Maureen McCormick spent her teen years playing Marcia on "The Brady Bunch," a show that portrayed an idealized version of the suburban dream. Today, at 52, McCormick lives the real-life version of that idyll.
Home is in Westlake Village, a Los Angeles suburb she recently described by reaching back into TV's past. "It's like 'Leave It to Beaver,'" she said, talking by phone from the Cape Cod-style house she shares with husband Michael and 19-year-old daughter Natalie."Everyone knows everyone, everyone helps everyone," she said of the neighborhood. "I've been here for 20 years, and I'm never leaving. It's the best. It's like Andy and Mayberry." A golden retriever named Violet completes the picture.
The four-bedroom, three-bathroom house is decorated with an eye toward "English cottage and country French," she said, "with tons of antiques." McCormick has a thing for antiques -- she used the word "hoarding" -- but claims she is a reluctant pack rat. "I need to stop. It's awful." The garage, filled to the gills, leaves no room for cars.
"I actually go into it in quite a bit of detail in the book," she said of her memoir, "Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice." (McCormick will sign copies at Borders on Michigan Avenue on Oct. 16.)
Several antiques in the house are tied to memories of her mother, who passed away in 2004. "My most precious things are the ones we bought together or found at a garage sale or picked out together."
Most luxurious feature in your home: This probably sounds crazy, but we just had built-ins put in all over the house, so I would say that. Oh my gosh, the house was totally lacking storage space. We had this guy named Jesse Brough, who is the best builder in the world, and he redid my whole house and did it the way I wanted, with wainscoting and moldings and beadboard. It's so funny because I was the first one that discovered him, and now the whole neighborhood is using him. The guy's booked for years.
One thing on a wall in your living room: I have this big old regulator clock that's an antique that I really love. My mom and I got it from her best friend. I just think of them every time I look at it. My house is full of these little story moments. It's like I have to have all these stories around me.
Most high-tech gadget or appliance in your home: The computer, but I never use it. I've never used a computer in my life. I wrote my book by hand. Is that sick? I swear to you, by hand. I don't use a computer, I don't know how to e-mail, I can barely fax.
What item in your home most reflects your personality? One thing that's really special is a quilt my mom gave to me that was made by my great-great-grandmother. The pattern is called Grandmother's Flower Garden, and it's pink and blue and yellow and orange and purple. It's really pretty. When you walk in my house, it's on the railing of the stairs, so you really see it.
Three things we'd find under your kitchen sink: A fly swatter. Lots of sponges. Lots of cleaning supplies. Is "green living" important to you? Well, I drive a Prius and we recycle.
What kind of exercise equipment would we find in your home? A treadmill in the garage. [Question: Does it get used?] Yes! It actually really does.
If we opened up your oven, what would we find? A dirty baking sheet.
What do you see when you look out your bedroom window? Lots of birch trees.
How is your home similar or different from your childhood home? Well, it's bigger, the one I have now. I think it's probably the kind of house my mom always dreamed of having. We found it together -- so I just feel like my mom is here in spirit.
What reading material would we find in your bathroom? I have all these little poems that are antique. They're about friendship, and they're framed on the wall.
Color of your bedroom walls: Our bedroom is pink and white. Michael's such a man that he can go along with that. I mean, that's a real man! Over the years, I think he's gotten to the point where he just shuts up and lets me do what I want to do.
Most recent thing you've bought for your home: My kitchen and family room are blue and white, so I bought this little blue-and-white Dutch boy and Dutch girl that are candlesticks. Yes, they're antiques.
Biggest surprise we'd find in your closet: My Manolo Blahniks -- they're black and they're satin and they're really, really high. I'm usually a flip-flop girl, but when I go out and I feel best, I've got a really high pair of heels on. I want to be taller. I'm 5 foot 3 inches, so with these shoes I'm 5 foot 7.
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