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Thursday, 27 May 2010

USA Today: Barbra Streisand is at home with her 'Passion for Design'

By Bob Minzesheimer, USA TODAY
NEW YORK — At 68, Barbra Streisand is writing her first book — but it's no memoir.
"I'm a little too private. I'm not ready to write about my life," Streisand said Tuesday at the opening of BookExpo America, a publishing convention.

She said she tried writing a few chapters of an autobiography but quit after deciding that "this is hard. I'd rather write a book about design."

That $60 coffee table book, MyPassion for Design, will be released Nov. 16. It will feature 350 photographs of a complex of houses Streisand helped design in Malibu, Calif.

There's her "main house," where she lives; an "elegant barn," which she described as her art project; her "mill house" with 200-year-old beams; and a guest house, nicknamed "Grandma's house" by Streisand's husband, James Brolin.

It's a long way from her childhood in Brooklyn, N.Y. In a staged interview at the convention with Gayle King, editor at large of O magazine, Streisand mentioned her father, a teacher who died when she was 15 months old, and how her family couldn't afford a couch until her mother remarried when Streisand was 8.

"Maybe that's why I love couches," she said.

She linked her favorite color, burgundy, to a sweater she had as a child and described her love of "pure lipstick red."

Her passion for architecture blossomed, she said, in 1994 when a movie she was supposed to direct, an adaptation of Larry Kramer's play The Normal Heart, fell apart. "A house became my project. I made a house instead of a movie."

King asked Streisand if she kept anything in her California homes that remind her of her New York childhood.

"You mean like egg creams?" Streisand quipped.

King persisted.

"No," Streisand replied. "We lived in a $40-a-month apartment. Five people shared one bathroom. I have nothing that reminds me of that."

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