Judith Godrèche’s quirky, Midcentury living room has been the stage for many creative moments and projects. Most were relaxing; one was a crucible.
The French actress spent three excruciating months producing her newly released film, “Under the Eiffel Tower,” from her cream-colored living room couch — in her PJs, barely leaving the house, “on the phone, all day long,” she said.
“I don’t have an office and I wasn’t supposed to produce it, but the movie wasn’t going to be made, so suddenly I was going to make it,” said Godrèche, 46.
Though she spent many moments crying on the couch as she balanced “domestic life, being a single mother and producing,” Godrèche said, she completed her project and now enjoys the space from a refreshing, more passive perspective.
Godrèche’s two children, Tess Barthelemy, 14, also in “Under the Eiffel Tower,” and Noé Boon, 19, a music student at Cal Arts, have transformed the space from a stressful home office into a lively, communal jam room.
“When there’s music being played in this living room, I always feel like it’s not my home anymore, but that’s what I like,” she said. “They completely take over the space and I become a visitor — that’s extremely relaxing for me.”
Four guitars rest along a white brick wall in the sunny living room. This part of the three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom West L.A. home also features a black upright piano, an African djembe drum and a ukulele from Hawaii, which her daughter plays and Godrèche “pretends to play.”
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)
“Under the Eiffel Tower” star Judith Godrèche’, left, with daughter Tess Barthelemy in their living room.
Music is a big part of the room.(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)
Photographs hung on a string.(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)
Colorful French matchboxes and sage are reminders of her Paris loft.(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)
The quirky, Midcentury living room has been the stage for many creative moments and projects.(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)
Why is this your favorite room?
Because of what happens in this room. My daughter is a dancer and an actor and my son is a jazz guitarist and invites a lot of friends to come here and play. It’s a very lively space. I’m usually sitting on the couch and either looking at my daughter who’s dancing and rehearsing or my son who’s playing piano or guitar.
What happens when you have this room all to yourself?
I usually lay on the couch with my coffee and I have four cats that jump on me and start licking me. We have a really fat cat who licks you like a dog and a small white cat who likes to bite when he loves you.
How would you describe your aesthetic style?
I love Midcentury houses, they kind of remind me of my place in Paris, which is very open — kind of a loft space. I don’t know if I could live in a house that isn’t Midcentury.
When did you relocate from Paris?
We moved to the U.S. from France spontaneously 4½ years ago — I came to shoot a movie and I sold a TV show to HBO and they said I had to stay and write it. We were here with two suitcases and ended up having to bring a lot of stuff from France, but I didn’t really bring my memories or my objects from my house. So we had to rebuild an environment that felt warm and sentimental. So step by step, this became more like home.
You have some really interesting objects and art in here.
I relate to objects because of where they came from, or who gave them to me. I have these little posters by Nan Lawson. One is inspired by “Franny and Zoey,” which is my favorite J.D. Salinger book; the other two are of the Wes Anderson films “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.”
Do you have a favorite piece?
A photo of me taken by Alex Prager. I did a short film that she directed and she’s one of my favorite photographers. She’s an extremely inspired, talented, powerful woman. Her universe is a mix of Cindy Sherman and Alfred Hitchcock — very intense and looks like it takes place in the ’60s.