Film: Vicki & Norman's Fabulous House

Vicki sings to Norman - with a Barcelona chair in the backgroundIt's funny - during the two years I've been working in the interior design industry, I've started to notice set and production design in film much more than I used to do. When I worked in fashion I pretty much only looked at costumes, but the interiors and mise-en-scene (as we learned in film class) are just as significant. I know that's stating the obvious, but when you spend your whole day looking at furniture, lamps, rugs and accessories, it puts the whole thing into greater perspective.

Tonight I watched Judy Garland in A Star is Born on TCM and absolutely fell in love with Vicki (Judy Garland) and Norman's (James Mason) fabulous house on the beach in Southern California. (To be fair, I should state that every frame of A Star is Born is gorgeous and Judy Garland's performance is just incredible. It kills me that she didn't get the Oscar she deserved for this film.) But, the house that Vicki & Norman share on the breakers of Malibu is truly a luscious example of pitch-perfect mid-century California modern. You see it in detail in the scene when Vicki comes home from the studio and sings "Someone at Last" to her husband Norman before dinner. You know - the scene right before he drops an atom bomb on her Oscar speech? It's a goodie.

The house is spacious, no walls, and utter Southern California in the mid-fifties. Neutral tones, stucco, and pale stone meet hardwood floors in deep acorn, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Pacific. A geometric mustard-yellow sofa is matched by another in chocolate brown; these are both dressed in casual cushions in fuscia pink, cobalt blue, and deep orange. A geometric-link rug in black and white dresses the main group while leopard and zebra skins serve as throw rugs in other parts of the room. To complete the look, crisp white Barcelona chairs are placed strategically throughout.

The vivid, glamorous room shows the last carefree moments of this film and it's absolutely wonderful, as is the entire picture. Who would have thought that a Judy Garland pic would feature such cool design?

Since I couldn't find a clip showing the "Somone At Last" song, I decided to leave you with the most famous song from A Star is Born which is "The Man That Got Away"... Judy is delish.