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Color Me Barbra

Did you go to the wedding?

"No, I didn't," Yvette said with a smile as she led us to the climax of the tour, The Art Deco House, landscaped like tropical Florida, with a black-bottomed swimming pool and plaster flamingos. It was used primarily for entertaining, and Streisand spent five years perfecting it, going so far as to design a matching necklace. The colors of the house are more tightly synchronized than a Billy Rose aquacade. Many visitors recalled the Architectural Digest story, in which we learned that the house had "only two color ranges: black to gray, and burgundy to pale rose." For example, the exterior is gray and burgundy ceramic tile, and there were always two cars parked in the driveway, a silver Rolls and an old burgundy Dodge with a rumble seat. Furthermore, Streisand clarified her position for the interviewer: "I don't put a black vase in the gray-and-burgundy room."

The best furniture and accessories are now gone, auctioned at Christie's nine years ago, but more than enough atmosphere remains in the zigzagging frieze salvaged from the Atlantic Richfield building in downtown Los Angeles, the Cubist carpeting reproduced from a 1930's Bigelow pattern, and the many carefully re-created pieces of glamorous streamlined furniture, the sort Katie and Hubbell encountered on Beekman Place in The Way We Were.

Gorgeous. Especially those wrought-iron gates by the French master Paul Kiss.

After The Art Deco House, the group seemed sated. There were only brief stops at the Craftsman-style Tennis Pavilion and Barwood, the former offices of Streisand's production company, built around a magnificent sycamore. We crossed the creek, nearly back where we'd begun. Yvette gathered us all around her. "At this point in the tour," she said, "I like to ask everybody to close their eyes, take a few deep breaths, and really hear nature."

The only thing I heard was "Papa, Can You Hear Me?"


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