Childs in Norway. You can't tell much from this still, but the color palette was perfect here: all muted tones, the grass wall paper (classic northern European) and the blanket behind them in traditional patterns.

Julia at home in Cambridge, in the perfect kitchen with the perfect kitchen table, and all those infamous pots.

Julia at home in Cambridge, in the perfect kitchen with the perfect kitchen table, and all those infamous pots.

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