Diane Keaton’s 1920s Beverly Hills Residence

This article originally appeared in the November 2008 issue of Architectural Digest.

Who says opportunity knocks only once? Not Diane Keaton, who ignored it once, then grabbed it with both hands when she again heard it tapping on her door. Opportunity in this case was not a choice part in a movie but something that was just as important to a woman whose passion is restoring old California homes: a Spanish Colonial Revival in Beverly Hills with a beautifully proportioned interior courtyard. She actually bought the house when it first came on the market at the beginning of the decade, but she backed out during escrow and let another buyer take it. “It needed a lot of work,” she explains, “and I got cold feet.” When it went up for sale again two years ago, she bought it a second time—this time for keeps.

The house was designed in the 1920s by California architect Ralph Flewelling, who was also responsible for one of the most visible landmarks in all Los Angeles, the fountain at the busy intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards. In the few years they owned it, the previous residents had made some appealing changes, combining several small rooms to create a large master bedroom upstairs and a huge kitchen/family room downstairs. “Diane loves big spaces,” says New York designer Stephen Shadley, a close friend who has worked with her on several renovations. “No ceiling can be too high, and no space can be too big for her.”

But the owners had also made some changes that were more appalling than appealing. They had raised the entrance hall ceiling from one story to two, and, in the process, they had created a space that had all the charm of a cardboard box, without a box’s utility. “It was by far the worst room in the house,” says Keaton. “The size was completely wrong.” To tame that awkward space, Keaton and Shadley—their working relationship is now so close that it goes “beyond collaboration,” says Shadley—turned it into the library, replacing its flat ceiling with a groin vault and lining the walls with bookshelves. Now when people walk through the door and see an extensive book collection devoted entirely to the visual arts, together with pots and other artifacts from an earlier California, they know exactly what Keaton’s passions are: art, architecture and the often neglected heritage of her native state. “The library sets the mood,” says Shadley. “It’s a distillation of everything that goes on in the house.”

Trending Now

2017’s Top 10 Most Extravagant Design Concepts in Transportation

 

Keaton’s image, the result of her Oscar-winning performance in Annie Hall (1977), is that of a lovable flake who wears men’s hats and can’t keep a straight thought. In fact, she is better organized than most Harvard M.B.A.’s, and her hats—20 brimmed hats, two top hats and 34 caps and berets—are displayed as neatly in her bedroom closet as they would be in the best hat shop in New York or London.

Keaton’s image, the result of her Oscar-winning performance in Annie Hall (1977), is that of a lovable flake who wears men’s hats and can’t keep a straight thought. In fact, she is better organized than most Harvard M.B.A.’s, and her hats—20 brimmed hats, two top hats and 34 caps and berets—are displayed as neatly in her bedroom closet as they would be in the best hat shop in New York or London.

1108-AD-KEAT-021108-AD-KEAT-051108-AD-KEAT-07

For More Information About This Blog, Click Here!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.