Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 15 October 2019

Movie magic: how to recreate the interiors of your favourite film sets at home

Hollywood films often feature stunning houses. We explain how to bring elements from big-screen sets into your interior design style

The key to recreating the classy beach house in 'Something's Gotta Give' is to keep it sophisticated rather than letting it get too 'seaside'. Courtesy Carmine & Teal
The key to recreating the classy beach house in 'Something's Gotta Give' is to keep it sophisticated rather than letting it get too 'seaside'. Courtesy Carmine & Teal

Have you ever watched a film and been distracted by a beautiful set that made you wish you could move right in? Buying your own film-worthy home might not be possible, but you can use inspiration from the big screen to help shape your interior style and bring a little touch of Hollywood into your life.

Cameron Diaz’s LA mansion in 'The Holiday'

Dark wood accents, touches of grey and other neutrals, and tasteful artwork will help you channel Cameron Diaz's LA pad. Courtesy Go Modern Furniture  
Dark wood accents, touches of grey and other neutrals, and tasteful artwork will help you channel Cameron Diaz's LA pad. Courtesy Go Modern Furniture  

Cameron Diaz’s Amanda has an incredibly plush abode in the upmarket neighbourhood of San Marino in Los Angeles. The property has a massive driveway, seven bedrooms, expansive lawns and, of course, a big swimming pool. Diaz’s movie house is decorated in a

simple and classy way that suggests rather than screams money. But there’s no reason you can’t recreate the look on a budget. Start with the right colour palette, which is predominantly monochrome: pale walls, carpets and soft furnishings, dark wood accents and touches of grey and other neutrals.

Next move on to accessories. The walls of this LA pad are filled with tasteful artworks – also with a limited, neutral palette – and there are a few nice touches on display, such as table lamps and plants. But this is not a hugely personal house, so keep those knick-knacks to a minimum.

Finally, if you’ve got the budget, don’t forget all the technology, including the massive TV in the media room. You can also channel the scene in which Kate Winslet’s Iris shuts the remote control black-out blinds and sleeps.

Kate Winslet’s English cottage in 'The Holiday'

Rosehill Cottage is quintessentially English and a lot of its character comes from its diminutive size and structural details. Courtesy Universal Pictures
Rosehill Cottage is quintessentially English and a lot of its character comes from its diminutive size and structural details. Courtesy Universal Pictures

When Amanda, played by Cameron Diaz, does a house swap with Kate Winslet’s character, wedding columnist Iris, she finds herself going from a luxurious house in Los Angeles to a chocolate-box-pretty English cottage. Rosehill Cottage was actually built for the film and was just a shell, with the interior scenes being shot on a sound stage in California.

Rosehill Cottage is quintessentially English and a lot of its character comes from its diminutive size and structural details, such as the stone walls and enormous fireplace. You may not be able to recreate these, but you can inject some of the overall style into your home, so long as you’re careful not to overdo it. The word to bear in mind is “traditional” rather than “old-fashioned”.

Choose floral fabrics – cotton and linen are good, as is a bit of velvet – in muted, feminine colours. Furniture needs to be old, either antique or at least distressed and vintage-looking, and definitely mismatched. A pretty white metal bed frame features prominently in the film, so if you’re going to invest in just one piece then make it this. Or if you’re going as far as a bathroom remodel then choose a small tin bath to get the right look.

Shiny surfaces are out if you want the English cottage vibe. Instead you’ll need lots of lovely soft textures to recreate the cosy Rosehill Cottage feel – blankets and throws are a must, as are dried flowers in pretty vases. As a finishing touch, add a few pieces of artwork depicting the English countryside.

Diane Keaton’s beach house in 'Something’s Gotta Give'

Diane Keaton's beach house in 'Something's Gotta Give' has dark colour accents, fresh flowers and marine-inspired artwork against a light cream backdrop. Courtesy Sony Pictures
Diane Keaton's beach house in 'Something's Gotta Give' has dark colour accents, fresh flowers and marine-inspired artwork against a light cream backdrop. Courtesy Sony Pictures

The film may be almost 16 years old, but the property featured in it is till a gorgeous example of classic beachhouse style. Located in The Hamptons, a coastal district that forms part of the Long Island area of New York, it’s where Diane Keaton’s character, playwright Erica Barry, lives, loves and writes.

The colour palette is a mirror of the scenery outside – sea and sky blues, soft sand, shell pink, cream and white. Natural is the underpinning theme, so make sure there are materials such as rattan and seagrass, seashells and coral as accessories, and pots of fresh herbs and vases of cut flowers – the house in the film is surrounded by hydrangeas so these are a good choice. You’ll also need a blue and white striped dhurrie rug, as this ties the whole living room together.

Keep it sophisticated rather than letting it get too “seaside”, so avoid seabird sculptures and boating paraphernalia. Instead, take inspiration from the character’s occupation and fill your beach-house-inspired home with books and pretty plates.

Russel Crowe's French Chateau in 'A Good Year'

Russell Crowe's chateau in 'A Good Year' featured antique-looking furniture and faded silk upholstery. Courtesy 20th Century Fox
Russell Crowe's chateau in 'A Good Year' featured antique-looking furniture and faded silk upholstery. Courtesy 20th Century Fox

The countryside is the setting of this feel-good film in which Russel Crowe’s character, a bond trader called Max Skinner, inherits a vineyard in the Luberon area of Provence, France, from his uncle Henry. Initially he wants to sell it, but he is eventually won over by the estate’s charm.

While actually buying such a property is beyond most of us, there’s no reason you can’t use its look of faded grandeur as inspiration in your own home.

One thing you’ll need to get right is the colour palette: a cheerful yet sophisticated combination of brighter shades such as sunflower yellow, bottle green, lavender and pistachio accented against a softer base of colours such as buttermilk, linen cream and mink.

As with Rosehill Cottage, you’ll need plenty of vintage or antique furniture to get the look of Max’s chateau, but this time French in origin, more ornate in design and if anything even more distressed. Painted (and ideally peeling) furniture is a must and lots of fabric – long drapes are essential – plus over-the-top lighting, ideally crystal or with faded silk shades.

When it comes to decorative details, make sure you have at least one, if not several, ornate gold-framed mirrors, candles in proper old-fashioned candleholders, traditional china and linen napkins for the table. Lavender is decidedly French, so display some in a pot or feature a vase of dried flowers in your decor.

Finish with some of the personal touches that hint at this movie-home’s past – things such as a Panama hat or a vintage cricket bat, which can be popped on a display shelf or hung on the wall like art.

Updated: March 17, 2019 11:23 AM

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