Bar­bra has de­signs on ar­chi­tec­ture, fur­ni­ture

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - BOOKS -

LOS AN­GE­LES: It’s not ex­actly open­ing your home to guests at a hol­i­day party, but for film and sing­ing star Bar­bra Streisand and her fans, it’s pretty close.

This week Streisand has seen her first book land in stores, but it’s no mem­oir of star turns in films such as Funny Girl or The Way We Were, nor does it re­count the mak­ing of al­bums that have sold over 71 mil­lion copies.

For her de­but as an author, Streisand has in­stead writ­ten about her love of ar­chi­tec­ture, art, fur­ni­ture and land­scap­ing in My Pas­sion for De­sign. But don’t be fooled by its ti­tle be­cause, within the pages, the star tells tales from her life and ca­reer that in­flu­enced the choices she made in de­sign­ing her dream home in Mal­ibu, Cal­i­for­nia.

“I think it makes it more in­ter­est­ing,” she said about the book’s first-per­son style. “Peo­ple have been ask­ing me to write my au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, but I don’t want to go there yet and be that per­sonal. I guess it crept into my own writ­ing. This is how I see the world now, and what is beau­ti­ful to me.”

The cof­fee ta­ble book from Vik­ing pub­lish­ers takes read­ers on Streisand’s years-long jour­ney plan­ning, build­ing and fur­nish­ing the com­pound that re­sem­bles a 19th cen­tury New Eng­land farm with a barn, mill house, main house, Grandma’s house and even a chicken coop.

It is not the first house the singer has de­signed for her­self. In fact, it fol­lows sev­eral oth­ers in­clud­ing an Art Deco-themed house, and her New York City apart­ments. But it is the home in which Streisand and her hus­band James Brolin spend most of their time and it is, in a word, rather comfy.

Adding to the book’s per­sonal touches, avid pho­tog­ra­pher Streisand took most of the pic­tures her­self.

In the in­tro­duc­tion, read­ers learn Streisand likes to spend her morn­ings in bed, with her dog Sa­man­tha at her feet. It is there that she writes, reads, eats and even trades stocks.

“It’s a way of gam­bling with­out hav­ing to get dressed,” Streisand writes.

She said she doesn’t know ex­actly from where she de­rived her love of ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign, but adds it cer­tainly wasn’t from her mother, who cov­ered their fur­ni­ture in plas­tic when she was a child to keep it from get­ting dam­aged. In Streisand’s Mal­ibu home, noth­ing is sheathed.

The book is di­vided into sep­a­rate sec­tions cov­er­ing the dif­fer­ent struc­tures within the com­pound. She starts in the chicken coop, where she houses hens who lay eggs, and she cov­ers the gar­dens where she grows her own veg­eta­bles.

Her “barn” is a home, re­ally – no stalls for live­stock – but Streisand is quick to point out that she doesn’t live there. The main house is her home. “Build­ing the barn was like com­plet­ing an art project,” she writes.

The de­sign styles span roughly three cen­turies, from the 18th to the 20th, but the com­mon theme is a love of Amer­i­cana. There is her “Fed­eral Lounge”, which looks like a town­house in Washington, her “Bee’s Doll Shop”, which houses her doll col­lec­tion, and the An­tique Clothes Shop, which shows off her love of vin­tage cloth­ing.

“It rep­re­sents all the dif­fer­ent parts of my per­son­al­ity,” she said of the rooms and their var­i­ous styles. – Reuters

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