Portraits by Other Means

Our Domiciles, Ourselves

Our Domiciles, Ourselves
Credit: “Inside a Mobile Home, Lakewood, Colorado,” Robert Adams, 1973-74

Home is where the heart is. Or Lena Horne’s forks.

Pope Benedict XVI

Until 2005, under John Paul II, the papal apartment was run by Polish nuns. The memores aren’t nuns, do not wear religious garments, are laypeople and live in the world. But this isn’t the first time that lay housekeepers are allowed inside the papal apartment. In 1922, upon his election, Pope Pius XI demanded that his housekeeper follow him inside the Vatican. When he was told this might seem inappropriate and had no precedent, Pius cut it short: “I’ll be the first one then,” he was said to have responded.

Lindsay Buckingham

As part of Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey Buckingham wrote some of rock ’n’ roll’s most eternally beloved songs, and the bedroom in his Los Angeles home is packed with artifacts that have influenced his creative path over the years.… Among the treasures: a Martin D-18 acoustic guitar he bought at age 19 (“It’s gotten better and mellower with age...a bit like me”), a boogie board (“The sensibility of water is something I hope would enter my music”), and vinyl 45s by Elvis and Chuck Berry that sparked his interest in rock ’n’ roll.

E. Annie Proulx

Proulx’s house is newly built: its roof is lined with solar panels and a well-stocked greenhouse sits to one side.... Past the kitchen, a dining-room table and sitting area give way to a large room with a writing desk and hundreds of books arranged on metal shelves. Proulx takes great pride in her library, and the books are separated by category, providing a quick summary of Proulx’s particular interests: water, fire, fur trade, maritime, river travel, gates, textiles, rodeo, livestock, death, outdoors, Indian wars. A section devoted to her own work is labeled oeuvre.

Andre Leon Talley

Now I live in Worthington, in a house built in the late 1800s, with four white columns and a circular porch painted a pale pearl gray that I imagined Pauline de Rothschild might have used.... Although I’ve collected wonderful china, acquired sterling silver knives and forks from Lena Horne’s estate sale at Doyle this year, and I shop without ceasing actually, I do not entertain in my home. Cupboards are jammed with beautiful porcelain and plates from Paris, napkins, linens, tablecloths, crystal, and I have yet to give my first dinner or luncheon party.

Sarah Winchester

After the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, Sarah was trapped in her bedroom for a short time of seven hours. However, when she got out, she told the construction crews to stop working on the nearly completed front part of the house and had her carpenters board it up, leaving most of the extensive earthquake damage unrepaired.... Due to constant construction and the lack of a master plan, the house became very large and quite complex; many of the serving staff needed a map to navigate the house. The house also features doors that open into walls, staircases that lead nowhere, the recurring number 13, and windows that look into other walls.


TMN Editor Leah Finnegan is from Illinois by way of Texas. She splits her time between New York City and her website. More by Leah Finnegan

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