living in: east of eden


The 1955 adaption of John Steinbeck’s classic novel East of Eden is worth a watch for reasons other than a young James Dean. Those reasons may be minor and insignificant when you get right down to it, but you could try and peel your eyes off him and refocus your gaze on the coastal California landscape and the pitch-perfect Americana that Steinbeck conjures so easily. — Amy M.

1. Jennifer Ouellette Headband, $19; 2. Vintage Day Dress, $143; 3. Dewit Garden Tools, $25; 4. J.R. Liggett Shampoo Bar, $4; 5. Vintage Crate, $65; 6. Check Towel, $9; 7. Carnival Sculpture, $2750; 8. Padded Hanger, $9;  9. Roll of Tickets, $9

The second set of stills and another product roundup continue after the jump . . .

East of Eden is an early 20th-century Cain and Abel, rife with gorgeous agricultural trappings and similarly gorgeous brooding brothers. Dusty carnivals, farms, picnics and bushels of vegetables — it’s pretty much a summer dream. That Dean’s face is firmly planted center stage, well, that doesn’t hurt things, either.

1. Nickel Vanity Mirror, $20; 2. Milk Glass Pendant, $698; 3. Beeswax Taper, $7; 4. Seed Poster, $8; 5. Bread Board, $55; 6. Antique Bergere, $3150; 7. Vintage Factory Cart, $795; 8. Nutscene Garden Twine, $14; 9. Swiss Army Picnic Basket, $350


This is a great compilation though I can’t deny that I absolutely adore this book (and the movie, of course!).



this takes me back to high school — i was/am enamored with james dean! i had his movies (all 3 of them) on vhs tapes. thanks for the memories (now off to amazon to buy dvds of his films).


This IS summer to me! This board could be applied to soooo many different things. An awesome wedding in the making…eh?!!!


Oh I LOVE this movie! It was a pleasant surprise in my reader :) If it hasn’t been done yet, maybe Splendor in the Grass next?


One of my favourite actors and one fantastic movie. I haven’t read the book, though. Thanks!


Swoon… I love a young James Dean! And I’ve always been curious about that J.R. Liggett’s solid shampoo, but have been somewhat afraid to try it…

Michel Murphy

Such a powerful story. If Abra had not been on his side, Cal would have been too painful to watch. He was only ever “young” James Dean and he will remain that way always.

The Postage Service

Much of this movie was filmed in the tiny town (approx 4 blocks by four blocks) of Spreckels, CA which very much remains a time capsule of the era. No real shops or restaurants, but I would highly recommend poking around. One highlight is the sparsely stocked general store, but don’t expect to get any pictures inside, the somehow endearing, cranky old-lady owner “doesn’t want them showing up on the computer.”


One of my favorite books and movies. I love the dress . . . so dainty


Oh my word, I nearly started hyperventilating when I saw this post! My love for anything and everything Steinbeck- (and Jimmy-) related knows no bounds. This “Living In” is perfection personified.


I like the compilation :D looks great! I saw this movie twice, and for that time, was powerfull, now it is to slow for me jaja, but i love james Dean, he was a nice actor T_T


Oh, i like these movie. James Dean was a great actor. To get these things it would be great. I like your site too !


Steinbeck, James Dean, a good era, and a film shot in the town of Mendocino, CA—one of my favorite communities of the North Coast of California. It doesn’t get any better than this. Design Sponge should visit Mendocino some time…..

Erica B.

Thank you for the perfect morning eye candy! In high school, my best friend and I visited J.D.’s Indiana grave and left red lipstick prints on the stone (the commonly accepted tribute if you’re a fan). During the yearly Dean festival, this movie is shown in the middle of a field on a huge blow-up movie screen. So yes, that means James Dean’s face is the size of a house!


Love it! You know what movie I watched recently that so deserves a “Living In” post? The Grifters. So awesomely nineties. The fashion alone is worth a watch.


Amy-love your work! I do have a request, since you have asked us before. Could you do Somewhere in Time? It’s one of my top 10 movies. And Rocky. And about a million others. How about The Way We Were? Beaches?

Carrie Hampton

I love this —- movie equals life posts are some of my favorites. The time & attention spent putting these together can’t be easy — thanks for the attention to all the details. I love the black & white movie ones. Keep it up!!!
– Carrie

P. Sean

You know what’s remarkable? Is how much Salinas looks in no way like Mendocino.

Barbara Jaremczuk

I have watched this movie many times, and each time I notice something new in the background that I didn’t notice before. Love this movie, and love the one & only James Dean. What a wonderful time to be young.

Veronica M.

Thank you so much for this edition of living in. I love James Dean and the 50s dress featured in the first roundup led me to find the lovely vintage online shop it came from, Love Miss Daisy. What wonderful dresses they have!! Thanks again!


The “Living In” feature truly is a favorite of mine! I was just curious as to why the film stills are in black and white and not color? The Cinemascope and color add so much to the movie, I was surprised to not see them here. (Okay, maybe I’m sounding like a movie snob now… haha)


I live in mendocino where the movie was filmed. The majority of locations are still here and have not changed.