Monday, December 13, 2010

Inside Barbra Streisand's Dream Home

Get a private tour of Funny Girl Barbra Streisand's dream home.

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Inside Barbra Streisand's Dream Home

It took Hollywood legend Barbra Streisand years to design and build the dream home she and husband James Brolin share with their dog, Samantha. From the moment she first saw the main house, Barbra knew she wanted it and had to wait 11 years to buy it. Barbra says her home, which is located on California's breathtaking coast, is an homage to craftsmanship (think: woodwork and old beams), great architects and furniture designers like Greene and Greene, Stickley and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. She chronicles this labor of love in her first book, My Passion for Design.

For Barbra, designing a dream home is as fulfilling as working on a movie. "You have something to really to show for it afterward," she says.

Barbra's dream home is actually made up of four buildings—the mill house, the barn, Grandma's house and the main house—on 3 acres of property.

Besides the main house, which Barbra moved into within three days, she needed to start her dream home from stratch. "There was nothing here when we started," she says. "We built the streams because I think water is a very soothing element. Now I'm surrounded by it on three sides."

For as long as she can remember, Barbra says she's always loved barns. "They feel so American to me," she says. And, Barbra believes if you have a barn, you have to have chickens. Her hens lay green eggs.

Outside the barn, there's a small fish pond. Even the colors of the fish were chosen with purpose. "Since the houses are barn red, trimmed with black-and-white, the fish, of course, have to be black-and-white, right?" she says with a smile.

The rose garden isn't just beautiful—it's a spiritual place for Barbra. When she needs time to herself, she goes into her garden. "I literally smell the roses," Barbra says. "I am so entranced by nature. I live on the ocean. That's an ever-changing painting."

In the Cape Cod cottage-style guest house, visitors can stay in the Lavender Bedroom. The bedroom, which Barbra calls "informal," is where she sets up a microphone and a music stand and records songs. She says she's recorded music with legendary singers Tony Bennett and Barry Gibb in this very room. "I like looking at the ocean when I sing," she says.

Barbra says she considered building a professional recording studio in the barn, but she didn't think she'd use it. "[I] record in Grandma's house—we call it—which has nothing professional about it," she says. "It doesn't even have double-glazed windows on the ocean, and yet it works."

In the basement of the barn Barbra put in a village of shops, which were inspired by Hector Guimard and the Art Nouveau era. This is where Barbra keeps many of her antiques. "I have a lot of stuff, and instead of storing it just in a basement, why not make a street of shops that would house these things?" she says.

Among the shops is a Louis XV–esque antique clothing store. The shop showcases some of Barbra's most opulent and ornate garments, like a black lace cape and an Irene Sharaff gown constructed with green chiffon over pink silk. Barbra wore this gown when she sang the song "People" in Funny Girl.

In the main house's family room, it's easy to see that Barbra loves monochromatic color schemes. "I like textures, different textures of the same color," she says. "I find it calming."

When designing a living space, Barbra tends to stick to one or two colors per room, which she feels is less distracting. "I don't respond to too many colors, too many prints," she says. "Then, I don't hear the conversation as easily."

A portion of the proceeds from Barbra's book, My Passion for Design, benefits women's cardiovascular research. Barbra will match the contributions of others, dollar for dollar up to $5 million. Find out more about the Barbra Streisand Women’s Cardiovascular Research and Education Program at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.