Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My Passion for Design, Barbra Streisand

My Passion for Design


Barbra Streisand

Category: Decorating

Synopsis: Barbra Streisand takes us on a tour of one of her properties, its living spaces and gardens.

Date finished: 28 April 2014

Rating: ***

It took me awhile to get through this book as I picked it up and put it down while reading other books. With this stop and start approach, I kind of missed (or forgot) what all of the buildings on this property were used for. I don’t think this collection of dwellings is her main home, but I’m not sure which of the homes she mentioned is. (Being uber-rich has its complications.)

A few thoughts…

1. Streisand loves burgundy. It’s everywhere.
2. Streisand loves a monochromatic color scheme, and she’ll often coordinate her outfits to match the room. (Note the cover photo.)

3. Streisand is a Type-A perfectionist with major control issues. And she doesn’t care who knows it. It was kind of fascinating to read just how detail-oriented a person can be and still live a somewhat normal life. (“Fascinating” only because I wasn’t one of the contractors or workman who had to re-do a project several times.) And even if you’re feeling lucky to never have to deal with a person quite like this, you have to respect a woman who knows what she wants and gets it.

4. Many of the photos in the book were taken by Streisand herself. Many of the photos were very, very poor quality. They’d been blown up too far and became grainy and pixelated. I wondered how she could stand for that kind of quality, but then I remembered what she said on page 42: “I don’t watch my movies after I make them. I don’t listen to my records after I record them….The creative process is over for me. It’s done.” She’s likely never looked at the printed book.

So those are my gripes. But it’s not that this book didn’t have a great deal of eye-candy. The rooms were expensive and tasteful. The decorating was thoughtful (and if you read the text, you’ll know just how thoughtful). But most of them didn’t feel lived-in. Only a couple without children and with very well-mannered lapdogs and a staff could maintain them. But then, if you’re Barbra Streisand, you’re likely not sitting around in the living room with an orange soda anyway. You’ve got bigger things on the schedule.

The rooms are a bit too controlled for me. (And I have a high tolerance for controlled designs!) They were too perfect, a little too precious. I just wanted to run from room to room and throw in a pillow with didn’t match or replace a burgundy tassel with an aubergine one (gasp), just to change things up a little. She makes Martha Stewart look easy-going.

I guess you could say I enjoyed the book almost more for the glimpse I got into Streisand’s life than into her home.

I leave you with a quote that gives you a pretty good idea of what the book is like. If it makes you do anything more than snort with derision, this may not be the decorating book for you.

“Everything you see on the grounds was carefully planned to look natural.” (page 69)

Would you recommend this to a friend?
It’s worth looking at—and even reading—but you may want to check it out from the library rather than buy it. (Its list price is $60.)

You might also enjoy:
An Affair with a House

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