Treasures from the home of the late great Carrie Fisher were sold at auction September 24rd, with partial proceeds benefitting mental health charities.
Fisher’s brash authenticity, one of the myriad reasons why she was so beloved – didn’t just shine on-screen or in the books she wrote – it radiated throughout her Hacienda-style Beverly Hills home, a couple miles away from where I’m stationed in Los Angeles writing this.
To be inside her house was to celebrate Fisher’s realness. As we prepare to cocoon in coming weeks, these are some easy-breezy Fisher-inspired decor tips to make your nest more authentically YOU, inspired from the edge, by a woman in a galaxy far, far away:
Tip #1: Who Lives Here? When someone enters your home can they tell immediately it’s “you” (or you and your partner / family?) Anyone can put up a good taste facade with ticky-tacky knick-knacks from a big box decor store – but don’t YOU want to shine through? Fisher loved the colour purple and used it abundantly. Maybe not your taste, nor is it necessarily mine (though purple is my favourite colour) but it was Fisher’s liking, so she did it, adding in bright vivid blues, and cloud wallpaper on her bedroom ceiling. (My home office is orange with brown trim because I like pretending I work inside an Hermes box.)
Tip #2: Tell A Story. Being in Fisher’s home was like being in her head. A huge Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra head – actually a garish ungodly coffee mug – sat on a silver platter. (Get it? Taylor famously stole Fisher’s’ father away from Debbie Reynolds and that Fisher had the home-wrecker’s “head on a platter” is twisted and I love it.)
What life story exists in your home? When I was a little boy I wanted to play with Barbie’s so badly and now at last I can: I have vintage Barbies – including Midge! – a Joan Collins Barbie, Barbie coffee table books, and, my prized possessions: two signed original Barbie fashion sketches I get to wake up to every morning – bonus fun when a gentleman caller notices our boom boom is happening as Barbies watch.
Tip #3: Break The Rules. Clearly someone who didn’t give a rat’s ass about being in a home decor magazine ever – or about snoozefest buzzwords like “harmony” or “colour trends” – Fisher left her Christmas tree up all year long, and I’m taking a cue from that when I get back from the west coast. Eleven months of the year I store exquisite Christmas tree balls, totally forgotten. Some are retro 1950’s, other’s are one-of-a-kind artisan, while others don’t actually even scream Christmas but are beautiful. Those are coming out of hiding and are perfect to place in three see-through silver mesh baskets I purchased this summer. Thanks Carrie; I was waiting for inspiration. I love the spirit and meaning of Christmas and will now happily imbue my home with it all year long, as you did.
Tip: #4 – Got A staircase? The staircase chez Fisher has painted on each step the words from part of a poem. You may not chose to share maudlin text about the damage a parent can do to a child on your stairs – Fisher did – but a staircase is ripe with potential. If I had one I’d have painted “Thank you” in gold cursive on mine, to remind myself to keep it grateful, whether I’m on my way up or down.
Tip: #5 Self-Shrine. “Princess Leia” had Leia pez dispensers, oil paintings, Leia Lego, on display everywhere. (She did so as wry reminder that Star Wars‘ George Lucas owned her likeness: “Every time I look in the mirror I have to pay him a couple of bucks.”) We may not all have our own action figures – okay, I actually do… but you can too! Looking extra hot? Love your pets to pieces? Are your kids athletes? Dancers? 3D printing is a creative miracle that reproduces a captured moment in 3D in any size. Arrive home to find you…. greeting you!
Tip #6: Display “Ugly.” Fisher collected paintings of ugly children (though she sadly never saw the ugly child painting her family had purchased and hung for her in her living room last Christmas) which means she had a lot of “ugly” art. I know many gay men who own or love a particular pieces of provocative homoerotic art, yet take it down when company comes, or don’t buy anything they love because “what would people think?”
But as Fisher teaches us – about decorating and plain old living – life is too short to care. Our home is our sanctuary, a primal place, and hers was a tribute to her life which she revelled in unapologetically – as we should all do ours – with each meal she had in her home, each step she took through it, and every time she laid her head down, under dreamy cloud wallpaper, embraced by purple walls, to sleep.