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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!

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Image Credits: Warner Bros Pictures

Director: Norah Ephron

Set Decoration: Susan Bode and Ellen Christiansen

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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
Lifestyle

The Living Room Saga – Part 2

If you’ve been visiting my blog for long enough you know I’ve been working to make our house more cute and cozy. I did a whole analysis of what was going wrong on this post and after putting on some though, I decided to take action.

In November I finally decided to buy a new table and chairs for our dining corner. The table was easy! Most tables from regular furniture stores are way too large for our space. We narrowed the search in just two stores, Structube and Ikea, the only ones that had smaller sizes. After a bit of consideration between a rectangular or round table, we opted by the Docksta from Ikea and we love it, it fits well in the space and it’s very neutral. I was not sure about the white at first but the table just disappears in the space. That’s exactly what I wanted.

Docksta Table from Ikea

But the chairs took a bit more effort… I wanted something delicate and modern at the same time. After getting to the conclusion that upholstery was the way to go, I visited many stores and check dozens of models. It had to be compact, light and allow me to create a fabric cover (I’m planning to sew them in the future). We finally opted by the model Polly from Structube in light grey.

Polly chair from Structube

Structube has amazing products but since the pandemic they’ve been facing some very slow deliveries. I was aware things could take longer but it was a lot… We ordered in November and received in March.

All the wait was worthy!

Notice below how our “dining corner” is so compact. The table and chairs fit perfectly and the set doesn’t look bulky. I can’t believe we finally have four chairs and it doesn’t feel it’s out of proportion. We definitely need to pull the table to use that chair in the corner but this just happens when we have visits, so no problem at all.

I’m specially happy about the metallic finish of the legs, the brass tone is very subtle and makes a nice contrast with the grey fabric. I also really like how the light grey goes well with the darker color of my sofa. Having a neutral base was really important and I like the contrast of the cool furniture with the warm tones of the house.

Spring is here and I’m happy to see the sun coming in through our new curtains. They made a huge difference and the room looks way bigger. The linen curtains made everything more cozy and since we are not allowed to make large holes in the walls, we used a pressure rod.

The wooden coffee table was a present from one of our friends and I love to keep it decorated and change the objects from time to time. It really helped organize the structure of the space. With more beautiful things to look up, there is less attention to the carpet. It doesn’t bother me so much anymore.

In the pictures above you can see the two pillow covers I knitted last winter (the gray and the graphite ones). After finishing, I simply stitched my work to some pre-made cover from Ikea and it looks awesome. The crochet napkin on the table is also my work.

I decided to always keep something over the accent chairs to help blending the orange color with the rest of the room. I crocheted this throw (it’s not ready yet!) and combined with a lumbar pillow, it makes a nice set.

The side table used to be green and I painted with white and brass spray, it looks way better and it’s not fighting with the rest of the furniture anymore. I noticed flowers and plants with round edges goes better with this decoration. Sharp and pointy ends fell more tropical and casual and it doesn’t give the cozy effect I’m aiming for. During the spring I’m using these hydrangeas from Pottery Barn, but I might change when the summer arrives.

My idea is to keep the neutral base and start changing the colorful pillow covers according to the seasons or events. Did I mentioned I started designing fabrics? I’m developing my very first pattern collection and it’s inspired by the movie Gosford Park. My idea is to print and sew covers for the cushions and also print some art for the walls above the sofa. I also thought about some textiles for the table, like a table runner or even a table cloth. Keep one eye on my portfolio for new illustrations and patterns.

Did you like the progress? Let me know in the comments!

Categories
Lifestyle

The living room saga

I’m sorry I disappeared again. If you read my last post you know I got back from vacations and didn’t like my decoration – or lack of it. I started reorganizing things and since the basement got acceptable, I decided to organize my living room. I’ve been struggling a lot to decorate this house. In my old apartment we had 2 white sofas, the carpet was light and all doors were white, metals were chrome, balcony was concrete. There was a lot of natural light, decorating was really easy, everything look fine there. My decor was simple and informal and worked just fine.

Now here is a house, there is a tree just in front of my window (I love the tree but it’s a lot of shade), the carpet is a dark, old and stained camel color, baseboards and doors are dark coffee, all metals are brass or black and our balcony is a reddish wood.

Don’t take me wrong, I love living here. It’s great to be in a house, location is perfect, rent is fair and the space has a lot of potential. But I never had such a hard time finding the right pieces for a room. I think it all started with our decision to ditch our old white sofas. They were already second hand sofas and were very worn and stained. When we moved here, my mind was in some crazy mood and I didn’t think too much. We got a grey sofa from Structube and 2 orange chairs at Wayfair. I guess that was the begginning of all the problems.

I actually like our sofa and chairs, but that was not the best decision for the space. The room looked really dark. All my pillow covers didn’t work anymore. All the porcelain objects I had with white and blue started screaming in contrast with the orange chairs (complimentary colors can be quite aggressive). I didn’t want plain grey and orange decor so I decided to add some pink pillows and try an analogous color palette. That helped.

There was also the problem of the dining room. First I placed my table in the kitchen. I didn’t like the yellow and blue chairs so I started painting some chairs light green. I didn’t finish but decided to move the table to the living room. The green and blue chairs look awful with the orange and pink decor. To make things worse, I decided to paint an abstract picture and somehow I got carried on and transformed in a splatter painting and added blue. I can’t explain why and I hated the painting for many months.

So that was the state of the living room when I got back from vacations. Camel carpet, beige walls, grey sofa, orange accent chairs, black media furniture, chrome coffee table, wood old dining table, mismatched chairs in green, blue and black, bad taste artwork. OMG. Did I tell you I study architecture and worked in renovation for many years? How did this happen?

Anyways I decided to act. First I inverted the layout of the room and that helped a bit, now entering the room you see the sofa first, not the huge black figure of our entertainment furniture. This was way more inviting. I removed my old ugly artwork and I’m working on a new painting with light and brighter colors.

Then I bought a rug and that was a mistake, it just made my carpet looks even uglier. The rug looked like a white towel in person, very thin and very white. I returned the rug and try to understand what went wrong and why I keep getting upset about my choices.

So disappointing

This last week I just removed everything from the room and try to look again at it and really see the colors of the room and what will make it look prettier. I realized I’m just fighting with this house colors since I arrived and it’s time to make peace. The palette of this house is warm. My grey sofa, glass table and grey rug were cold, of course they will fight with the house. The orange chairs and all the other colors are too much and too saturated for this place, it needs a more neutral muted palette. The decoration needs less color, less contrast and more texture and layers.

First thing I did was to add some curtains (we cannot make holes in this house but I found a good tension rod that saved my life). I started knitting a cushion cover in light grey and I’ll get more pillows in neutral colors. I also had an old cocktail table a friend gave us and was not being used. That actually helped hide the carpet and gave more structure and warmth to the space. I moved the glass table to the corner, so this is how it looks like now.

I’m so happy about the curtains

Next steps are getting a lamp for beside the sofa, keep getting more neutral cushions and add objects on the shelves under the tv and on the table. Then put some art on the walls. I actually would like to make a cover for the orange chairs in a neutral color and actually even a white cover for the sofa but there is so much to do, so one thing at a time.

I’m just super proud of this, first time I finish a knit project. Now just need to sew into a pillow cover

For the dining room I gave up of my current chairs and table. I’ll buy some new ones and move the old ones to the kitchen. I found some light gray chairs I like and we are thinking about the white tulip table. I’m not quite sure about the white and the design is a bit more modern than what I wanted but I think it the round lines will help keeping the space cute. I simulated with my current chairs on the space, it’s seems a bit squeezed but it fits.

I really don’t like the open kitchen. I want to cook more and I avoid making certain foods because I know the whole house will be smelling for hours. So my priority now is to find a way to close the door (making no holes and keeping the budget!). Not easy but I have a few ideas.

I’m still dreaming about buying rugs. I would love a large sisal one for the dining room, covering that round cut on the carpet and making everything look larger… and of course a nice patterned rug for the living room. We will get there!

How about you? Do you have any room in your house that you struggle to decorate? How is it been? Let me know on the comments