C California Style

Annie’s Halls

by C California Style

Enduring icon Diane Keaton opens the barn doors to her latest abode where imitation is the highest form of flattery

Actor, director, author and ardent house flipper DIANE KEATON keeps a cellar full of her own wine, named The Keaton Red—a blend of zinfandel, petite sirah and syrah—which she enjoys over ice.

One of Diane Keaton’s most stirring memories as a child growing up in Southern California was visiting Mission San Juan Capistrano. “It was all of these arches, just constantly over and over,” she says. “I couldn’t get over this idea of a repeated beautiful element.”

Looking back now, the experience formed a blueprint for how this director, producer, author and Academy Award-winning actor (whose legendary films include Something’s Gotta Give, Father of the Bride and Annie Hall) creates her own interiors—with a sense of history, a California backdrop, and an appreciation for unique, profound design.

A preservationist, house flipper and ardent decorator, Keaton has celebrated architecture, landscape and the design details of her home state in previous titles (California Romantica and House). And the passion endures. “We’re living in a time that is pushing the boundaries—especially in California. This is the mecca, it represents the best in residential architecture.”

The latest addition is Keaton’s own home, an intriguing 8,000-square-foot, rustic-industrial vision in Sullivan Canyon, just north of Brentwood, where she lives with her daughter, Dexter, and son, Duke, and the family’s golden retriever, Emmie.

The 38,000-square-foot lot allowed Keaton to do something she’s never done before: build from the ground up. (She’s previously lived in architectural jewels by Frank Lloyd Wright Jr. and Wallace Neff.) Another first? Adding a modern design tool to her tried-and-true method of tear sheets from magazines and web sites: Pinterest.

Friend Nancy Meyers (the director whose movie interiors have launched countless pins) suggested Keaton check out the image-sharing app. “One click and I was hooked,” she says.

The 3½ years of pinning, planning and construction that followed is captured in her striking new title, The House That Pinterest Built (Rizzoli New York, $65). Part scrapbook and part aesthetic master class, the book gives readers a front-row seat to her thoughtful process and a personal tour of her private space—with its mix of tonal and textural elements (reclaimed wood, brick, metal, nubby textiles) and playful patterns (dots, plaids, stripes).

The elements reflect Keaton’s affinity for Spanish, farmhouse and ranch styles that all share a sense of warmth. “I like worn elements, things of the past,” she says.

Not one to follow convention or trends, Keaton’s influences are varied and intriguing, like her interiors. In conversation, she muses on an “incredible” cement factory in Tucson, iconic architect Michael Graves and a fondness for bare windows. “People think I’m crazy, but I don’t have curtains,” she says. “I hate them.”

Instinct and emotion blend with traditional decor cues to fill the first half of the book with stylish juxtapositions of such wide-ranging subjects as landscapes, pools, ladders, book covers, beds and bath fixtures.

Keaton cheerfully confesses her kitchen is “literally copied from an image on Pinterest” that shows a long gray-and-white island and large industrial lights in a white church-like space with skylights. But much of the house used images as jumping-off points, with twists and tweaks made by her team of architect David Takacs, designer Stephen Shadley, and Cynthia Carlson and Toben Windahl of Cynthia Carlson Associates.

Take, for example, the brick exterior, which Keaton was planning on painting, but ultimately chose to keep the raw, textured facade. “I fell in love with the mortar and the brick’s natural character,” says Keaton. “That’s how great ideas evolve— what you take in, what you see.”

Or a silo structure used more for visual balance than extra space. “The roofline was boring,” she says. “It needed more elevation.” It also gave Keaton the look of a New York City water tower—something she’d tried (unsuccessfully) to purchase before.

One absolute for Keaton is an abundance of light. “For me, there’s nothing better,” she says. It led her to add the large skylight in the kitchen and line the entire second floor with clerestory windows.

Ultimately, the book and home is as much a tribute to Keaton’s love affair with design and living as it is to the 300 images from across the Pinterest universe. (Keaton’s own account, keatondiane, is a wonderland in itself.)

From the Cliff May knockoff model homes she visited with her father as a young girl (“paradise”) to the creature comforts in her current space (“dimmers and my Monterey furniture I’ve had forever”), Keaton sees the journey to her dream house much like life itself. She writes in the book’s introduction, “No matter how you cut it, the process is filled with compromises, failures and setbacks. Knowing this, I say, ‘Do it anyway.’ Grab ideas and let them take you wherever they will.”

And where’s Keaton headed? There’s possibly a new project tied to the book.    “Stay tuned,” she says. And there’s always the next home. “Already I am thinking, ‘How can I build another house?’” she says with a laugh. “It never goes away.” 

Photography by JESSE STONE.


This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of C Magazine.