Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes


Living with Art: Ghost Town

 [Ricky Gervais and Téa Leoni in Ghost Town.]

Ages ago a friendly reader asked if I knew anything about a flowering branch upholstery fabric spotted in the hysterical 2008 movie, Ghost Town, starring Ricky Gervais and Téa Leoni. (Leoni's character has a chair in her apartment covered in what looks a bit like a blown-up version of Flowering Quince from Clarence House.)

In case you're new to the world of interior decoration, pictured above is a longtime design blog favorite with Flowering Quince: Sara Ruffin Costello's bedroom photographed by Gemma Comas for domino.

 [Greg Kinnear and Ricky Gervais in Ghost Town.]

Earlier this summer, while roaming the aisles of bolts at Atlanta's budget-friendly textile emporium, Forsyth Fabrics, I may have stumbled upon the vaguely similar Flowering Branch print seen in the film. While it's not on Forsyth's site, you can find it online here.

But the reason I'm mentioning Ghost Town today is the art. Well, the art and the overall feel of Leoni's apartment. The character is a scholar -- an Egyptologist. Production designer Howard Cummings gives us a little visual backstory by densely packing into her home a lot of photography, objects, textiles and paintings.

[Téa Leoni's character, Gwen, at work in Ghost Town.]

Many of the pieces are fairly large; it's interesting to see how they all work in a relatively small space. I might even go so far as to say the eclectic yet sophisticated mix on the soft blue-gray walls calls to mind Miles Redd. Sort of. Mostly, the apartment feels like it belongs to a specific person. Although, Cummings never resorts to Egyptology stereotypes (according to the production notes, avoiding clichés was the goal).  It all comes together in a dynamic, elegant way, and unfortunately the apartment is only on screen for a few minutes, so I've been rewinding and pausing. If anyone knows something about the photograph behind Gervais' head, above, I'd love to hear from you.

Other wonderful things to see in Ghost Town include the Met's Temple of Dendur, Beaux Arts architecture and the change of seasons in NYC. The film begins at the very end of summer and quickly progresses into fall, making it a perfect September rental. 

Related past post: Collecting.

Update: 9.13.10

The Clarence House linen makes another beautiful appearance in Patricia Herrera's house, published in the October 2010 Elle Decor. (Photography by Roger Davies.) Above is a tiny teaser; be sure to pick up a copy of the magazine and enjoy seeing all the images with story written by Mitchell Owens!


Karena said...

Now I must see the movie. I am so intrigued! It is great to see set designers and producers using fine art!

Art by Karena

Wendy said...

Oooh, was it me that made that comment? I seem to remember it! That apartment in Ghost Town was fantastic I thought. It reminded me a bit of Andy and Kate Spade's place a bit. Just crammed with lovely art, color, and books--loved it!

La Maison Fou said...

Will have to check this one out;
Never seen before.
Two of my fav's art & decor set inspiration.... will have to find and rent.

Style Court said...

Yes, the Spade apartment. Definitely thought of those walls too. Good eye!

quintessence said...

I've never seen this movie either - definitely going on my rental list - too bad it's not on instant streaming at Netflix. Love the flowering quince and now dying to see aforementioned apartment of course!