Design Lesson

Tour the set: Blue Jasmine

Tour the set: Blue Jasmine Author: Style At Home

Design Lesson

Tour the set: Blue Jasmine

2014 Academy Award nominations
Actress in a Leading Role | Actress in a Supporting Role | Writing, Original Screenplay

An elegant New York socialite, played by actor Cate Blanchett, loses all of her money and status in this Woody Allen movie. This 2013 film loosely parallels the real-life story of Ruth Madoff, the wife of imprisoned Ponzi-schemer Bernie Madoff. Jasmine, the title character, moves from a world of beach houses and multi-million dollar apartments to her sister’s humble San Francisco apartment.

The end of Jasmine’s marriage to charming, wealthy financier Hal (played by Alec Baldwin) is told in a series of flashbacks to New York around the time of the financial crisis of 2008. Though the timeline is never expressly stated, it’s obvious by production designer Santo Loquasto’s sumptuous contemporary interiors and Jasmine’s still-fashionable clothing that the New York scenes of the past are taking place in the early-to-late 2000s. It’s present day San Francisco that the audience also tours in the movie, from Chinatown to Fisherman’s Wharf to Mission Bay, the rough-around-the-edges neighbourhood her sister lives in.

Writer and director Woody Allen and Santo Loquasto have a long history of working together; Curse of the Jade Scorpion, Celebrity and Mighty Aphrodite are a few films they’ve done together, and the designer is famous in the industry for Big, with Tom Hanks. Santo is known as a thoroughly hands-on production designer, having reportedly picked out every piece of Jasmine’s New York furnishings. We see Jasmine’s classic, understated interior design style at her tasteful, airy beach house and at her swish Manhattan home; it’s no surprise that she chooses to study interior design when she moves to San Francisco.
interior-blue-jasmine-porch.jpg
Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

1 Beach house porch
The beach towns a few hours outside of Manhattan called the Hamptons are the summer playground of New York’s rich and famous, and we see that in their wealthy days, Jasmine and Hal summered there. Resin wicker outdoor furniture in honey brown and plush cushions in a wide stripe are traditional porch choices that suit the New England cedar-shingled house. You can get this look with Pottery Barn’s Torrey wicker chairs and Sunbrella’s brown-black-and-white Berenson Tuxedo Stripe outdoor fabric. interior-blue-jasmine-deck.jpg
Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

2 Beach house deck
What’s a Hamptons beach house without an expansive deck with views of the dunes, and a ridiculously costly Hermes Birkin bag? Flagstone flooring, a stacked-stone barbecue pit and teak lounge furniture with white seat cushions are timeless backyard splurges that look fresh right now, even though this film’s scene takes place in a flashback. Cate Blanchett’s Jasmine and her sister, Ginger (played by Sally Hawkins) lounge on clean-lined teak chaises. Similar versions of these modern chaise longues are available at allthingscedar.ca. interior-blue-jasmine-bedroom.jpg
Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

3 Manhattan bedroom
Jasmine and Hal’s former bedroom evokes the gilded opulence of a manor house in Provence. Cate Blanchett, seen here in the scene where she confronts Hal about his philandering, is nominated for an Academy Award for this role. Also playing a starring role in this scene, however, is a curvy headboard in antiqued white. It’s contrasted by champagne hues seen in the pillows and lamp, and a brown-red bed cover and matching fringed accent cushions in a soft batik pattern. For those who love white-painted antiques, we’ve seen similar French antique reproduction furniture at G.H. Johnson’s Trading Company and the real thing online at myparisapartment.ca. Or if you want to paint a piece yourself, try Farrow & Ball whites like Old White or James White. interior-blue-jasmine-living.jpg
Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics


4 Manhattan living room
Woody Allen is nominated for an Academy Award for the original screenplay of Blue Jasmine. He also directed the film, seen here mid-discussion with Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin. This grand apartment is not an apartment at all in real life. It’s a mansion outside of New York City, Santo Loquasto has said. “If you remember the empty apartment, when they come in to buy it, and there’s a big piece of scaffolding -- it’s to hide the trees,” the set designer has said in an interview. Extra-wide door trim and tall multi-lite doors in a rich mahogany underscore the elegance of the room. A fresco above the wall panelling carries over the European feel of the bedroom. interior-blue-jasmine-sanfran.jpg Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

5 San Francisco bedroom
When Jasmine takes refuge at her sister Ginger’s San Francisco apartment she is destitute by the standards of her previous life -- though still impeccably dressed in a Chanel wool bouclé jacket. This apartment is in the Mission Bay neighbourhood of San Francisco, a tough part of town in the film (in reality, it’s an up-and-coming neighbourhood with high rents). In real life, it’s owned by two attorneys and is considerably more polished before it got a dramatic makeunder. “We stripped it, repainted it, furnished it,” Loquasto has said. Apparently Loquasto had found a dowdier location, but Woody Allen would not be swayed from this light-filled home. The decor could not contrast more from Jasmine’s past abodes in its thrift-store chic looks. Lacy polyester curtains and a simple blue cotton blanket on the bed are reminders that with two sons and a job at a grocery store, Ginger lives on a tight budget.
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Design Lesson

Tour the set: Blue Jasmine