Monday, November 30, 2009

The Blind Side (2009)

The Blind Side (2009)
John Lee Hancock, Director
Michael Corenblith, Production Designer
Susan Benjamin, Set Decorator

I saw the new movie, The Blind Side this weekend and loved it! It's based on the current, real life account of NFL player Michael Oher's rags to riches story. He was bouncing around the Memphis, Tennessee project of Hurt Village, his mother a crack addict with twelve children and no one to really look out for him.  A big guy with athletic ability, he'd never spent much time in school and as a result, tested poorly and wasn't thought to be too bright, especially as he was shy and uncommunicative.  He got a lucky break when a friend was accepted into a local elite private Christian academy and when he went a long for the ride, the athletic director immediately saw his potential while he was playing a quick game of one on one with his friend on the school's basketball court. The coach convinced the school board to take Michael in and thus began an odyssey that lead him to the Tuohy family's door. This affluent family had two kids enrolled in the school.  Eventually, when realizing he was basically homeless, coatless, and foundering in school, Leigh Anne Tuohy invited him to spend the night. Eventually, with the help of a private tutor and a families love and encouragement, Michael flourished, ending his high school career with a decent enough GPA to play college ball, a bucket full of offers from the country's most elite football schools, an a new adoptive family who made it official just before his eighteenth birthday. In college, he made dean's list twice and was a first round draft pick to the NFL, where he currently is still only twenty three years old and plays for the Baltimore Raven's.

On the set decorating front, this movie is a good one as well. Leigh Anne Tuohy (played by Sandra Bullock) is professional interior decorator. Her husband, Scott Tuohy, well played by singer Tim McGraw,  had been dirt poor growing up and is now owner of over 80 fast food franchises in the South. Their affluence is highlighted in the movie both to illustrate the enormous difference between the haves and have-nots,  as well as to illustrate Leigh Anne's decorating skill and Sean's new money affluence. In some ways, the set looked very "new" and a little too squeaky clean - almost as if that was part of the goal - to illustrate the new money status of the family. And that is not to imply any kind of criticism, just a feeling while looking at the movie.

According to the production notes, the house used as the Tuohy's Memphis home was really in the affluent Buckhead section of Atlanta. Set decorator Susan Benjamin visited the family and studied Leigh Anne's decorating in order to capture it on film. I read in an interview with Leigh Anne that when asked what she thought of the movie, she said she'd have to see it again, as she spent the first viewing paying attention only to how they portrayed her home. And, that she didn't like the window treatments!  I actually love the window treatments in the set - better than much of the furniture!

The first night that Michael stays at the Tuoy's, he's put in the formal living room because the spare bedroom is "filled with samples" (typical decorator) and the sectional in the family "falls apart when someone sleeps on it".  Note the depth of the doorways - the millwork in this house is spectacular!

The Tuohy family Christmas card photoshoot - which eventually included Michael. I'm struck and a little disappointed by the relatively cheap looking mantle - snowmen and Santa's with fake greenery - eh... I would have liked to see something more imaginative in the home of a professional decorator, or from the work of a professional set decorator!

Younger son SJ (Sean Tuohy, Jr.) is a little firecracker and really bonds with his new BIG brother Michael. I did love the color palette in this movie with it's rich tones of apricots and orange, golds and browns. The architectural detailing in this home is wonderful and was a real standout in the film.

Here is the kitchen looking into the family room - with the two television sets.  In the Thanksgiving scene in the movie, Leigh Anne is putting out a big spread for the family and Sean reminds the kids to thank "Mom for picking all the food up at the store". It makes sense that the kitchen isn't much of a "cook's kitchen". Pretty to look at, but not overly functional.

On the other side of the island. Not much in the way of counter space!

This is in the family room, on the left when looking in from the kitchen. I just loved all the fabrics and detailing on the window treatments, which included drapes, silk London shades and striped sheer London shades which varied position in different scenes. 

This is the breakfast room off the kitchen and family room, which uses the same warm wall color and drapery fabric as is in the family room.  Note the Glennray Tutor print on the left. Tutor is a photorealist painter who attended University of Mississippi - alma mater of the Tuoy's and Michael Oher.  The black and bone inlay cabinet under the print is an ethnic and graphic piece that adds a layer of interest to the nearly homogeneous space.

Here's the formal dining room below.  The family starts their take-out Thanksgiving dinner all sitting in front of the televisions watching football, but when Leigh Anne notices that Michael has seated himself at the table to eat, she's inspired to the same and makes the family turn off the games and join together in thanks.

And another view of the dining room - where SJ is using condiments to show Michael various football plays.

The master bedroom featured a framed upholstered headboard (although it looks like wall behind them, there was a tall headboard) with windows flanking the bed. I love the large scale floral pattern on the window treatments with the continuation of the coppery orange and brown color scheme. In here, there is also a touch of blue in the bedding.

The table lamps are gorgeous and if anyone knows their source, please let us know! I was thinking Christopher Spitzmiller, but nothing like this appears on his site.

And speaking of blue, here is the newly done up bedroom for Michael. Leigh Anne is advised (by her younger son) that the pro-athletes use futon mattresses to accommodate their length, but she used a more attractive headboard and platform bed with the futon mattress, because the futon frames were "ugly and didn't belong in her home" (or something to that effect) - a truly decorator type comment.  Meanwhile, Michael pointed out that this was his first bed. One of the reminders to Leigh Anne just how privileged she was to be able to be concerned with aesthetics. The deep turquoise walls with white trim and dark stained furniture was bold and strong, yet also vibrant and lively.

 If anyone has ever seen this makeup mirror, there's a request in the comments section from someone looking for it. Thanks!

For the moment, these are all the best photos I'm able to glean from various sources. There were brief scenes in the two other kids bedrooms - the younger boys room was messy and the teenage girls room was girly and also a bit overstuffed and messy - probably the most realistic lived-in looking rooms in the home.

Have you seen this movie and what did you think?


Material Girls- Emily said...

Thanks for posting those! Saw the movie over Thanksgiving and really liked it (originally thought it was going to be all about football! which I'm not a big fan of) and was pleasantly surprised that it ended up having such a great story line and a good message to boot! (AND of course it was fun to see another decorator's was a little too traditional for my taste, but beautiful to look at nonetheless- loved the rich colors!) said...

I did see this movie this past weekend, loved the movie and its message. The decorating however, is another story...

Very "New Money", Cribs, Real Housewives of Such and Such, Soap Opera decorating...because they are all equally atrocious aren't they? Exactly what one thinks of when they think of Texas/Arizona/California/Florida developer home design...not Joni's Texas or my Florida;)

I was excited to hear she was a designer, less so once they revealed the house...with those terribly scaled dining chairs...ugh. However, I did notice the reproduction Syrian chest as well!

Thanks for the post...and no disrespect to the set designer (actually jealous of her amazing job) as the home suited the characters it was meant to money conservatives.

All the best,

beachbungalow8 said...

I thought the movie was a simple, commercial, entertaining flick.

The house to me was like an interior version of Sandra Bullock's character's wardrobe.

I loved the color scheme in the living room and the wallcovering {which I assume is Phillip Jeffries} It's funny, I wasn't blown away by the interior design {I don't like super fussy window treatments- 'new money cribs' exactly} but I too noticed that great in-lay chest of drawers and those dining chairs, which I think were used in a room on Joni's post. They were a bit much in that space, but on there own, interesting.

The story was so sweet. Who wouldn't be inspired; however, a bit over produced for my taste.
No matter it was an impressive undertaking by the set designers.

Visual Vamp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Visual Vamp said...

I love when you do these Silver Screen posts.
xo xo

Platform Beds said...

I saw this movie too and loved it! Seriously. So inspiring. I love how humble "Big" Mike was and seeing when his personality really came out. I also liked when he told his new mom that he didn't like being called Big Mike. There is so much depth to the way he was thinking and what he was feeling when he said that. I think people just say those things without even thinking about it and how it affects the person the are talking to or about.

I liked how you dissected the rooms. I had never really seen the carpet in Mike's room before. Was it red? Weird. But I really do like the grayish blue and white trim. And the platform bed was stylish as well.

Renae said...

I saw this movie and honestly did not get into too much of the decor. I did tell my son that the sofa she told Michael was $10,000 when she asked him if he wanted his own room, is indeed that much as I have seen one exactly like it at the ADAC (Atlanta Decorative Arts Center).

La Petite Gallery said...

Happy New Year!!

La Petite Gallery said...

Must get to see a few movies this week. Hope you had a great holiday.


Anonymous said...

I loved this movie...and I didn't pay too much attention to the decorating, but one thing that stood out to me (and I'm hoping someone, somewhere can help me find it)..the pedestal makeup mirror in the bathroom. It was beautiful and since I saw the movie weeks ago, I've been scouring websites trying to find it!!

Anonymous said...

Love the color of the master bathroom! What is that beautiful color?

Anonymous said...

I have purchased two of the dining room chairs used in the movie and would like to purchase more. Does anyone know who the manufacturer is?

Linda Merrill said...

Hi Anon regarding the chairs - doesn't it say on the chair somewhere, perhaps underneath? Where did you purchase them? I don't know the manufacturer, but would love to, so please let us know if you find out. Thanks!

pamelak said...

I love traditional decor and so the home furnishings, for me, were absolutely beautiful. I would also like to know the manufacturer of the cream colored dining room chairs as they would match my cabinets!
Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I really like the chandelier in her foyer, and am looking for something similar, but have not been able to find one like it.

pamelak said...

I am wondering if anyone reads our posts who can actually help us find these treasures??

Linda Merrill said...

Dear Pamela K - I'm sorry that you are disappointed that your queries about resources have gone unanswered. Clearly my disclaimer on the left hand sidebar was not clear enough. It reads: "
Please note that I post all images and resources that I have come across for each movie. If I have not listed it, it means I don't know it. You are welcome to post a comment if you are looking for a specific product or resource that I haven't mentioned. Perhaps someone will know the answer and that will help all of us!"

By this, I really do mean that I post all the information I know about these movies. If I hear of something in my travels, I do post it. I can promise, information is not being withheld.

As far as finding someone who can "help you find these treasures" I suggest you hire a local decorator and they will certainly be more responsive to your needs.

threebearsscrapbook said...

I liked the green/sage colored paint in a few of the rooms; anyone know what color that is?

JenS said...

I liked the green/sage colored paint in a few of the rooms; anyone know what color that is?

chair up said...

I almost died when I saw the formal dining chairs as they are very similar to my own set that I have just finished reupholstering (white painted timber, mid-grey vinyl (can't afford leather), and shiny chrome nailhead trim). I plan to do my next post about them and was wondering if you would mind me using the photos off your blog (with a link of course).

Linda Merrill said...

Angex - that's fine. Let us know when your post is up, I'm sure other would like to see your chairs!

pamelak said...

Hi Linda-Sorry I did not see the disclaimer. I live in a very small town without access to a local decorator so I am just hoping someone can find the manufacturer of those dining chairs for me. I have Googled myself to death trying to find them. Thank you for your answer.

Anonymous said...

Pamela--I too have googled myself to death trying to find these dining room chairs and I cannot find them. BUT, I did contact the set designer and found out that these chairs are not available. In my searches I have found some close is a chair by Ethan Allen:

maison by ethan allen oval back armchair
item# 376200A
starting at US$399 special starting at $359

and the other is a chair by Lexinton:
Lexington Long Cove Glen Arbor Arm Chair with Cream Fabric in Shell White Finish (Set of 2)

neither are exact but they give a similar feel to the ones in the movie. I haven't committed to a chair yet, still looking. I am even entertaining a wood grain finish chair that I can simply paint.

Please post if you find something closer as I am very interested as well here in Texas.


Dee Ann said...

What about the sectional couch....I Love It...any idea where is it from??

Pamela Joan said...

THank you for your input. I will check in to those chairs you mentioned. I so appreciate your time.

Anonymous said...

what is that ornge brown color in the breakfast area? i love it

Pamela Joan said...

Ok ladies! I believe I found the dining room chairs HOWEVER only the counter stools are now available. I believe the collection is Sun Valley Cream from Hilldale. I emailed the company to see if they offered the bar stool style in a dining set and they answered that it had been discontinued. So now I can quit dreaming about how awesome that set would look ajacent to my kitchen! Darn! But just wanted to let you all know.If you find it somewhere else please post. Good luck!

Linda Merrill said...

Hi Pam - those bar stools are close, but I'm pretty sure they aren't the same. The dining chairs have turned front legs and a medallion in the middle of the seat back that the bar stools don't have. So, maybe hope is still alive? Although an anon in the comments said that the set decorator told them that they were not available...

Pamela Joan said...

Thank you Linda. Well, maybe there will be a new manufacturing of a similar set-let's hope.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what kind of wall treatment was done in the living room? Is that a silk wallpaper?

Anonymous said...

The Master Bedroom Table Lamps are from Currey & Company.

Linda Merrill said...

Hi Anon - thanks for the tip about the lamps. They are sure very, very similar to the Currey & Co. Dolce lamp, but the base looks different. But certainly, anyone who wants the look would be happy with the Currey lamp:

Marcia said...

Hi everyone, I too was very interested in the sectional used in the family room off of the kitchen. Any idea who the manufacturer of that piece was? Would love to hear if anyone knows.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what the oil painting was over the living room fireplace? Also interested in the frame. Love It!

Anonymous said...

I loved the chair with the half moon ottoman that Sandra sat on in the sitting room after Michael told her that he never had a bed before. Any ideas where a similar or same one would be available?

Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone:

I have been on the hunt for the home that was used in the exterior shots of this movie. I know the interior was a private residence in the Buckhead area of Atlanta. Does anyone know where the exterior was shot?


Anonymous said...

I saw the movie again yesterday on HBO, I am trying to find out what color is the Master Bathroom. LOVE the color

Lori in Little Rock said...

Ladies, I have a dining set for sale almost identical to the one in the movie. Table (with leaf), six chairs (2 with arms) and a gorgeous matching china hutch. I wish I could post pictures, but they are currently listed and pictured on craigslist in Fort Smith, Arkansas.