As the namesake star of Woody Allen's 1977 film, Annie Hall, Diane Keaton plays a version of herself, a restless free spirit who leaves New York—and Allen's lovelorn alter ego, Alvy Singer—to pursue a career in Los Angeles. The geographic underpinnings of the Academy Award winner's actual life are animated by a similar dynamic tension between the rival cities—and by a proclivity to wander.
Born in L.A. and raised in the suburb of Santa Ana, Keaton was fond as a young girl of joining her real estate agent father on visits to open houses. She moved to New York in the 1960s to pursue acting, then went back to L.A. in the 1980s, where she's lived since. But she spent 15 of those years flipping houses—buying a neglected home, renovating it, moving in, reselling it and starting over with a new place, as often as once a year. "I always had an interest in homes and the concept of home, but the problem is I never really land and stay. Something's wrong," she chuckles. Then, brightening, she adds, "But something's right, because I love it."
She's talking about her new house, an 8,000-square-foot earthquake-resistant, fireproof rustic-industrial structure that she designed herself, dominated by bold expanses of burnt-red brick.
In her new book, The House that Pinterest Built (Rizzoli, 2017), Keaton points to "The Three Little Pigs" as her inspiration. When she was young and her mother read her the fable, she noticed one thing about the third little pig's indestructible abode: "It was made of bricks," she writes. "I knew I was going to live in a brick house when I grew up."
And today, at 71, she does. After three and a half years of design and construction, Keaton has moved into her "dream home" in L.A.'s Sullivan Canyon, along with her daughter, Dexter, 22; son, Duke, 16; and golden retriever, Emma. With its rustic wood floors, slabs of raw concrete, 18th-century exposed brick and antique touches, the house has a distinctly New York feel.
This is not by accident. In the late 1970s, following the success of Annie Hall, Keaton lived in New York's San Remo building, a 1930s Beaux-Arts landmark. "It was one of those remarkable apartments," she recalls. "There was a window on every side. Everything was wide open. That was the beginning of my true interest in architecture."
Her boxy, light-filled house in L.A. is inspired by that time. "My favorite room in my home is that damn kitchen," she says, explaining that its angled skylights create a transfixing play of light. The space is anchored by an oversize vintage clock from Obsolete and an old analog kitchen scale. They underscore the passing of time, a design theme she has long been fascinated by: the crumbling, the abandoned, the repurposed and the reimagined.
Keaton drove the home design, with architect David Takacs and designers Stephen Shadley, Cynthia Carlson and Toben Windahl collaborating. She used Pinterest to find inspiration. "I recommend it to any kind of a person who's a tear-sheet person, which is basically what I was," she says. The digital tool helped her organize the ideation process, and the shareable "pin boards" facilitated good conversations with her team.
But homes are physical spaces, and once construction began, her crew occasionally used a protocol Shadley dubbed "the mock-up," fashioning dummies of components like the kitchen island in their proposed space. The actress found it similar to working on set, and the exercise helped her edit spatial ideas. "We made a lot of changes," she notes.
Though Keaton is a longtime wine lover, this is her first home with dedicated bottle storage. The kitchen boasts a tall Sub-Zero wine cooler and oversize vintage cabinet from Obsolete. The only wines she keeps at home are from her own label, crafted specifically for her preferred mode of wine-drinking: in a lowball glass, over ice.
Created by Keaton, Shaw-Ross Importers managing director Bruce Hunter and Napa winemaker Robert Pepi, The Keaton Red ($15), a full-bodied blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Syrah, debuted with the 2014 vintage. For The Keaton White ($15), which launched with the 2016 bottling, the team blended Verdelho, Pinot Grigio and Riesling. As with the red, the unconventional white blend is recommended over ice. Both wines use screwcap closure—a must for Keaton—with grapes from Sonoma Valley, Paso Robles, Mendocino, Lake County and Lodi.
A percentage of the proceeds go to Keep Memory Alive, a Las Vegas-based branch of the Cleveland Clinic dedicated to treating brain diseases such as Alzheimer's, the condition that took Keaton's mother's life.
Each night at dinner, in her "Three Little Pigs"-inspired brick house, Keaton enjoys exactly two glasses of her wine. "I'm habitual about my pleasures," she says.
For this iconoclastic wanderer, home is where the wine is. And don't forget the ice.