A reminder that Barbra Streisand has a mall in her basement with a doll shop & sweet shop

Basements are making a comeback, baby! Earlier, we talked about the unconquerable Patti LuPone giving small tours of her basement (she finally opened the lockers, btw.) And with all the celebrities filming from home, with mysterious stairways that lead to somewhere, basement fascination has been brought to the forefront of the media. Well, if you’re going to discuss basements, one can never leave out one of the most famous basements of the 21st century: Barbra Streisand Basement Mall at her Malibu estate. The mall was showcased in a 2010 Harper’s Bazaar photo shoot that you can see here. But once you hear Barbra Streisand built a mall in her basement, it tends to stick with you, as it did for Pajiba writer, Kate Hudson. Kate’s in the middle of moving across country so her own living space has been boxed up and shipped, leaving her a whole lot of quarantine hours to mull over the legendary singer’s space devoted to displaying her things in a shop layout:

So many questions—

Is she spending time in it during all of this? Does she derive great pleasure from it, or does she occasionally forget it’s there? Does she allow her cloned dogs down there or is it just a place for her, to get away from the world/her cloned dogs? Is that where the cloned dogs are cloned?! Why did I enjoy The Way We Were so very much when I saw it years ago, yet I’ve never revisited it. Is her mall basement safe in an earthquake?

[From Pajiba]

As a native Californian, I would answer Kates questions as follows:

1) Babs forgets nothing
2) I assume the cloned pups run free, wherever they want and it would only seem natural they get their own storefront. The question is, do the pups manage their own store?
3) I don’t know, when I finally saw The Way We Were I was shocked how much I didn’t like it (even still, Robert Redford… yum.)
4) Yes. Most things in California worth their salt are earthquake proof. The mall likely serves as an earthquake bunker in the event of The Big One.

Here’s my thing, when I first saw photos of Barbra’s basement mall, I shrugged and thought, “of course she does.” You don’t grow up in the state of the Winchester Mystery House, Hearst’s Castle, Watt’s Tower and Neverland Ranch and not learn to shrug off most California architectural add-ons. But honestly, when I heard why Barbra built a mall in her basement, it made perfect sense to me:

In the basement of the barn Barbra put in a village of shops, which were inspired by Hector Guimard and the Art Nouveau era. This is where Barbra keeps many of her antiques. “I have a lot of stuff, and instead of storing it just in a basement, why not make a street of shops that would house these things?” she says.

Among the shops is a Louis XV–esque antique clothing store. The shop showcases some of Barbra’s most opulent and ornate garments, like a black lace cape and an Irene Sharaff gown constructed with green chiffon over pink silk. Barbra wore this gown when she sang the song “People” in Funny Girl.

[From Oprah.com]

I’ll admit I am a little obsessed with basements in general. We don’t have many in California. Most homes I’ve ever known had crawl spaces or just sat directly on a slab foundation. So I get a thrill when I hear someone has a basement and have spent many years thinking about how I would use a basement if I ever had one. Barbra’s mall is brilliant. Why box everything up in some storage unit when you can display all the treasures you can’t let go? Most of my garage is Halloween and Christmas boxes, how fun would it be to “shop” everything I’ve collected over the last twenty years once I picked my theme? Honestly, I’m less of the mindset that it’s weird that Barbra has a mall in her basement and more in the camp of it’s weird that everyone else who has a basement doesn’t. As for how often Barbra uses it, I imagine everyone who comes to her home asks to see it so she’s probably down there all the time. I’ll bet she decorates it as a little Victorian street scene at Christmas, replete with phony snow and muffs you can borrow as you visit.

Maybe we can get a basement map of the stars thing going with Barbra and Patti as the anchor stops.



Photo credit: WENN/Avalon and Twitter via Pajiba

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

41 Responses to “A reminder that Barbra Streisand has a mall in her basement with a doll shop & sweet shop”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Lightpurple says:

    I’m a little creeped out by those dolls

    • Snazzy says:

      ya those dolls creep me aout too. I never did understand their appeal

    • Holly hobby says:

      She’s sort of like Hughette Clark but not a hermit. I see a lot of similarities there with her collection of dolls.

  2. Watercress says:

    Whenever I see babs i see Jennifer Aniston aged 70.

  3. Granger says:

    It’s eccentric AF is what it is. And I wish I could visit.

  4. Allergy says:

    No, it’s just creepy, as if everyone else is dead.
    And I hate those fur shoulders.

  5. josephine says:

    It’s just kinda sad and lonely-looking to me. Life is not about things. And it’s definitely not about worshipping a bunch of celebrities and people who collect a bunch of things. Kinda hoping the pandemic makes us focus on what brings true joy to our lives, what’s important, who is important.

  6. kellyRyan says:

    Self indulgence has no limit. 🙂

  7. emmy says:

    I’m always surprised they call it a mall. It’s like a giant playroom or a mini museum. What does she do in there? God, rich people can get away with things us plebs would be institutionalized for. Imagine an average woman with a room full of dolls. I know people collect them but oy.

    • Granger says:

      You’re totally right — I’ve seen programs on TV where average people show/talk about their collections, and of course, they just come across as weird at best, hoarders at worst. Particularly when it’s a big collection of dolls or something slightly creepy. And because the collections aren’t housed in such “fancy” surroundings as Streisand’s — they’re usually piled on make-shift shelves in an ugly 1970s basement or even a garage.

    • Giddy says:

      Demi Moore has a Victorian mansion that she bought to house her 2,000 dolls. Supposedly she also lets guests stay there. I could never sleep in a place with all those little eyes.

  8. lucy2 says:

    It’s bananas and indulgent, but at the same time, if she’s collected a lot of stuff, at least that way it’s displayed for her and visitors to see, and not just dumped in a storage unit. But setting it up like an empty mall is weird.

    I was so happy to have a basement when I bought this house, but a few years in it’s still a disorganized mess. It’s a very old house that was added onto several times, so the basement has several “rooms”, maybe I should do it up like Babs!

  9. Valiantly Varnished says:

    She did a whole tour of her mall on Oprah years ago.

  10. FHMom says:

    It’s her money and kind of a cool way to display things. My mall would consist of school supplies store (because I have hoarded them over the years), baby clothes store (because I can’t let go), toy store (because my kids can’t let go),and lip balm store (because lip balm).

    • JanetDR says:

      Clothes I love but can’t fit in to but might, seasonal clothing, make up still in the box but I haven’t finished my open one yet, my children’s books that I am saving for my grandkids supposing I get some, family relics – so many photo portraits and books (some times it’s the inscriptions that makes them precious). I definitely need one too!

    • Golly Gee says:

      Mine would be a stationary store, with a pen aisle, a glue aisle and a paper aisle. Also a box and container store. I love boxes– decorative ones, tins, and plain old cardboard ones. I just might need a box with those dimensions down the road, so better not get rid of it. Yikes.

    • Holly hobby says:

      Craft store for me for sure.

  11. damejudi says:

    Genuine question here-what is it in the anti-aging procedures that make facial features appear cat-like/leonine? I really am curious. BS looks very lion-like in recent years as do so many others. Is it fillers? Is it the non-traditional rhinoplasty technique?

    Not trying to thread jack. Just asking.

    • Flamingo says:

      After several facelifts, your face starts to contort in strange ways. I don’t think Babs ever had a nose job, so I’d guess hers is a combo of fillers and lifts. If you ever visit Palm Beach, you’ll find this look is super popular.

  12. Lisa says:

    Nice way to display the stuff she has collected over the years.

  13. chicken tetrazzini! says:

    It’s like a mini House on the Rock- amazing for children, creepy and dystopian for adults

  14. Esmom says:

    I find it creepy but I love this post, I laughed all the way through it. So thanks.

    I have a basement story that had me excited last week. We just bought a 100-year-old place (great timing, I know) and we were clearing out all the sh^t the previous owner left in the basement and we found an ancient, locked safe! There seems to be no way to open it but it’s fun to wonder just what might be in it.

    Here in Chicago the big trend is to make basements just an extension of the rest of your house with TV rooms, wet bars, guest bedrooms, exercise rooms, etc. Bab’s basement is at least not generic like that.

    • lucy2 says:

      That’s cool! I hope you’re able to open it someday.
      My house is about 130 years, and the previous owner left a lot of stuff too. Most workshop stuff and all the various paints in the house.

  15. KPS says:

    I don’t know what creeps me out more:
    Dolls in basements – ding, ding, ding!
    Oh yeah and clowns – clowns on their own, in basements. Anywhere!

  16. Kathryn says:

    That’s bat shit crazy. But what I really want to know is how can an almost 80 year old woman walk in those heels?

  17. Rose says:

    I used to have such joy in collecting American Girl dolls but even when I was an actual child absolutely EVERYONE had to tell me how creepy it was and I should be ashamed. Once you’re an adult it’s even more fun, then people not so vaguely imply that you have some sort of psychological problem you should really look at. Ive had more people quote me the bible verse about putting away childish things and being an adult than I care to count. I’ve noticed this never happens with stereotypical “boy” toys or gender neutral like LEGO; just clearly marketed towards girls toys like dolls, especially if they are expensive. My partner is terrified of dolls so my 30 year collection is boxed up and in a storage area, probably to never be pulled out again, and I gradually started to get interested in other things that are more accepted for middle aged women (jewelry, gardening).

    As long as no one is being hurt and laws aren’t being broken everyone should feel proud and enjoy their hobbies without being shamed. Maybe instead of telling them how creepy their house is ask them to tell you about their collection. Lots of stories to be told, and none of them involve Chucky.

    • Holly hobby says:

      Seems a lot of celebs like collecting dolls. Demi Moore, Marie Osmond and Babs. I know one of them straight out said it was a passion stemming from when they were little. These women grew up poor. They wanted something they couldn’t have because of their families modest backgrounds. So once when they came into money that’s what they’re going to buy now.

    • schmootc says:

      I believe my Mom has all the American Girl ‘character’ dolls. She’s also bought all their doodads and furniture. It fills about half a room and that’s where I sleep when I visit. And of course I’m an anti-doll person. (I have a dollhouse, but just furnishings, no actual dolls in it. I think they look fake in the house.) She likes them though, so whatever floats your boat, is how I think of it.

  18. adastraperaspera says:

    I am not a doll person, but I am a Barbra person. She’s a national treasure.

  19. Holly hobby says:

    I picked up a heavily discounted book about her house from Papyrus. It’s called my passion for design. I have seen a lot of pictures of her basement mall. It’s great! Her whole house were copies of other famous homes. There’s a Greene & Greene room and a Carolands Room. If you like architecture and home decor you will know what I’m talking about.

    If you can find a copy of that book. Definitely get it.

  20. Dani says:

    An eccentric rich white lady who is a talented singer and actress. Who is also totally bonkers. I will forever love her in Yentl, though. A relative of mine had her as a client many years ago and told me she was one of craziest, most neurotic, most emotionally draining clients she has ever had. Bless her heart.

  21. Ann says:

    Streisand! Legend!

  22. Jaded says:

    James Brolin must have the patience of a saint…that’s all I got.

  23. L says:

    The things I would do if I had enough money to say, “why not make a street of shops instead of a basement to store my antiques?”

  24. Mina_Esq says:

    It’s seriously cool! My basement is fairly organized. I box and label everything for practical reasons (dust). If I had a housekeeper dedicated to keeping my basement spotless, I would probably opt to keep Xmas decorations on display year-round. I’d probably go down there to drink egg nog with Baileys while listening to All I Want for Xmas in the middle of a gross humid Great Lakes July. Basements are comfortably cool in the summer.

  25. TheMummy says:

    I think this is creepy and sad AF. So weird. But not in a delightfully eccentric way. Just weird in an unsettling WTF way. Just my opinion.