We already visited the iconic Home Alone house in my previous post (if you missed, check it here), and we had a great time analysing some very festive interior décor. Although there is so much to get inspired by the McCallister’s house, today I invite you to get a quick peak at Kevin’s surroundings.
Let’s go around the lovely neighborhood where Kevin and his family lived in the 90s.
I love the shoppers style in the 90s, ladies in long wool coats and guys in bomber jackets and mullet haircuts, so iconic! Take a look at the teenagers ice skating, I love the colours here, mostly reds and blues, some headbands and cozy sweaters. Really nice vintage vibes! I also like how there are brick facades everywhere in this suburban neighborhood.
The church is very traditional and the choral scene is one of my favorites, the kids are singing some lovely hymns and Kevin finally discovers that Marvin (the old man) is not the bad guy. I also like the stone façade and real size Nativity Scene, what a huge setup for a neighbourhood church!
And isn’t this Santa House a total dream? Such a cute design with a million colourful lights! I also really like the very cool teenager giving Kevin directions, she looks so cute with the leather jacket.
It seems like a dream to live in a mansion located in such a cute neighborhood! Kevin was a very lucky boy!
I’m designing a collection of Christmas patterns and one thing that always come to my mind when I think about Christmas is the movie Home Alone. It was a funny story, there was some strong 90’s vibe and it was on the TV every year, so I watched many times. I remember especially the McCallister’s house, it was so gorgeous and it was it’s own character. In my mind, that was the ultimate Christmas house, so I decided to take a look and get some inspiration for my next illustration project. Let’s visit it together!
When I was a kid I dreamed about living in a mansion just like this. Georgian style, no fences, a beautiful garden and lots of charming windows. Just amazing! Lets take a look inside!
Above you see the entry hall with an overwhelming red and green wallpaper. The walls are decorated with family pictures and some botanical illustrations. There are some white poinsettias at the door and other red and green details like the rugs and chairs. A fun fact: on the first picture you can see a large window above the stairs, but in the last picture you see a green wall with doors. This happened because the scenes on the main floor were recorded in the real house, and the upstairs scenes were recorded in a studio. Do you see the difference? I never noticed that before!
The house has a very traditional floorplan with a rooms for everything, completely different from the open floor current obsession.
The living room layout is a bit weird for a family with 5 children, I feel there is not enough places to seat if they want to gather everybody in this room. And what if they have visitors? No wonder they seem so stressed! And what is this living room wall paper? Christmas wreaths? How about the velvet green sofa and the jacquard curtains? It looks like it’s permanently Christmas at the McCallister’s!
I love houses with a separate dining room, it’s just so nice! The choice of furniture, table cloth, art frames and light fixture are all so traditional, it reminds me of some old grandma houses, I feel nostalgic about it.
The kitchen is a 90’s dream! I absolutely adore the huge kitchen island and the tiled countertop, it’s been so many years I haven’t seen one of those! When I was a kid, one of my rich neighbours had a dark green tiled countertop and I thought that was the maximum luxury someone could ever have! How naïve!
The collection of red cookware hanging is just amazing and what do you think about those stairs in the eating area? The wallpaper? The huge table? The ruffled curtains? The porcelain swan? This kitchen is a nostalgic dream, I would love to have breakfast there before going for some ice skating.
Here we can take a look at the master suite. The wallpaper and the red bed sheets are so overwhelming it’s hard to focus on anything else. But once I did, I got a bit disappointed! What’s up with the tacky wall art? Those are just cheap prints and badly framed. How about the objects on the shelves? Nothing beautiful or memorable. At least the chest and the vintage sewing machine are cool. I wonder if Kate McCallister worked with fashion, because you can see a lot of mannequins and sewing supplies around the house.
How about the white swan wallpaper for the main washroom? I guess swans were trending in the 90s! I also found many swans in my You’ve Got Mail analysis.
The suite washroom is the one in the famous scene after the after shave. The space is basic but, why so many green and white towels everywhere? How about the red artificial flowers? They look just terrible. The gold accents on the shelves, fixtures and mirror frame reinforce the Christmas theme, and what colour is the marble? Dark green, of course.
We don’t get to see the girls bedrooms but here is a glimpse of Buzz and Jeff bedroom. Buzz is a big fan of sports, with lots of basketball posters and baseball memorabilia. He also loves board games and he is full in his teen years with all the bikini posters. The striped wallpaper reminds me of baseball uniforms. There is even a wallpaper border with some players. We can’t see the other bedroom but we quickly peak at the lovely dots wallpaper. Since most of the toys are boy’s toys, I assume this is Jeff’s bedroom, but maybe it’s Kevin’s… who knows?
The attic and basement are the clutters paradise, there is so much stuff! Basically everything from all members of the family are here: toys, clothes, maternity pillows, sewing machines, appliances, laundry baskets, tools… it’s insane! Kevin was afraid and I would be too if I lived there! Those mannequins are just so creepy!
And that was basically the whole house from inside. There is way more tacky décor and clutter than I remembered. I would love to visit for a weekend, but definitely wouldn’t like to live there, unless we could renovate a bit!
Now it’s time for me to draw and I’ll be back to tell you all about my process. I hope you enjoyed this tour and got some inspiration for your own Christmas décor. Would you live in the McCallister’s house? Tell me in the comments!
After so many requests, I finally bring you an analysis of You’ve Got Mail. With Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, the movie dates from 1996 when internet romance was still something very new. Who would guess we would end up swiping forever on Tinder? No, no, things were way slower, romantic a mysterious on those times.
The characters of the movie are very interesting and fun, but for me the best part of the movie is the visual. Kathleen Kelly brownstone house in NY is the coziest home in the universe, it’s been more than 20 years and we are still talking about it! Her store, The Shop Around the Corner, is a paradise of books, cute toys and lovely sparkling decorations. The way NY in the end of the 90s is captured is so captivating, the city looks so lovely and full of life. The “Starbucks” aura and Joe Fox apartment are also very on point. Seriously, filmmaker Nancy Meyers is a genius for style.
If you never watched this film stop and go watch. My analysis has lots of spoilers and revels the plot – just a warning!
But now lets get to action. Today we are going to focus on Kathleen Kelly Living Room and a tiny bit of her other rooms. The movie starts with the camera flying from outside to the inside of her house showing an overview of the space.
From the first scene you can get a glimpse of how cozy is this place. The colours are warm and harmonic, the wide door moldings have a soft and pleasant texture and all objects feels purposely mismatched in a casual, effortless vibe. This scene is already a masterpiece of composition. Notice how many planes you can see at the same time:
The outdoor curtains
The home office corner on the left
The washroom on the right
The piano room and living room behind the office
The entry hall light coming from the washroom window
The building on the other side of the street (through the window)
Lovely introduction! Now let’s check some details
On this side of the apartment you can see this lovely cube bookshelf, Kathleen’s desk , her piano and the living room. Notice how the books are not organized, there are piles in all directions and no shelf is perfectly tidy. Everything here is intentional and this “messiness” creates the feeling of a well lived place, specially close to the desk. You get the impression that Kathleen actually reads a lot and check those books all the time.
Above, a better view of the home office . The wooden desk and wicked magazine stand add to the warmth of the space. Notice the frame with a round in the middle – that’s actually a framed crochet dolly! Other frames around the house have lots of vintage botanical illustration. All these small details helps build Kathleen Kelly character: she is a warm person who treasure family mementos and values her history.
Here is another floor to ceiling bookshelf! It’s probably normal for a bookstore owner, but seriously, that’s a lot of books! Here you can see more objects and the decoration team tried to reinforce a few messages:
Kathleen’s love for daisies: the vase and the frames feature her favorite flower
Her longing for romance, symbolized by objects in pairs. Here you can see this pair of frames but her whole apartment is full of objects in pairs: table lamps, frames, candlesticks and even a painting with a couple of swans. I find this just a genius idea coming from the filmmakers!
Here you have a better look on the living room and bit more of her bookshelf on this side. Again objects in pairs – notice the frames on the wall and candlesticks on the bookshelf. This sofa is an invitation to get cozy, isn’t it? I just adore this print and all the lovely cushions. The mismatched chairs give a lot of personality and bring contrast and value to the space. On the shelves some more amazing decisions from the filmmakers: here the books are more organized since they are a bit farther from the desk and you can notice a picture on the top left, that’s probably Kathleen’s enchanting mother.
When you get to the last corner of her living room: Surprise! Another book shelf! This time it’s a smaller one, slightly less crowded and decorated with objects. Joe Fox brought some daisies for Kathleen and the green of the leaves stands out on this warm and blush frame.
So we crossed the whole living room, from window to window. Now lets get back and take a quick peak on the other corners.
Above, on the left you see the bookshelf that surrounds the washroom and behind it, a bit of her bedroom furniture. On the right you see her desk, the TV (she can watch it from her bed) and a bay window with another sofa. This window faces the street and is the one we “used” to get inside her house in the first scene. All spaces are integrated, except the washroom and the kitchen.
Don’t miss the details, like the pairs of pictures on the wall, or pair of objects on the shelves. I adore her desk chair and the curtains, so delicate! Also notice the lovely vintage furniture with green details, absolutely charming!
Here a quick peak on her bedroom. Her bedsheets and bed cover changes throughout the movie, reflecting changes in her own life. The quilt adds to the Kathleen’s love of history and family mementos. You can see the pair of table lamps on the dresser and the painting above her bed is actually a pair of swans (you can see better in the next picture).
Above, the couple of swans in whole glory! Speaking about pairs, notice how her nightstand lamps are mismatched. This is to symbolize how Kathleen and Frank were not made for each other, her love life is not in perfect balance yet.
Should we talk about the bed linens? Throughout the movie they are are so inviting I could write another post just about her bedroom and linings, seriously! But not today! Our goal was just the living room, I’m already getting distracted!
Still we can get a very quick peak on the other spaces, above the dining room (taken with Frank’s electric typewriters), the lovely kitchen, a glimpse of the washroom and the entry hall with the amazing stained glass window. By the way, guess what is in the painting on the entry wall? Tip – it’s also a sculpture in the kitchen window. Yes you guessed right, a swan!
If you like this movie you might enjoy the products I designed based on this story. Click to visit!
So what do you think about all this? Would you like to live in a place like that? Do you like this aesthetics? Let me know what you think in the comments!
It’s a lovely long weekend here in Canada and I took some time to watch old movies and search for some decorations and art ideas. I confess, I love decoration and fashion style from the 80s and 90s. It’s a bit over but it feels so cozy and cute. My top picks from this long weekend are:
You’ve Got Mail lovely decoration
It’s been 22 years and we are still in love with Kathleen Kelly house. Lots of botanical art, warm tones, floral pillows, greens and oranges. Walls molding and trims everywhere and a ton of detail. One day I have to do a deeper analysis of her style. Here is a quick peak.
I really love the have French door in the kitchen, the cute little ornaments in her curtains, the amazing china cabinet and the vitral window in her entrance hall. What a dreamy place!
Mrs. Doubtfire warm and cozy house
I actually don’t like this movie and was not able to watch it all again, but I really like the house and the decoration with warm tones of beiges, oranges and greens. It feels very cozy and warm. The movie is from 1993 (click on the images to see details)
I cant get over her cute kitchen with lots of ornaments, the great green sofa cover and curtains everywhere. Super cozy.
Heartburn amazing 80’s style
Last but not list, is not only the décor but the fashion style. Take a look on the amazing clothes Meryl Streep wears in this Nora Ephron movie. I want them all! (click on the images, it’s just so good)
My mom was pregnant from my sister in 1986 and she dressed exactly like that! I’m not sure if I like so much for the nostalgia of those times but seriously, I need that grey linen blazer. Her house was also charming but she never finish her decoration, what is a shame, it would have looked beautiful.
I hope you had fun in this back to the past style and decoration. I’m so inspired! I know my house and my style shouldn’t look exactly like that but I really want to use some of these ideas. Keep in touch and thanks for visiting!
It’s been a while I feel our lifestyle is too fast, too focused on the mundane and too immediatist. I’ve been reading some amazing books about art history, myths and ancient legends and all this makes me think a lot.
I studied architecture at the university and I remember reading this huge and great book called The History of the City, from Leonardo Benevolo. One of the most interesting things he said was about the way we organize our cities. In the beginning of our history, we organize everything around the temple. For centuries the temple was in the center of our villages and cities. Much of our lives was focused on the divine. If you think about it, we had ziggurats, Greek and Roman temples, Gothic churches, Renascentist churches, Baroque churches… all the other styles that came after had amazing churches and they were in the center of the city, many times the largest and most important building of the community. But that all changed starting with the industrial revolution and modernism. Skyscrapers took over and business towers became the largest buildings in the cities. The sky line of a city was not focused on the divine anymore, a new power took over and changed the way we live forever.
I was born in this lifestyle. I never lived in a city where the church is the largest building. Nature was not the center of my life either. All the cities I lived in were typical 20th century cities, life rotates around the commercial center, a conglomerate of towers with offices and stores. We live for work and immediate pleasures. There is no bigger mystery or wondering.
How different my life would have been if I had grown up in a city focused on the divine or focused on nature? A city that focus on the human soul and it’s mysteries? Can I slow down and change the way I think? Can I stop focusing on now and start focusing on larger and more permanent things? All these questions motivates me to read about ancient times and different ways of life.
I’ve been to Florence in 2018 and visiting the Cathedral was a magnificent experience. I wish I could go again and again, there is no feeling like entering that church. The contrast of the rich sculpture outside with the austere inside is the first surprise, then you slowly walk across the nave and visualize the unbelievable duomo from the inside, getting higher and higher, as if you can reach an infinite sky of angels.
This weekend I watched some documentaries about Florence and it’s Cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore. The first one is a friendly touristic overview of the city, showing a bit of it’s attractions and history.
The second one is a technical and fascinating investigation on the methods of construction for the duomo.
Thinking about how long the great masters took to create their masterpieces and how life was at that time was very interesting for me. Things took years of dedication, study, perseverance. Art was made for eternity. I want to bring this spirit to my life and be more focused on the soul and less in the everyday things.
How about you? Do you feel life is always rushing? What makes you wonder? Let me know in the comments!
Gosford Park is one of my favourite movies and I was so glad to watch it again now that it’s available on Netflix. The movie features amazing set designs and costumes, and a great and original story that includes one of my favourite actress, Kristin Scott Thomas.
We follow a group of rich and snob people who gather for hunting at Gosford Park, an English country house. We see the whole action through the eyes of the servants, specially Mary Maceachram, a new maid working for Lady Constance Trentham. The house is magnificent and full of contrasts. The upstairs are opulent and highly decorated. The downstairs, in the servant quarters, are functional and austere.
The house rooms are all different from each other, some are very full of heavy details and others more delicate. There are different wall colours, linens, furniture…. Some masculine and feminine designs.
I understand Lady Trentham is an honoured guest and she stayed in one of the most beautiful bedrooms in the history of the movies. That’s what I want to show you today.
The bedroom features a peacock and flowers wallpaper with a soft light blue background. I love the blush curtains, the tall windows and brass details in the furniture. The fringe lamps on the nightstands and dresser are so charming and well placed. The canopy frames the bed beautifully and I cannot forget to observe how the pastel rug connects everything harmonically.
We enter this bedroom through a door beside the large wardrobe. Above we can see Mary bringing a wood tray with the breakfast for the lady (I love the silver pieces on it). I won’t show the pictures in the chronological order. Instead I’m showing the bedroom during the day and in the evening. I’ll start with the morning sun.
Beside the large wardrobe there is a tall mirror and then the bed set with two nightstands. Although the wallpaper pattern is very fluid and organic, the furniture placement keeps the structure and symmetry, reinforced by the table lamps and round picture frames.
I found interesting how the dressing table is placed right in front of the window. The same happens with the desk, in front of the other window. The triptych mirror certainly make it special, what a beautiful piece! Notice how the wallpaper behind Lavinia shows much more flowers, it’s a very interesting pattern alternating flowers and birds.
How about the tassels everywhere? Tassels on the curtain holder, tassels on the table lamp, tassels on the perfume bottle. There are fringes and tassels everywhere, I love it!
Did you notice the objects on the silver tray? I think those are beauty products. Don’t you want to exchange all modern plastic packages for those? I do.
Here we go, composition, contrast and symmetry again. The wallpaper pattern is asymmetric and dances around without following any grid. But the structure is there, notice the repetition of another triptych mirror, symmetrical amphora vases and twin sconces. Everything is ornamented, from the picture frames to the fireplace golden details. I also love the tall white baseboard, make such a neat edge.
Beside the fireplace there is a door that I’m not sure where it goes. There is also this black and gold cabinet that is shown very little during the movie but it’s very unique and got my eye, it looks like a Chinese cabinet. I find intriguing how the black doesn’t look heavy, but it’s well balanced with the large wardrobe and all patterns of the bedroom. The wardrobe is not shown on this picture but I like how it makes a pair with this black cabinet and it’s opposite to the pair of the windows on the other side of the bedroom. Also note the vase of flowers on a stand, it’s also placed opposite to the large vase of flowers that sits between the bed and the dressing table (check the first picture).
The bedroom is a social space and the ladies enjoy talking and gossiping while the men go hunt. Here we can see how the wallpaper pattern is heavier on the bottom and lighter on the top. Also we can see the sofas and chairs around the fireplace (in front of the bed). I really like how the structure of all seating is apparent and slightly golden. The only thing that we feel it doesn’t belong the the bedroom is Mary, dressed in all black with no ornaments. I’m sure that was the director’s intention, to show how the servants were there almost like a shadow, with no life of their own.
Here is a nice shot of the bed and its canopy. Notice how all shapes reinforce the heavyweight on the bottom and lightweight on the top. Mirror, lamps and canopy are all wider in the bottom and narrow on top creating a illusion of a heavy base that communicates perfectly with the wallpaper pattern.
And again we see fringes and tassels everywhere, on the canopy, on the table lamp and even in the reflection of the curtains on the tall mirror. The wallpaper behind the bed is the richest and most original, peacocks with yellow orange tails and some very asymmetrical branches, probables inspired by old Japanese prints. It’s the contrast of the wallpaper with the furniture that makes this bedroom special. Can you imagine the same furniture with a regular pattern wallpaper? Or with no pattern on the walls? How traditional and boring!
In the evening light I cannot tell if the wallpaper is green or blue, it looks greenish for me in those scenes. Here is a good view of the beauty containers and the gorgeous table lamp. Maggie Smith portraits such a detestable and self absorbed lady, it’s hard to forget her character and poisonous remarks. It’s so natural how she distills her disdain, she is a master in the art of contempt.
Here’s a last look on the bedroom with a good view of the wardrobe and the bed. I absolutely love the bed head and foot, specially the curve that holds the mattress and the golden ornaments. The mirror and wardrobe are very beautiful, unfortunately I don’t know a lot about types of wood but you can’t help but notice how the wood veins on the wardrobe door and nightstand drawers are strong and rich. And although I’m focusing on the decor, how not to notice the gorgeous dresses of the ladies? The antique pink of Constance dress even matches the pink pleats of the canopy over the bed, such an achievement from the visual department in this movie.
So that was it for today. Lady Constance Trentham is an old snake and Sylvia follow her steps closely, but behaviour and class struggles aside, I can’t help but to love this bedroom and find it a masterpiece in decoration and visual composition.
Did you like it? Leave a comment! I’ll post about the kitchen and the rest of the house another day, keep in touch!