101 Guidesamy merrickliving inproduct

living in: out of africa

by amym

Hi friends! I’m Amy Merrick from An Apple a Day and I’m so thrilled to join the design*sponge team as an editor. Wow, I can’t believe I just got to type out that sentence (and better yet, have it be true!). About me: I’m crazy for antiques, live for a good handmade project and compulsively hoard houseplants in my Williamsburg, Brooklyn apartment.

If you’re like me, sometimes you see a movie and just want to crawl in the screen and live in the character’s homes. Or hop into the pages your favorite book and never come out. Well, every Tuesday I’m going to be gathering a group of products that are inspired by your favorite books, movies, artists, restaurants or anything else makes you swoon…. Is it The Great Gatsby or The Secret Garden? Annie Hall or Amélie? Leave me a comment and let’s see where you’d want to live!

Out of Africa

One of my hands down, all time favorite movies is Sydney Pollack’s 1985 “Out of Africa” staring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. Set in 1914 colonial Kenya, the movie combines a to die for mix of elegant, ladylike charm, utilitarian safari and spectacular handmade Kenyan crafts. Not to mention it’s just about the most romantic movie. Ever. Seriously, it can make me weep even after dozens of viewings.

[image above, clockwise from top left: masai folding chair and footstool, brass anchor lantern $99, antique canteen set $3,850 (I had to include it, I’m sorry!), bronze binoculars $84, bulrush placemat $30, cotton hammock $11, brass pocket compass $26, canvas tent $606]

Based on the true story of Isak Dinesen, a Danish women who struggles to make a place for herself in Kenya, it’s the kind of movie where the characters bring starched white shirts, limoges crystal and a fancy pants gramophone on safari. While I’ll probably pass on investing in fancy crystal to use at a picnic in the park, I’m crazy about the idea of taking along a few favorite indoor items outside with you. A portable record player and some sweet chipped plates? Yes, please!

[image above, clockwise from top left: hamman cotton towel $32, queen anne pitcher $99, white desk $349, African palm baskets $50+, bamboo room divider $95, market basket $42, wicker trunk $135, campaign bed $1250]

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  • I realize that I’m way behind on the commenting, seeing as you posted this at the beginning of August, but puh-leeeeaaase do Atonement. So so so beautiful.

  • Ok…the living in idea is perfect, and all of these movies are some of my favorites! I mean, Mamma Mia? The Godfather? Little Women? Out of Africa? I feel like designsponge is reading my mind. I think an interesting idea would be A Little Princess – totally a kid’s movie but the NYC Victorian girl’s school mansion in it was one of my favorite interiors…not to mention all the Indian influences!

  • years ago I had my furniture covered with the Out of Africa fabric from her living room. Is this fabric still available?

  • Out of Africa is one of those movies that I never get tired of. Every time I come across it on TV, I’m drawn in and sit through the whole amazing show again. I also adore the “new” version of Sabrina with Harrison Ford. I love, love, love the coach house. My third favorite movie is The Holiday. I can’t get enough of the house in California and the cottage in the English countryside. Keep up this fabulous column! Thank you.

  • Ditto on the movie! The best thing I loved about the movie besides Meryls’ gorgeous wardrobe is the spectacular house she lived in ! I dream of one day having a place such as that…

  • -Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
    -Blade Runner
    -Royal Tenenbaums
    -Hedwig and the Angry Inch

    I have come back to these design*sponge articles more than any others. So intriguing to look at.

  • I absolutely adore Out of Africa and anything British Colonial from that time period. Also another stylistic favorite is The Three Colors: Blue, White and Red. Juliette Binoche’s home in the French countryside was breathtaking!

  • Gone with the Wind – Tara!!!
    Empire of the Sun
    Baby Boom – her New England house
    Beatrix Potter
    House of “Family”( tv show – sorry!) with Sada Thompson – loved the blue & white themed kitchen and cottage out back – beautiful home!

  • Amost forgot:
    Housesitter – loved the glass enclosed hallway to the master bedroom. Also the furnishings – fun!

  • just found this series and it’s great! you’ve already covered so many of my household/film fantasies, but i wanted to add Surviving Picasso with anthony hopkins – his french coastal house. while i’m at it i’ll add shadowlands… debra winger’s peacock blue suit and the christmas paper “party hats and garland”! richard attenborough picks some darn good production designers. oh why not chaplin too?

    oh and i second the vermont house in babyboom. i also love the friend’s snowy-country modern house in bourne identity. OR michael caine’s house in children of men.

    anyway, REALLY good job so far, loved fantastic mr. fox and gosford park. thanks!

  • “Philadelphia Story” (yes it is in black & white..1940) Introduce a whole new generation to Kathryn Hepburn’s fantastic wardrobe. …and with Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart in the cast…and a great house. If you’ve never seen it…..well it is a CLASSIC! mmmm

    I watch “Somethings Gotta Give” just for the house…and wish I had done my kitchen remodeling after I’d seen it.

  • I just started reading this feature and wondered if you’d done “Out of Africa” because it is the No. 1 movie I want to live in. Of course it was the very first! Thanks for doing this!

  • Twin Peaks was a big design influence for me– that Pacific Northwest hunting-lodge vibe. I second the request for Mad men. What about the Stepford Wives with Nicole Kidman?

  • In the movie Out of Africa, when Karen is telling the boy to go to the hospital for his wounded leg, Baron Blixen comes out on the porch holding paper and a coffee cup. What company makes the coffee cup and no doubt the breakfast ware that goes with it (ie, saucers, plates, etc.)? I’d like to have a set just like it. The cup holds a generous portion of coffee and you can get your forefinger in it and best of all, it appears to be a light weight china cup.

  • Where to live? Oooh, that’s tough! I’m drawn to all things Victorian and Edwardian and your “living in Out of Africa” idea is great! That house was fantastic. But I’d have to go with something more sumptuous, like Granny Mingot’s mansion in New York City in Scorcese’s “The Age of Innocence”. Or her summer “house” in Newport, for that matter. (If you’re from NYC, you will get a thrill out of the recreation of all the different mansions in “Old New York”, ca. 1877).

    For more fantastic, turn-of-the-century, East Coast mansions and vacation spots, feast your eyes on Gillian Anderson as Lily Bart in “The House of Mirth”.

    Ever see “On the Wings of the Dove”, with Helene Bonham Carter? Her rented house in Venice is almost as evocative and decadent as Heath Ledger’s one of many in “Casanova”.
    Speaking of Europe, I’d move right into Diane Lane’s Tuscan Villa in “Under the Tuscan Sun”!
    One of my all-time favorite houses is the Italianate country house in upstate N.Y., the stage for a re-telling of Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Woody Allen’s early-1900’s “A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy”. It sits in a beautiful field, surrounded by woods and streams.

    For a ritzier, British version of this, how about “Norland manor” in Sussex, home of the Dashwood girls in “Sense and Sensibility”?

    Though not in a film, I would kill to live in the Empress of Austria’s Edwardian summer “Tea House” in the Salzkammergut mountains of Austria, which I visited one summer. They left it just as it was when she died! It was all pinkish stone, with a wraparound veranda, and inside, dark wood, inlaid floors, chandeliers, and huge, carved divans and pianos! *sigh*

    Also related to Austria, the retreat at Versailles, of Petit Trianon, in Sophia Coppola’s “Marie Antionette” was unbelievable! I could stay there forever!

    Totally out of character, I adore the lakeside cottage inhabited by Mort Rainey (Johnny Depp) in Stephen King’s “Secret Window”. He takes endless naps on an overstuffed sofa, avoids writing and gets threatened by John Turturro. It’s scary, but at least comfy!

    (P.S. Films I would NOT want to live in, though I loved them, were mentioned, “Ghost World”, “Babette’s Feast” and “The Piano” (the latter two, espcecially, were so dark and depressing!).

    I loved Mia Wallace’s ultra-modern house in “Pulp Fiction” and the house Kate Winslet both lives in and rents in “The Holiday” – what a perfect, English cottage!

    While in L.Al, I wouldn’t mind kicking those girls out of the house in “Charmed” and moving in!

  • I just ADORE THIS!! Hate that I’m just now finding it, but so glad I’ve got a lot of reading material. :)

    I have two movies that I just adore that I thought I would share: Penelope & Waitress. Two beautiful and fabulous movies!

  • If anyone can find her porch furniture or those hats she wore I will purchase. I want the entire outfit when she goes to Belnap to ask for work in the coffee. The hat is divine. I have looked everywhere. I have a loveseat that looks like hers and is covered in Laura Ashley linen. I am send a photo.

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