Saturday, 6 February 2010

Celebrity Home: Woody Allen

Woody Allen, his wife,Soon-Yi Previn, and their two young daughters have downsized, moving from a huge house in Carnegie Hill to a smaller one in one of Manhattan’s loveliest side streets. Set in New York’s Upper East Side, Allen had always admired this street, the same block where he shot some scenes for Annie Hall more than 30 years ago. His new place is at least a century old and grandly proportioned, but it may not feel that way, as the family cheerfully gave up about half their former square footage. Allen now works in a frugal corner of the master bedroom. Between the windows is an old turntable on which he plays his beloved LPs.

Let's step into his American and English country style house. And do pause for a while and let me know if this is what you expected.

The entrance hall, as throughout, is filled with pieces Allen has owned for decades.

An antique sign is set off by a vintage-style wallcovering in the living room.

Works by Robert Rauschenberg, left, and Ed Ruscha hang in the living room, along with naive paintings of Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Designer Stephen Shandley recalls: “We’d stand at the entrance to a room; he’d plant his feet, and the room was arranged from that point of view. It was very cinematic. I’m always running around looking at every angle.”

“It’s a real writer’s library,” notes Shadley. “It’s a mixture of paperbacks and hardbacks, and they’re all worn at the edges; you know, of course, he’s read every one.” On the mohair-covered sofa and the pair of circa 1930s French club chairs is an eclectic assortment of needlepoint pillows. Above the mantel is a circa 1840 American painted pine tavern sign attributed to Rufus Porter.

The second-floor landing is richly decorated with a marble mantelpiece and a pair of plush red velvet armchairs. “The house is not abnormally wide, but it feels so spacious,” says Shadley. “There are no halls; it’s just room to room to room.”

An arrangement of framed samplers—“most of them 19th century,” comments the designer—hang on a wall in the master bedroom. Napoleon III architect’s cabinet.

“That’s where he works,” Shadley says of a desk in a corner of the bedroom. “He still types with his first typewriter. He types his screenplays—that or longhand; he’d never consider using a computer.”
Allen types his screenplays and fiction on the 1951 Olympia portable that he’s had since he went to Midwood High School. Stephen Shadley, the Allens’ designer, points to the hooked rug—a piece of vintage Americana—on the wall that Allen stares at day in and out. “It’s a metaphor for Woody’s mind,” he says. The subject is a beehive.

I have linked this post on MissMustardSeed's blog. Check out the MckLinky list of blogs featuring furniture.

Images and information from Architectural Digest.
Interior Design by Stephen Shadley
Photography by Scott Frances

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  1. Not what I expected, although I guess I'm not really sure what I expected from Woody Allen! I have a huge collection of vintage home magazines and it reminds me of how homes from the 30's and 40's were decorated in colonial style -- with the exception of a few of the wall hangings (like minnie and mickey). It's like stepping back in time, which I kind of like.

  2. Very surprising, very informative

  3. Fantastica !!!!
    Meravigliosa !!
    Armoniosa !!
    Amo questa casa !

  4. I'm not a fan of the man, but I am of the house. What a wonderful surprise!


  5. Very beautiful!I like this post very much!

  6. Hei!
    Tanks for nice coment on my blog design-shimmer, The lamp is new design, hope it serve as a reading lamp...... I havent seen it yet, hope to se the lamp in Milano :)
    Have a wonderful evening

  7. Interesting tour. I thought I will see more contemporary place but this is nice.

  8. I like it a lot! good taste... I can only imagine him talking and walking all around those rooms :)

  9. I love all of the great pictures you feature on your blog and the clean white background. So easy on the eyes. As for this post, this is not at all what I thought Woody Allen would have. How bad am I, I envisioned something like Sleeper? I wonder how he makes those old samplers work? But he does. I do get that whole how does the room look when you first walk in thing. I am certainly not in cinema but it is something I do. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Thanks so much everyone for your lovely comments.

    Hey Becolorful I went to your blog but it seems you haven't started it yet?

    Thanks again everyone! I really appreciate it!

  11. I'm a fan of W. Allen's films. But his house is much different from what ı would imagine... I also taught he was living at the upper west side..

  12. Wow! I somewhat expected modern or quirky.

    I hope you will stop by my blog and enter my giveaway.

  13. What a lovely home. I like the mixture of the fine antiques with more rustic pieces and some pop art. It all looks sophisticated, but still fun and livable. Thanks for sharing!

  14. What a beautiful place. surprisingly traditional, fun to see.

  15. What a lovely home but totally surprised! I thought he would have more of a modern funky loft style home. Very homey though.


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