COTE DE TEXAS: The Oscars!!!

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


  1. I think the reason I liked Holiday w/Camon Diaz is the interiors of homes!
    One of my favorite kitchens is on ABC's brother and sisters.

  2. I so agree , I look at the sets more , it is very important to me, I love the Holiday as well, wonderful sets , I believe the same designers for Somthing's gotta Give, I saw definately maybe , nothing jumped out , the dad's house was good, but a great movie I would recommend it to anyone.
    Love all the extra pics of SGG you put up .

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Great posting, Joni! One of my all-time favorites is the kitchen, living room and porches in the "Big Chill" ... not to mention the awesome soundtrack. Like they say, 'remember the music, remember the times'. Thanks for posting the gorgeous photos tripping down movie lane!

  5. Joni,
    Great post as usual. My favorite houses are all Nancy Meyers movies.
    Both Father of the Bride remakes, the 2nd has a to die for nursery done by Frank, the wedding planner from the 1st movie. I adore the outside of the house as well. My all time favorite house is "Somethings Got to Give" but the "Holiday" is also a favorite. The other thing about the "Holiday" is the marvelous soft sweaters both characters wear throughout the movie, I constantly hone in on those every time I watch.

  6. Mmmm... thank you for this post! I'll admit, the primary reason I watch Something's Gotta Give is that house! :) I also love the new Pride and Prejudice for the Bennett house/farm. It's so romantic, totally un-doable unless one lives in the English countryside, but nevertheless beautiful.

  7. I love the house in "Something's Gotta Give", too. It has the perfect beachy vibe.

    Two of my favorites are Meg Ryan's apartment in "You've Got Mail" (so cozy, and I covet all her bookshelves) and Andie MacDowell's apartment in "Green Card".


  8. I love The Talented Mr. Ripley. The interiors are wonderful and so is the clothing.
    One of my all time favorite interiors, is in Vertigo (Hitchcock). I love Jimmy Stewart's apartment.

  9. I loved the kitchen in Something's Gotta Give. Also, the house and yard on Brothers and Sisters. Great kitchen there too.

  10. My newer favs as well as of course: Somethings Gotta Give are:
    The Holiday
    Under the Tuscan Sun
    Marie Antoinette

  11. Joni -I love your pick! That room is fab and I would love it.
    My favorite kitchen is in Amelie -it is such a jewel box! Also, another favorite of mine is the chocolate shop in Chocolat (also the mayor's study is awesome! oh, and the old zinc bar too.)-I just can't seem to get away from those French movies!

  12. On A Clear Day (1970) - 60s chic to Georgian England and everything in between - fabulous!
    Rope - the best NY apartment
    Gigi - Belle Epoch
    High Society - The Philadelphia Story but with Grace Kelly and the sets are gorgeous.
    Boys in the Band - the best NY apartment next to Rope

  13. "High Society" and "The Philadelphia Story" are both great.

    "Auntie Mame" with Russell is a treat to watch for the evolution of a room...

    "...Ripley" and Malkovich's "Ripley's Game" are beautifully shot, if disturbing to watch.

    Twilight with Sarandon, Newman and Hackman is right up there for the lighting and modern design.

  14. Loved Talented Mr. Ripley for clothes, interiors, locations (Caroline and I are in synch once again) and Green Card (thanks for the reminder anon). Joni, you're killin us! What a great post! Lana

  15. Of course, Something's Gotta Give is at the top of my list.

    I just watched Under the Tuscan Sun, again, the other night, just to see the house and beautiful landscape.

    I like the Blandings home, too. But another favorite in that movie is seen when Jim Blandings is standing outside a half timbered home (in a dream sequence). He's dreaming of a hunting lodge. There is a home similar to that on our way to our childrens' homes. We call it Mr Blanding's house, even though that style was not the style of the home built for him in the movie. There are no interior shots of that house.

    Yesterday afternoon I saw Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, again. That's a beautiful home and could well be a home today, as well as 1960's, when the movie was made.

    I could fill a page with movie favorites, as far as homes and interiors go.


  16. "Bewitched" with Nicole Kidman. Her character lives in the cutest little house. The kitchen is especially special!

  17. I enjoyed the NY apt. in No Reservations. The kitchen was modern but inviting. The fireplace was wonderful, and the sconces in the entryway featured prominantly. My favorite feature was the easy flow between rooms without having to have an open floor plan.

  18. Fabulous!! There is so much to love about this post! I have the stills from The Talented Mr. Ripley on my computer because the design and fashion are right up my alley (also, Italy is no ugly duckling!) Gone with the Wind, The Philadelphia Story, and As Good as it Gets are not only great films they had some talented set designers and decorators.

    In the March Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair they have a picture spread of the cast of the new Brideshed Revisited movie. Joni, you should check it out if you're interested!

  19. Fabulous post yet AGAIN! :)

    I along with everyone else adore the Hamptons house in Somethings gotta give.

    My very favourite movie sets is the house in Under the Tuscan sun and also A good year with Russel Crowe, but I agree Nancy Meyers movies all have the best interiors - Father of the bride, The Holiday - all gorgeous.

    Practical magic and Green card were also fond favourites.

    One of my favourite tv series was Peter Mayles 'A year in Provence' where he and his wife lovingly restore an old farmhouse. I love it!

    Anna :)

  20. Wow - everyone such great suggestions! I forgot to put down Marie Antoinette - what's wrong with me?????? And Under the Tuscan Sun - I need a brain transplant. The two men of the design blogs: HOBAC and E&E - you two always add such class to the group. Great choices both of you! And you both said High Society - I'm going to rent that soon. Thanks for the great suggestions everyone -!!!

  21. Joni,
    LOVED this!! But you forgot the "War of the Roses" with Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas. A winner interior!

  22. Wonderful posting -- and so many great choices! I adore movies where the settings really do become a character too!

    Mr. Blandings Builds HIs Dream House (the paint scene!)
    The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (Gull Cottage)
    Mrs. Miniver
    The Bishops Wife
    The Thin Man series
    Somethings Gotta Give
    The Holiday
    Practical Magic
    Pride & Prejuidice (The one with Colin Firth)
    Sense & Sensibility
    Harry Potter series (Dumbledores study -- and the Weasleys)
    Lord of the Rings (the Hobbit house)
    Shakespeare in Love
    -- plus many spooky houses from spooky movies!! LOL!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

  23. * I always swoon over Dame Maggie Smith's villa and gardens in "My House in Umbria".....pure, sun-drenched gorgeousness (is that even a word?).
    * And, for some wistful reason, I am enchanted by Kate Hepburn and Henry Fonda's sweet, cluttered lake house in "On Golden Pond".

  24. Ms Ruggerio: I've never seen that movie, I'm going to get a copy tonight! I have so many movies to watch now - and I too loved On Golden Pond's home. thanks for the comments - all of you!

  25. Interesting reading. Recently I watched French Leutenant'Woman, and loved the final house when he finds her(the mission one). And I agree with everyone about Ripley. Another movie I spent a lot of time room watching in was Smiles of Summer Night by Bergman(fantasy here) and then there is Howards End...

  26. Thanks for sharing such behind the scenes shots of one of my favorite movies -As Good As It Gets. I enjoyed it and I also loved the house!

  27. The Talented Mr. Ripley is the most fantasticly gorgeous film to watch of people, clothes and scene--incredible! I wish I could look like Madge! I don't think Gwyneth has looked more beautiful.
    Also, thank you for the new overhead still of SGG-interesting! In addition, those black Bar Harbor wicker chairs kill me every time they're so great.
    Im not sure why but my favorite interior for the last couple of years has been from the movie Unfaithful. The small but cozy kitchen in their beautiful center hall colonial white clapboard home obsesses me. The bedroom with its lavender/blue walls setting of the rich 18th century American antiques--love.
    Thank you!

  28. W Adair: I loved that movie Unfaithful - omg, too hot, it you know what I mean! Anyway, I read about the set once - did you notice that there isn't any red in the movie- it's all browns and grays? At least that's what I remember reading about it. The director wanted to keep a certain tone consistently throughout the movie. I love that overhead shot of SGG sooooo much.

  29. Wow, I'm impressed! I did not know the bit about the color red-- I thought I had read everything there was ever to know about the set! But now that you mention...
    BTY you must be a night bird!

  30. Yes, big time night bird - you too, huh? I'm just going to watch one of the Woody Allen's the musical one. I hope I'm telling you right about that movie = I pretty sure it was red or maybe bright colors. I'll try to find where I found that. Do you have an email address? email me at

  31. I agree with so many of the comments here but one that isn't mentioned and that I love is Katharine Hepburn's New York apartment in Desk Set - the living room with the marble fireplace, the books, the art on the walls, the cozy bedroom with the shutters at the window and all the rain pouring down outside.

  32. Great post! My favs are Under a tuscan sun, Somethings Gonna Give, Father of the Bride. And recently The Golden Compass had some of the most beautiful seemingly art nouveau inspired interiors I've seen.

  33. Joni,
    Great post. Loved the new pictures of SGG's set. Haven't seen those before.

  34. Ooh, some of my favourites are already here! Indiscreet with Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant and Something's Gotta Give, as well as Practical Magic. And so many more - I am a mad movie fanatic! Great post. Merci!

  35. I bought the DVD of "Something's Gotta Give," just to watch the interiors over and over. I have a bunch of stills of that set, but these are new to me, so thanks for posting them.

    Two old films with sets I always enjoy: A Connecticut Christmas. The "perfect" country home from the 1940s. Also love the inn in "White Christmas." It's so spacious and I love all the small paned windows.

    I also watch 1930s B-movies about millionaires. They're usually escapist comedies. I love the way the mansions are decorated. The kitchens especially are fun to look at, peopled by cooks and maids and butlers. Seventy years later, those movies are still my "escapist" entertainment!

  36. worda and music: Hi! what movies about millionaires do you mean? I would love to see one!

  37. You can see them on Turner Classic Movies in the wee hours. (And I see you are often awake in the wee hours, as I am.) I'm thinking of films like "It's Love I'm After", starring Leslie Howard. He played quite a few millionaires, come to think of it, and his homes were always luxurious.
    The homes of the upper class in these escapist films were almost always done in a sleek art deco style. Think of the Ginger Rogers/Fred Astaire musicals, in which they'd dance on shining Bakelite floors.
    The leading ladies were wise-cracking blondes, like Carole Lombard and Ginger Rogers and Jean Harlow. They wore bias-cut silk gowns and diamond bracelets.
    I'll try to come up with the names of a few of them, but all you really have to do is check the listings for TCM films and look for comedies shot in the 1930s. They recycled the same plots over and over: the good girl really CAN land the millionaire, who lives (or whose family lives) in the enormous deco mansion. All she has to do is stay pure/work hard in her salesgirl job/tap dance better than the other Broadway hoofers/hold out for true love even though the millionaire is disguised as a pauper. You get the idea.

  38. ok, I'll check Turner M.C. My cousin always used to watch these movies from the 40s and 30s when we were little. She knew all the staras' names and everything. I'm sure she saw all those too. ok thanks for the tip!

  39. I'e been sitting here reading these and saying "me too! too!"

    really love the house in the Big Chill, Something's Got to give (and the music) Talented Mr. Ripley, ANYTHING Merchant-Ivory and British. The mansion in Elephant Walk and The Letter & Anything British Colonial.

    Two favorites not mentioned.
    Kevin Costner's waterfont home in "Message in a bottle" (it was featured in Coastal Living.

    The art deco beach house in Mildred Pierce. Love the spiral staircase and the map over the bar.

  40. Sorry Joni I hit submit once.....Please buy me a MAC someone! I hate windows!!

  41. Great post, have you watch when a extranger calls? I love the house but couldn get any pictures of it.

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