Thursday, October 27, 2011

Interlude ...

I'm not feeling very well. Something I ate, maybe a bug, but I find that when I'm not feeling well a day in bed with a host of my favorite "old" movies makes me feel a little better. I remember being about 11 when I crawled up into bed with my mother to watch "The Bodyguard". The music, the story, the fact that I got to spend a full 2-hours with my mother easily made it one of my very favorite movies of all time. Today, for a bit of nostalgia, and in hopes that I'd feel a little better, I pulled it out and pushed play.

After all this time though, I never gave much though to the house in the movie. Today, I couldn't help but to notice every last detail. Go figure. A little google search lead me to this photo of the house:

Because we never really see an aerial view of the house in the movie, I thought something was wrong here. In fact, the movie only shows this aerial view in the very beginning after Frank pulls through the gates:

Hard to tell - but then I hit paydirt!! I was able to find the full estate view, which shows the pool from the movie.

Even if you haven't seen the movie, I'll give you two guesses as to where it is! Nestled in Beverly Hills on North Beverly Drive, the exact center of 90210, the 1920's mansion was once owned my media magnate William Randolph Hearst. At over 20,000 square feet, the estate is huge, but most of the Bodyguard shots are of the outside of the house. Starting with this one at the front gate:

Kevin Costner's character Frank drives this great gray ElCamino - remember those? When I was a kid I begged my mother to buy one of those things. Good thing she never took my advice! Anyway, the minute you see the gates you know the house is going to be magical. But these aren't the "real" house gates. No, they look like this:
So where did the movie gates lead to? Well, I read that they were to the Greystone Mansion. But, upon closer inspection of those gates, that's not the case. Unless of course, they've had new gates installed in the last 20 years. So, if anyone knows - let me know ... but let's go inside the gates, shall we?

This room was styled for the movie. In fact, Rachel (Whitney's) publicist says it was done for a magazine shoot: Superstars and their Boudoirs. So funny. Anyway - the real life room is actually the formal living parlor of the Greystone Mansion. Here's the shot of the room from 1945:

Notice the columns and the arches! Now, the same room styled as an office from the movie There Will be Blood:

Looks a little more familiar now, right? Ok, so here's the best thing about this post. As I started researching each of these images, more and more images fell in my lap. Veranda had some of the world's best designers do a showhouse called "Great House" at the Greystone in 2008. Designer Jack Fhillips did the same room this way:

 Gorgeous, right? Check out how similar it is to the same room layout from historical shots in 1928:

More shots from the designers website:

Pretty nice, huh? Much better than the Superstar Boudoir, but hey - in 1992, I'm sure everyone was in awe over the idea that anyone would have that bedroom, complete with it's gilded feather fan headboard/footboard!
The actual bedroom of the house looked out onto this view, where in the movie, Costner (Frank) was watching Houston's video for "I Have Nothing" while she was getting ready for bed. I loved this view - can you imagine? Although we never really see the bedroom Houston used, we do see a snapshot glimpse of the room through an outside window as Costner tucks her in:

I know this is dark (night scene in the movie) but check out the moldings and the cabinet and it's crown to the far left. It's the same room (photographed standing at the door) Windsor Smith decorated for Veranda's Great House here:

Can you see it? The camera man must have been standing on scaffolding outside of the window to the left of the bed with the table underneath.

This gorgeous vignette is exactly where the bed was in The Bodyguard. Every year they do a tour of the home with different designers doing rooms. They're sometimes as nice as the Veranda house - sometimes not. Here's another photo of the same room all dressed in lilac:

After Costner tucks Houston in, he goes down to the kitchen, also from the Greystone Mansion:

Check out that gorgeous butlers pantry in the background! Oh boy! So when Veranda's "Great House" was done, the kitchen looked like this:

This wasn't done for the Veranda spread - so finding a recent photo of it was quite difficult. But it's good to know that this hasn't been disturbed really. Floors, cabinets - all the same. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie takes place with Houston in Miami, and not much of the house shows up. The final "house shots" are of Costner enjoying a drink and watching the rain:

So much of this movie was shot in the dark! I don't think that this shot could be in Greystone, at least from the shots in Veranda. But with 53 rooms, who knows? So there you have it - the musings of a sick Artie. Good thing I chose The Bodyguard instead of Harold and Kumar go to Whitecastle. Now that I have given some thought to the ever changing ballroom of the Greystone, I'll put the research to good use and give you all a post of the many designers who have decorated this room and its historical significance soon! See you Friday.


  1. Get better soon!! What an interesting post! I loved that movie.

  2. i think i ate the other half of that same bug....!

    love this post.
    it is really amazing that some do live that way....
    and then,
    there homes turn up making fab movie sets.

    it is also incredible the road
    'miss whitney' has traveled since
    the making of that movie.

    feel better

  3. Hi Artie,
    Great sleuthing! I hope you feel better soon.
    Best regards,

  4. I thought that the living room looked familiar; it's hard to forget anything that beautiful. If you are interested in yet another take, Thom Filicia also did a version of the living room for a showhouse, and there are pics in his book and on his website.

  5. feel better artie, but feel free to take an interlude again, this was a fantastic post.

  6. Good morning Artie, Love the wood details in this home. Just gorgeous.The bed room is to die for. Love the fabric they used on the canopy. Its a keeper!

  7. One of my favorite movies, too! Nothing like keeping warm under a blanket with a box of tissues and some great movies to watch - except feeling good!

  8. I started following your blog awhile back and I promote it on my blogroll. I started a DIY decorating blog just over a month ago. I hope you will check it out and, if you like it, please follow me to.

    I hope you feel better!

  9. Artie, I am so impressed that you have such energy and perseverance when you are not feeling well. I am exhausted just thinking about all the work that went into this post. I am looking forward to your follow-up post about the ballroom -- a great idea -- and I hope you feel better soon.

  10. Wow! Some people whine and bellyache and moan and groan when they are sick....and then there's Artie...who does a full indepth research project. Bravo! I DO remember that movie..AND those gates!

    I hope you are feeling better soon...but if not-I got a couple research projects I can send you on! xo Diana

  11. Hope you are feeling better! I can't imagine doing such a lengthy post feeling sick. You are quite a the pictures! The rooms are to die for! I loved the Bodyguard! Funny but I just watched Out of Africa..never saw it! Beautiful scenery!
    Your post was just as gorgeous!
    Blessings My Friend,

  12. hi arte, hopefully your are all better now!

    i've been to greystone a few times. but the best was the veranda showcase house. omg, it was one of the best days of my life. every room was unbelievable! the greatroom/entry that you showed here was breathtaking. my favorite room inthe house was suzanne rhinsteins garden room. i've never been in a more beautiful room. i've only found a couple of pictures of that room online but they do not do it justice. also, across from that room was peter dunhams library/gentlemens room and it took our breath away. i kept going back to suzannes room. what was great about this showcase house was that you could wander through the whole thing at your own pace. not in a line that was directed. we didn't want to leave. at the time we went the kitchen was not done. there was a small one upstairs that was gorgeous but the main kitchen that you showed was still undone. the marble countertops were gorgeous though. we also got to go into the basement and see the original bowling alley that they used in there will be blood. amazing too.
    anyway, thanks for bringing back memories of an exceptional day!!!!!!

  13. Hey Artie...LOVE this movie! :-) Just like with Practical Magic...I spent o much time looking at the rooms and rewinding to see more...that I had to rewatch it! Cool story on the Practical Magic house over on 'Hooked on Houses' blog...
    Glad you're on the mend...