Apr 10

Barbra Streisand – passion for design

I saw the book in the local bookstore when one day my husband and I stopped for a cup of coffee. It was one week before Christmas. I was sold on it right away but the $60 price tag stopped me from buying it. Plus my husband and I agreed not to have Christmas gifts for ourselves and just for the kids.

I must had the “wow” look on my face so obvious that my husband decided to surprise me. So I have received Barbra Streisand’s “My Passion for Design” book for Christmas. Can’t tell you how much this meant for me! Amazingly I also received a coffee mug I fall in love with while we have visited the same coffee shop. In the rush my husband did not see what was written inside in the mug: “The best Dad ever” :)

We had a good laugh…..and both ended up with Christmas gifts!

Back to the book…I went through it in a day or so and then back again to read different parts of it slowly….like eating a bar of my favorite chocolate.

For almost fifty years Barbra Streisand has been one of the singular and most influential figures (in my very own opinion) in American entertainment. Now, in her first book, Barbra Streisand undercover another aspect of her talent: the taste and style that have inspired her beautiful homes and collections. Her book focuses on the architecture and construction of her newest homes, the dream refuge that she has dreamed for since the days when she shared a small Brooklyn apartment with her mother, brother, and grandparents.

A culmination and reflection of Barbra Streisand’s love of eighteenth and twentieth century’s American architecture and design, “My Passion for Design” contains many of her very own photos of the rooms she has decorated, the furniture and art she has collected for many years, and the heavenly gardens she has planted on her land on the California coast. In addition to the rare and intimate private tour of her homes, Barbra shares memories of her childhood, the development of her sense of style, and what collecting has come to mean to her. When Streisand talks about the “Elegant Barn” and “Mill House” she designed, both featured in the book, the attention to every detail and getting things right was pretty intense.

It’s hard to say how one acquires an eye for art or design, but I don’t think I developed it at home, unless it was in rebellion from what I was seeing. I couldn’t afford to buy art, but I found old gilt frames and hung them on the walls, just framing space, says Barbara in her book.

I think that Barbra Streisand stands up among many other celebrities because she is down to the earth and never forgets she grew up with next to nothing. Little Barbara slept in a bed with her mother, and her brother had a roll-away cot in the same room. Barbara says: “We didn’t have a couch, I guess because we didn’t have a living room.”

A month ago I watched a rare, live interview with Barbra Streisand. Even though most mortals will not get the chance to design million dollar homes, and may not be blessed with the same “exquisite” taste, I can dream and reveal a bit in her devotion to details. She shared that part of her meticulous detail to design came from a less than fortunate childhood. Preference for colors is psychologically linked to childhood, she said. Streisand says she felt rebuffed by her mother and step-father, Lou Kind, a used-car salesman, and attributes many of her personality characteristics to those early experiences.

Thanks to her stage role popularity, Streisand was signed by Columbia records and recorded. The path from Barbara to Barbra, Manhattan to Malibu, has been neither linear, nor always successful. Music legend is a long way from where she started out in Brooklyn: today, she lives in a home with a screening room, its very own shopping street and interiors that nourish my soul.

Have you read “My Passion for Design” book yet? Let me know what you think, whether you agree or disagree with me. I love to hear your comments.

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