Categories
Analysis

You’ve Got Mail • Kathleen Kelly’s Living Room Analysis

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.

Looking from the window to the inside of Kathleen’s place

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

Bookshelves on the home office, in the back the piano and living room

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.

Kathleen writes an email in her cozy desk, surrounded by books everywhere.

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.

This bookshelf is built around the washroom and faces the piano room.

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!
A better view on the living room, with cube bookshelves and a floral comfy sofa

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 Joe Fox visits Kathleen you can get a quick glimpse of her living room

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.

Kathleen runs to check if Frank is really going away

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!

Kathleen falls in her bed after a disappointing date

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).

Kathleen and Frank watch an embarrassing TV interview

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.

Kathleen’s love for daisies is in the first scene of the movie, before she even speaks

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 style you might enjoy the collection I designed based on this movie:

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!

Pin this!

Image Credits: Warner Bros Pictures

Director: Norah Ephron

Set Decoration: Susan Bode and Ellen Christiansen

Categories
Lifestyle

House decoration saga: a farewell

If you follow me for enough time you know how hard I worked trying to decorate our house in a cute way despite the horrendous carpet and other challenges we faced. We faced the pandemic, fluctuations in my work schedule, a super tight budget and some very strict landlord rules. Every little change required tons of effort. If you missed my saga you can read here all posts here:

The living room saga – Part 1 – Oct/2020

The living room saga – Part 2 – Mar/2021

The basement make up: Part 1 – Mar/2020

The basement make up: Part 2 – Sep/2020

Corona life – Mar/2020

The bedroom make up – Jan/2020

Updated décor and some recipes – Jan/2020

If you are expecting to see a beautiful ending to my decoration project, I’m very sorry to disappointing you but actually it’s all over now. As many of you know we moved temporarily to British Columbia (in a very soft transition between 2021 to 2022).

We sold lots of things and sent some furniture to a storage. In BC we are living a very minimalist life, since it’s a temporary arrangement and we don’t want to invest our time and energy in trying to decorate the new place.

I lived almost 8 years in Calgary, it was my first port of entry in Canada and I have a special place for this city in my heart. I made many friends who stayed there and many that moved away to new destinations. I discovered lots of cute little shops around and had good relationships with the community. I also studied illustration at AUArts and made some incredible connections with some very talented people.

In that house so many friends came for pizza, drinks in the balcony and crazy fights with the fire alarm. It was a pleasure to see the rabbits during spring time and go for walks by the river. We stayed 2 years in that house and I always thought it would be my last rented place.

I dreamed many times I would just leave that place for my own, “real” home. But moving to BC was actually really good for us. I’m very happy and I’m way more focused on my business. Having a less complicated routine is giving me more time to work on my career.

I’ll leave some pictures I took in the last days before our move.

Thanks for following this journey! I hope you had a good time reading about my decoration adventures. This project is over but since I’m designing fabrics, keep in touch to see some of my cushions, pillows and quilts. Maybe you can use them in your own decoration saga!

Categories
Analysis

Gosford Park: Lady Trentham Room

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.

The upstairs cast

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 downstairs cast

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.

Mary stands in the middle of bedroom

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.

Mary brings some breakfast

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.

Sylvia and Constance talk while Mary is packing the luggage

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.

Lavínia waits while Sylvia sits at the dressing table

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.

Sylvia is ready to go

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.

Mary lit the fire, it’s freezing
On the mirror you can see the lady holding a bag of warm water

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.

Sylvia between the black cabinet and the fireplace

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).

Mary helps Constance while Lavinia and Sylvia talk. Louisa reads a magazine on the bed.

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.

The symmetry of the round frames and bed lamps around the bed contrast with the wallpaper

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!

Lady Trentham prepares for the first evening

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.

Sylvia and Constance get ready for the evening, Mary is on the floor fixing the lady dress

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!

Categories
Lifestyle

Knob searching, organizing floss and crochet ideas

Hello!

Remember I was searching for a nice mother petal knob for my nightstand last week? It turns out the knob I wanted is only available in United States… so I started to check alternatives. After looking at my usual favourite stores I again got inclined to shop at Anthropology, they have the most interesting and well made choices. Look at this adorable flower knob!

This might be the one! But since I’m not going to order just one thing, I was checking other products to justify my shipping cost. I found this very feminine and lovely apron, I wish I feel more like cooking with such a cute attire.

I don’t know what’s up to me lately but I just don’t feel like cooking at all. Blame the weather, my work, I don’t know but I haven’t been inspired lately. I wish I could wear an apron and feel ready! Wouldn’t that be great?

Now what I’m doing a lot is having fun with stitches. I got an organizer for my embroidery floss, now everything looks nice and neat.

And I also remembered an old hobby from many years ago: crochet. It’s been forever I don’t crochet anything but I bought needle and thread another day and for a few minutes I tried to remember the basic stitches and I couldn’t. I checked YouTube but that made me just more confused as people hold the needle in a completely different way and they are all right handed. So after a few tries I was able to remember. It’s so funny how some thing in life is just like riding a bike, even after years you won’t forget! So here is where I’m now:

I decided to make a throw for my sofa. The cool thing about crochet is that I can do it with almost no light. I like to do embroidery during the day but it’s hard to see the colours when it gets darker. So crochet is a great hobby for evenings or watching TV as I don’t need to check for a nice colour composition. I saw so many beautiful pieces in crochet lately I feel I want to make them all, look at these gorgeous textures:

Just wow! Lately all I want is to make a beautiful and warm house. It’s a lot of work and of course you can just buy everything but I love things done by hand and with lots of history and meaning. So it’s been fun to crochet this throw and work on the table runner embroidery, slowly I hope I can cover the whole house (and even myself) in special beautiful handmade pieces. And now I’ll have to go to work because life unfortunately is not just hobbies! Have a great week!

Categories
Lifestyle

A few updates

These last few weeks I’ve been busy with a few DIY projects. First of all I finally finished painting my nightstand. I was expecting it to be more cream/sugar color but I added a dark wax and almost ruined it! The end result was more yellowish and darker than what I desired but it’s not bad.

Here it is for now

It’s been a while I want to change my lamp and I also think a different knob for the drawer would be much more cute. The nicest and cheapest lamp I found so far was from Ikea.

I think it will be fine with the nightstand, more delicate and it looks more like a bedroom lamp. I also like the proportion, I think it looks tall and elegant, can’t wait to get it. As for the knob, look at this one from Anthropology:

So gorgeous! It looks so vintage and stylish, I believe it will change the whole look of the nightstand and make it more classy. After I do these 2 changes I’ll review my accessories, like my storage box and the picture frame. One thing at a time.

My plan is to make a fabric cover for the bed panel and change the bed linens for something more interesting. I would love to make a quilt cover for my duvet, I found some very nice fabrics the other day but I’ll go in that direction only after buying a sewing machine.

I’m in love with florals lately
I’m dreaming about a quilt bed with a light headboard

While things happen very slowly, I decided to do something even more slow. My new hobby is embroidery and I started the hard way, a table runner with waaay too many stitches.

I already regret some of the color choices but now I’ll just keep working on it, it will be nice once it’s done. Next time I’ll get less saturated colours.

Embroidery is fun and I’ve having a great time doing it, I’ll write a post about it another day, now it’s time to go! Thanks for reading.

Categories
Lifestyle

The bedroom make up: Part 1

This weekend I started working on my bedroom plan. Our room looks so boring and dull and everything screams “rented house with Ikea furniture”. There is nothing on the walls and even my bedsheets are Ikea… Take a look

The view as you get in (sorry I made the bed after)
I didn’t have a nightstand (just bought one I’ll paint and share soon)
I absolutely hate what I call the 3 black towers

When we moved we had to buy a dresser but the budget was tight. I didn’t want this Malm dresser but that was what fitted our budget. I just hate this dresser, it’s heavy, it’s boring and looks very dark. To make it worse, this tv was giving us troubles so we bought a new tv for the living room and we put this one here upstairs. Now I have the big black tower! The TV is larger than the dresser and looks completely out of proportion. I still don’t know how to solve this. When I’m on the bed all I see is 3 black towers: the dark mirror, the tv and the closet.

This is the other side, with our closets.

I want my bedroom to be more romantic and cozy, and I want to add more personal touches. I cannot change the color of the walls or the closet and my contract doesn’t allow me to make holes in the wall larger than 1mm ( so no shelves or heavy frames). And as usual, my budget is very tight.

My plan is to cover the bed headboard with fabric, get new bedsheets in pastel colors, make a new duvet cover ( I’m thinking patchwork with blues and pinks), add some art to the walls, put some curtains, get a nightstand and a new table lamp, find a way to disguise tv. I started by painting one of my 3 towers, my mirror.

I use folk art chalk paint (dries super fast!)

For my mirror I mixed Folk Art Glacier with some white and black to reduce the vibrancy of the color.

Paint paint paint

I didn’t sand it or did any preparation. Usually when I paint furniture I sand, primer, sand and then paint, always sanding between coats. But we barely touch this mirror so I just painted 2 coats and just lightly sand in the end.

I love this part!

I protected the mirror with tape and paper, nice and easy to clean. On Monday evening I dissembled and painted the first coat, on Tuesday I did second coat, sand, waxed and assemble again. It took me about 4 hours of work total (I let it dry about 2 hours each coat).

Nice and polished

I always finish with a coat of wax, chalk paint looks very matte and the wax give a satin feel. It creates a protective coat that makes much easier to clean.

The final piece
It feels less aggressive although I don’t like the dark screws on the side, I might paint or change for something else.
Before
After

I put a piece of fabric on the window to simulate a curtain, it makes it more cozy, can’t wait to have some real curtains here! My husband didn’t like the blue mirror, he thinks it looks too much “beach furniture” what I kinda agree. I don’t dislike but it would be better if the walls were white, I feel it clashes a bit with the warm walls. When I buy the sewing machine I’ll make the cover for the bed and the curtains and then rethink about the mirror color. One alternative we talk is to simply paint it cream. It would look nice for sure, but for now it will remain blue.

I also don’t know how to decorate the area under the mirror. I had some pictures frames and a teddy bear my husband gave me but now it looks a bit baby room, so I just put a box and a plant.

So what do you think? Yay or nay? Leave a comment!