Diane Keaton doesn’t miss a beat when you ask her to name her favorite location from the set of her new romantic comedy Book Club. “I liked Andy Garcia’s house best,” the Oscar winner and design aficionado tells Architectural Digest.
“Andy’s house is an old Spanish. I wanted to buy it. That place is gorgeous.”
Garcia plays Keaton’s love interest in the movie about four lifelong Los Angeles friends – Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen – whose love lives are turned upside down when they begin reading the Fifty Shades of Grey series for their monthly book club. Keaton plays a widow who begins to move on from the death of her husband when she meets Mitchell (Garcia), a handsome and independently wealthy pilot from Sedona, Arizona.
As soon as production designer Rachel O’Toole saw photos of Hummingbird Nest Ranch, a sprawling 123-acre equestrian estate in Simi Valley once owned by Texas billionaire David Saperstein (he sold the property in 2016 for $33 million), she knew she had found Garcia’s home in the film. The estate features a 17,000,000-square-foot Spanish Colonial mansion, but O’Toole and first-time director Bill Holderman opted to use one of the property’s 16 guesthouses for Garcia’s house.
“I think it’s the original main house built on the property,” O’Toole says. “It was just so perfect with the archways and the way that the light dapples through the yard and the pool. Standing at the front door you can see all the way through the kitchen into a bathroom, through an arched brick passageway and then outside through leaded glass to a fountain. I said to Bill, ‘We shouldn’t waste our time looking elsewhere because this is it.’”
While the 1970s kitchen was updated for the film, the rest of the house just needed some redecorating. “For the color palette, we had burgundies and browns and tans with lots of textures like Persian rugs,” O’Toole says. “We wanted Andy’s character to be a grounded and approachable with things he collected from all his travels.”
Fonda, Bergen, and Steenburgen in the bedroom of Keaton’s character’s house.
A sweet but slightly rundown cottage in Brentwood was chosen for Keaton’s character as a nod to her trying to move on. “It was just a charming house where it hadn’t undergone the typical renovation that people do with the white marble countertops and everything,” O’Toole says. “It was very authentic and lived in.”
Keaton is an architecture and design star in her own right (she’s the author of three design books, including Diane Keaton: House, California Romantica and The House That Pinterest Built, and has also owned Frank Lloyd Wright and Wallace Neff homes), so O’Toole admits she was “sweating” when trying to get the actress’s house just right for the movie. “It’s very Diane,” O’Toole explains. “It’s very earthy with little pops of color. It had more wood accents and neutrals on the wall with some blue and little black accents. There was a lot of black painted wood.”
And then there’s the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams chair in the living room. “I saw it on this website called Chairs, and when I saw it, I was like, ‘We’re going to buy that chair because I’m pretty sure Diane would ask to keep it,’” O’Toole says. And how right she was.
The simple white armchair with a black strip down the middle now sits in Keaton’s own home and is, in fact, featured in her latest book, The House That Pinterest Built. “Oh, my God!” Keaton gushes. “It’s so comfortable.”
Turns out O’Toole didn’t have to worry too much about Keaton becoming involved with her work. “I don’t want to be a production designer!” Keaton says. “You know why? Because you have to please other people. I just want to buy and sell houses and flip them. I want to do that for as long as I live. I just bought a place in Tucson that I’m working on now!”
Steenburgen’s character’s kitchen in Book Club.
As for the other women, Steenburgen’s character is a chef and restaurant owner so – no surprise – the friends gather in her kitchen when they meet at her house for their book club. They filmed in a renovated home in Brentwood not far from Keaton’s. “Mary’s color palette was in the jewel tones and fruit colors,” O’Toole says. “Her main colors were yellow and green. Since she was sort of the most vibrant character and the one that also dealt with food, there are little accents of lemons throughout her place and wherever she went. Bill kept telling me to stop putting lemons everywhere, and I’m like, ‘But Mary brought those!’”
The other standout space in the production is Fonda’s office. As the redheaded, sexed-up, never-been-married owner of a hotel (you might recognize the exterior: it’s the Montage Beverly Hills), Fonda’s workspace, shot in a redesigned room at the historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, is bathed in creams with strong brass, gold, silver, and crystal accents. “Jane does an incredible amount of research into her characters,” O’Toole explains. “She had an insane amount of detail with a backstory. It became really obvious that her office had to be elegant but also not afraid to have a little bling. She was going to be wearing lots of rings and jewelry, and that is reflected in her office.”