The Brick Home of Diane Keaton

  • When you envisage the Los Angeles home of an A-lister, a farmhouse-style abode isn’t the first thing to come to mind. The homes of Hollywood’s rich and famous are supposed to exude their lavish lifestyle, right? Not for celebrated actress and home design aficionado Diane Keaton. Trading Beverly Hills for barefoot luxury was her idea of home, brought to life by an obsession with Pinterest. From pin to paper, in 1,278 days her brick home was built. Fascinated by her book ‘The House that Pinterest Built’, we took the pleasure of exploring how Diane Keaton’s dream home came to be.

    PHOTOGRAPHY Lisa Romerein

    Diane Keaton has long been known for her avid interest in architecture and design. She had turned over many a homes before, with a particular penchant for Spanish Colonial Revival restorations, but not yet built one for herself. Excited by the idea of designing her own abode, she was quick to start her collection of tear-sheet inspiration from blogs and magazines. That was before she was introduced to the world of Pinterest. “With Pinterest as my muse, the fantasy of a dream home took off,” Diane said in her book based on this creative project, ‘The House that Pinterest Built’. “Pinterest is a place where wordless juxtapositions are the perfect format for collecting and editing those dreams,” she admits, and where she made the treasure trove of imagery to nail her vision. Then, she invited architect David Takacs and friend and designer Stephen Shadley to take these mood boards to the drawing board.

    Sullivan Canyon, in the middle LA’s west side, was where Diane Keaton chose to build her dream home: a 2500 square metre fireproof, earth resistant, water resistant, walled-in compound. The actress recalls being read the “Three Little Pigs” and at age five, knew she was going to live in a brick house ‘when she grew up’. Flash forward and Diane Keaton isn’t shy to admit her favourite facet of her home is the 75,000 handpicked clay bricks. The 18th-century bricks were purchased in Chicago and form the foundation of the entire residence, including the brick outdoor area and its outdoor chimney.

    Initially Diane intended to paint the exposed brickwork, but after falling in love with its texture, she decided to leave them as is on the outside. This adoration is not exclusive to the work of Diane Keaton. In fact, Brickworks is a local supplier in step with the move towards the appeal of reclaimed masonry. Just as the brick exterior of Diane’s home, the San Selmo Reclaimed is inspired by recycled bricks and manufactured in Italy. So too does the silver brickwork of the internal fireplace resemble the San Selmo Smoked on offer at Brickworks, both adding warmth and character.

    For Diane Keaton, the “heartbeat of the house” is the kitchen. She aptly titled her Pinterest board “Breakfast of Champions” and furiously sought the details to fill this royal space. The mammoth custom-made island bench is fitted out with chicken wire cabinetry and overhead, pendant lights cleverly repurpose material from a chicken coup. It’s the kind of kitchen you can only wish to be invited to for a dinner party. 

    Some serious natural light finds its way into all of the communal spaces, courtesy of the steel framed windows and the series of French doors — not to mention those four skylights at the peak of the kitchen ceiling. Diane is a big fan of what this adds to her home, as “each day a sky full of ever-evolving light spreads over the cabinets, the stove, the sink, the island, the table and even the fireplace”. These choices also set the tone for the master bathroom — that could be mistaken for the kitchen by size — host to black-framed shower doors and the classic subway tile.

    While there’s many of us who can relate to pouring over Pinterest, there’s not a lot who can say their entire home was assembled by a collection of its images. But then again — we’re not Diane Keaton. The Hollywood great has traded the star-studded polish for patina and in doing so she has layered her home, brick by brick, with history and meaning. This unique detail is a rare feat— and certainly hard to beat. 

    This project is the second in a featured series on how leading contemporary architects and design figures use bricks, in partnership with Brickworks. See the est favourites here or take a look at Brickworks on the est product library.

    The distressed bricks, raw wooden beams, shiplap timber walls and bold black pendants all sing the industrial charm Diane Keaton fervently admired on Pinterest, while deviating from the traditional barn. The worn materials and finishes act as though they all have a story to tell — in a house laced with intriguing old objects and an upstairs library that overflows with books.

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