living in: you’ve got mail


It’s been impossible to be present on the internet and not read about writer/director Nora Ephron’s death last week. We’re no strangers to Nora love here, see exhibits A, B and C, and we’ve been heartened by the widespread appreciation for her warm and witty ways. The final piece in our Ephron puzzle is You’ve Got Mail, a classic that is perhaps the romantic comedy to end all romantic comedies. Just ask your mother, she knows.            -Amy Merrick

1. Enamel colander, $26; 2. Camano coffee mill, $72; 3. Ivy topiary; 4. Rediscovered flatware, $42; 5. Vintage typewriter, $150; 6. Dixon pencils, $2.50; 7. Small cutting board, $65; 8. Daisy bouquet, $42; 9. Enamel bread bin, $85; 10. Vintage wicker basket, $48.

The full post continues after the jump…

Meg Ryan’s Upper West Side apartment is country comfy defined, in the typical movie how does she afford that way. Suspend your real estate disbelief and succumb to your uptown dreams- lox from Zabars, walks along Riverside, Tom Hanks business men at every turn. Back when phrases like “I go on line, and my breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words: You’ve got mail.” rang true, it’s impossible to not feel nostalgic at the soundtrack of screeching of AOL dialup.

1. Brooks Brother handkerchiefs, $50/6; 2. Pride and Prejudice, $19; 3. Faribault blank, $139; 4. Zabars mug, $4; 5. Vintage lamp, $695; 6. Antique walnut commode, $3495; 7. Lattice-back chair; 8. Framed botanical print, $60; 9. Block printed pillow, $20; 10. Sage vase, $49.

Stephanie May*

Love this. This movie is absolute perfection. I also did a blog post last week about it – I will miss Nora Ephron greatly.

amy walters, aDESIGNdock

Eek…thanks for this Amy. I haven’t watched this movie in forever and have been meaning to see it again. I just love Meg Ryan’s character’s apartment. Oh to have that kitchen! Swoon.


I´m such a big fan. I know all her movies, beginning with “Silkwood”. Thanks for this post.


This is still one of my favorite movies. My love for NYC, books, and romantic comedies rings so true in this movie.


I’ve written a tribute to Nora Ephron. I’ve learned so much from her over the years! Thanks for memorializing her, as well.

tracy a

when i saw the title, i was hoping, hoping, hoping that you’d feature where to get that amazing grandfather clock from tom’s apartment on the show! it is such a fabulous shape….i’ve hunted and hunted, but to no avail! any ideas??


You are ‘living in’ some of my favourite movies from the the 90s. I grew up watching these movies over and over again. I especially love your two latest picks (You’ve got mail and Only You). The first one, I saw not that long ago, but reading your post about Only You made me want to go down and rent it again. Thanks for taking me back in time :)

Jill, Scotland

There are so many things I love about this film – New York, coffee, The Shop Around The Corner, books, parks but mostly it’s the aesthetically pleasing apartments that they all have! I always find a new detail when I watch it. :) Love this post!


I always loved her apartment in that movie, and yes, it made me nostalgic for the UWS of my teen years.


Just rewatched this (okay, TWICE) and this is wonderful. Such a sweet tale!


I’ve always loved this movie, and it reminds me of what I loved about NYC when I lived there. Everytime time I explain to people why I choose to shop in my local, independent bookstore (in Lincoln Square, Chicago) I think of this movie.

jessica gray

I just shouted “I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS POST MY WHOLE LIFE”. I’ve wanted to live in You’ve Got Mail for as long as I can remember. well done, Amy! (PS. i’ve become totally enamored with your personal blog.. spent hours poring over it late last night. so beautifully written)


I love the dress Kathleen (Meg) wears in the last scene, girly and comfy ;) This is one of my fav girly movies, thanks for featuring it.


I admit the apartment in that movie is sigh inducing, but what I really coveted at the time was Meg Ryan’s hairstyle. It looked so carefree and adorable. I realize now any version of it on me would just look unkempt, what with no full-time movie hairstylist on my payroll. Thank you for the trip down memory lane!


Love this movie and love this post! My favorite thing of everything above? The bouquet of sharpened pencils. Sigh.


This movie is my guilty pleasure. Thanks for the excellent and timely post, and what a home run with the gorgeous CB-S designed Pride & Prejudice. Brava!


i thought meg ryan had the cutest wardrobe in this movie, why no fashion links? she did have a great apartment, but there were better sets in this movie (the shop, the houseboat). slightly disappointed :(

maybe you could do a living in “french kiss” (another GREAT wardrobe in that movie!) and make it up to me?


My breath literally caught in my chest (a la Kathleen Kelly) when I saw this post; I have essentially memorized You’ve Got Mail and was delighted to see it featured so elegantly. I am an avid but shy fan of your column; this post made me bold enough to comment. :)

Laura @ Found Beauty Studio

I can vouch for the total awesomeness of the Camano coffee mill! It’s my favorite way to grind up those delicious beans. It ranks first over my second favorite – an old hand crank flour mill – since it’s so much easier to store. I know it sounds very very coffee snobby, but it does make a difference.


One of my favorite Sunday afternoon movies. Every time I see it, I swoon over the sets. Especially Meg Ryan’s checkerboard kitchen floor.


Ditto to so many comments. Thank you for this! I would love to see a Living In: The Shop Around the Corner. I loved it almost as much as Meg Ryan’s apartment!

Marina PB

So lovely! One of my favorite movies of all time. And I have to confess Kathleen’s apartment is how my dream house would look like.


as i look around my livingroom, i realize how much of it was influenced by that apartment. the scrubbed pine (not walnut) furniture. the floppy, rumpled chair. lamps. pencils. even the daisies (but mine sure didn’t cost $42!) i adore that movie and nora ephron.


Love this movie almost as much as I love When Harry Met Sally. Love the apartment, love the books, love her hair, love her wardrobe … love NYC. Sigh …

dervla @ The Curator

oh my husband and I simply love that movie (he’ll watch it ten times over if he can). I think he loved the romance between the two and the city but I loved Meg Ryan’s hair and her dress at the end of the movie.


One of my favorite movies. Love the scenes of fall in NYC.


Oh, you couldn’t be more right. I believe I may have been in middle school when the movie was first in theaters… but even then I knew it was the perfect representation of falling in love. Perfection.

Matthew Hoare

I’m a guy, and even I admit that You’ve Got Mail is a fantastic film, and Meg Ryans apartment in the film is amazing. I love the rustic look to it…!

Gigi Berman

Sets like these are the real reason I watch romantic comedies! Imagine being able to live in a space like this, with perfect hair to boot. Do you recall the beautiful fittings in her bookshop, too? Sublime.


From the bookstore to her character-filled apartment, the design is splendid. This got to be one of the best romantic movies I watched. When this film was produced, I was only 17 yrs old! Now in my early 30’s, I find so many details that I took for granted back then. That bookcase in the middle of the room has to be one of my favorite items in the apartment. I find it exceptionally wonderful!


Love the movie and the apartment…..if I lived in NYC, this would be the apartment I’d want!


Love, love, love this movie! Heaven’s lucky now that Nora Ephron’s there.

Amanda @ The Domestic Plate

I love her apartment in this movie. It looks like the epitome of Country Living magazine of the late 90’s. I’ve been wanting to see it again so much since last week!

The Art of Michelle

seriously. how many times can i watch this movie? and why, after seeing it so much, aren’t i tired of it yet? i’ll never get tired of it. look at that apartment! and those daisies kill me every time. loved this post Amy!


The other apartment to die for in this movie is Birdie’s (played by Jean Stapleton). It is only featured in one scene (when she talks about her affair with Franco), but is worth watching the movie for.

Alison C.

I’ll watch this movie whenever passing it while channel surfing just for the feelings it evokes. I can’t say it is one of my favorite movies or anything, but I like spending time with it. Her apartment, her adorable book shop, her adorable wardrobe! Daisies! That hair. How many years later and I still covet that hairstyle.


Nora Ephron…huge loss. I love that you included the daisies from the scene when he visits her when she’s sick. Very charming Living In. I have a Living In request: A Star is Born could be pretty incredible.


One of my perrenial favourites. I loved the part closer to the beginning when she hands a little girl a handkerchief to wipe her nose. That little gesture of feminine class made me fall in love with dainty, embroidered handkerchiefs ever since.


One of my watch-any-time movies. I love the ‘bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils’ and the daisies especially! I always admired Meg Ryan’s style in this movie. I wanted her hair, her dresses, her sweet cardigans… She’s adorable!


Thanks to a series of links from other blogs, I’m so happy I just found A) your blog & B) this particular post! You’ve Got Mail is my favorite movie and I love your analysis of her apartment decor…especially the fact that you included a typewriter, daisies and newly sharpened pencils in the breakdown of what to buy. :)


My Favorite Movie Ever!!! Sleepless in Seattle is my next favorite! Love Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks – the chemistry is great! Miss those type movies – wish there were more! Love the pics. Thanks for sharing!


Loved this one! Just came across the Living In series today and have been going thru my favorites. Please put in “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Miss Potter” too, pretty please!!! :-)


Thanks so much! I love what you’ve done here to capture so many of the best details from one of my favorite movies by Nora Ephron. Her thoughtful and lovely movies touched my heart everytime.


Such a great posting! I love You’ve Got Mail, and I remember after seeing it in theaters I needed to draw out the floorplan because it was all so unique and vivid in my mind. It was all so memorable. Thank you for this!


I adore this! Any chance we could get a part two featuring his apartment? The funky grandfather clock in his hallway has been one of my biggest points of design inspiration for over a decade. I’d love to see a board based on his style too.


I love this movie and mostly because of the decor in the two apartments, Megs especially. Another movie that Meg was in that has awesome decor is her characters house in “Sleepless in Seattle”, and the bedroom and kitchen in “When Harry met Sally”. She is always in movies with great decor. Of course Nora Ephron was influential in all three movies.


Sigh. Thank you for this. “You’ve Got Mail” is one of my favorite movies ever. I don’t know why, but I have watched it probably 100 times and never seem to tire of it.

Lauren Penn

Yay!!!! For years, I’ve been waiting this post. Thank you, thank you!

I’ve watched this possibly a hundred times since I was a kid. Now as an adult, I realize that my home style is evidently inspired by Kathleen’s adorably comfortable and vintage apartment. I love the way it feels airy but completely loaded with treasures, antiques and books.

Favorite lines: “New York in the fall always reminds me of school supplies. If I knew your address, I’d send you bouquets of sharpened pencils.”
“That caviar is a garnish!”
“You are a lone reed, standing tall, waving boldly in the corrupt sands of commerce.”
“It’s a lovely store, and in a week it’ll be something really depressing, like a Baby Gap.”
“I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly.”

Adventures in Dressmaking

Thanks so much for doing this shortly after the too-early passing of the great Nora Ephron! Would love to see some more of her movies on Living In soon. She did such a great job of capturing womanhood! =)


Love this! One of my favorite movies! I would love to see a living in of Birdie’s apartment!

Hannah @ Sparrow + Spark!

This is just perfect. You’ve Got Mail is one of my favourite movies and absolutely responsible for my NYC obsession and upcoming trip! Love it. And now I know what I am watching tonight!


Thank you for featuring “Kathleen Kelly’s” apartment! “You’ve Got Mail” is one of my favorite movies and I’ve always loved her apartment!

Bridget from Refined Vintage

What a fabulous tribute to this fun, romantic movie, I too have loved many Nora Ephron’s movies and will miss her talent. Kathleen’s apartment was so cozy and comforting! I also remember Birdie’s apartment even though it wasn’t featured much in the film. I would have loved to seen that included as well.

Betty Bee

Once a year I watch this with my family, over the years they have learned to love JOE fox as I do. My favorite line……I saw one.
Kathleen Kelly
It got on at 42nd and off at 59th…
…where, I assume it went to Bloomingdale’s…
…to buy a hat that will turn out to be a mistake.
As almost all hats are.


I literally almost jumped off the couch…this is my dream “living in”….this is my go to movie to unwind & relax…I love everything about it…..the little bookstore….the coffee shops….meg’s style…her eccentric group of friends.. pride & prejudice….new york in the fall, winter, spring…meg’s apartment!!…from the very first scene when you see the facade & enter through the window….its so cozy!!!!…and most of all I love tom’s line….don’t you love NY in the fall….makes me want to buy school supplies….I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils….thank you!!!!

Karen Stairs

My Living room and bedroom are Oh so…You’ve Got Mail! Thank you for this blog! I started reading and watching The Jane Austen Book Club and Jane Austen movies because of You’ve Got Mail…
My kitchen and little back yard are starting to look like Under the Tuscan Sun…Please write a blog about that movie too…I watch these two movies more than any other…


How does Jane Austen connect with this movie? I have not heard of this before? But I love Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson. I have actually watch three version of S and S and read the book twice.


I used to watch this movie every night growing up. It still calms me down after a particularly hard day. Kathleen’s apartment absolutely defined my sense of style for years.

Liz Dietz

HELP! I have a sister that has MS and is in the hospital. She loves this movie and wants the quilt tthat Meg’s character uses. Does anyone know?

dina clabaugh

Watching it now! Ha ha. I grew up with this movie. Pure and beautiful nostalgia. What a wonderful tribute Design Sponge. Thank you.


Can you tell me where I could find a clock like the one in the movie You’ve Got mail with Tom Hanks. My husband just loves it and I can’t seem to locate one just like it.


Where can I find the grandfather clock or what type/name is this grandfather clock? Thank you.


great post! does anyone have a source for the cake poster thats in kathleen’s kitchen? i’ve been scouring the internet but it elludes me. Is it possibly an out of print Cavallinni?