Nesting No. 5.2: Ask Ephron

It always comes back to Meg Ryan, doesn’t it? At least in my heart that’s the case. Today was my first day of a teaching artist gig I’m doing right now. We were going around the circle sharing what our favorite movies are. Cue me wistfully saying, “When Harry Met Sally.” Cue room of high-schoolers looking back at me with blank eyes. Cue me needing to rewatch ASAP and maybe host a screening for Humboldt Park high-schoolers?? Not sure how that would go over.

I’m headed to NYC in a couple of weeks, so I’m finding myself daydreaming the iconic movie scenes I know of it. Most of those involve When Harry Met Sally, for me the most classic of all the classics. The strolling in central park, the afternoon in the Met, the bookshops and greystones. That will be me so soon!

If you’re just tuning in, this post is the second in a series in which I obsessively pick apart the interior shots of favorite Nora Ephron/Meg Ryan movies because 1.) I’m crazy, and 2.) I can! (Here’s the first part). A young gal has to look to some sort of style icon! Who better than Sally, seriously? Clearly, I’m a goner. No other fictional character will ever come closer to being my spirit animal lady. Sally is in my blood and under my skin. Cue the crazy list of every piece of clothing Sally wears in the film, what am I doing?

Now, I’ll be honest and say that the nesting in this film isn’t as straightforwardly awesome as You’ve Got Mail. But it’s okay. Sally is vibrant enough on her own, and the film just doesn’t spend a ton of time at home. And Harry’s apartment is virtually empty for most of the movie. But I’ve gleaned what I could, and some important nesting lessons for newbies like me are still to be found here. Let’s dig in.


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Here we see Harry’s place, sad and empty. The important thing to note is, THIS IS A HUGE AMAZING LOFT AND HE IS WASTING IT WASTING IT WASTING IT! Sally needs to move in and nest it up asap, omg!!! Love his use of minimalism though. And floor living. Isaiah would applaud him. It makes me sad. A waste!! But not for long!


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Sally has a beautiful quilt with flowers on it! It’s perfect, it’s so Sally, I love it. And the wallpaper. And the way she situates herself in the blankets before she goes asleep, but you’ll need to check in with the actual movie to experience that loveliness. And Harry’s moaning himself to sleep so sadly, which Isaiah has replicated for me multiple times on the phone. I call this the moment in the movie when I know, absolutely know, they are in love.

Another nesting lesson: patterned sheets are fun.


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#officegoals. Her desk is PINK! PINK! And those fantastic dried flower things, and even, like, how the window is, and she’s a bit cluttered and no one is mad about it! That desk lamp! Perfectly feminine/utilitarian, obsessed. Go Sally Go!

Also shoutout to the ancient computer. Miss you.


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There are things in Harry’s wonder loft, hallelujah. Aka, good job Sally. Also, rugs are important. Not sure about the weird UFO lamp, but whatever. Harry can do Harry. At least he now owns a couch and at least one plant!! High five!

Also, the rug moment where they try it one way and then need to switch it is inexplicably one of my favorite parts of the movie. No clue why.


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Life Lesson: Houseplants make the BEST housewarming gift. Thanks, Sally. You’re so classy, and you wear that turtleneck well. Also, Harry looks good in plaid. The plant could stand to lose the sad red bow.


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HAHA, wagon wheel coffee table. I kind of like it? But the sentiment is there. When building a home together, it’s really good to both like all the furniture. Start fresh maybe? Compromise! The scrunchy face Sally makes when expressing her distaste for the coffee table is truly priceless. Another thing you’ll need to pull out your dvd to relive. Also, Marie and Jess’ house is also too good. I guess Jess makes a lot of money? What does Marie do? Crazy yuppies buying beautiful houses.


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THIS FRONT PORCH, I MEAN SERIOUSLY. A sittable bannister? Perfect. That’s all.


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More fun time at Jess and Marie’s. I absolutely LOVE the little family photo corner to the left of Carrie Fisher’s head. Really special. Family heirloom photos should be a feature of everyone’s home. Classy and special. Very into it! Go Carrie!


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The dog lamp! That’s all.


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Oh sweet weepy Sally in her sweet multi-patterned bedroom. Seriously, so many patterns. The wallpaper, the sheets, the curtains, the quilt. There is a LOT going on. Not sure that it is how I would ever put together a room, but somehow it works for Sally. She just gathered up every pattern she thought was pretty and hoped for the best! I’m into it for her. Just not for me. I’d be more one and done, I think. But the wood dresser is GREAT.


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I love Sally’s tidy kitchen! The hanging utensils above the stove, the pretty things atop the fridge, the wooden dish rack and classic white dishes, the simple stools, the blonde wood! All the right stuff! I’d adore that kitchen if I had it. It’s also a sort of perfect size. Not too big, so you can reach everything easily, and not so small as to have no counter space which is an sos situation when it arises. Go Sally!


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Our first glimpse at Sally’s silly, wonderful penguin collection! This is one of my favorite tidbits linking You’ve Got Mail and When Harry Met Sally. Kathleen’s swans and Sally’s penguins. So weird. But every gal has at some point had a ridiculous collection of curios to honor a certain animal. Don’t tell me you didn’t. For me, pigs. Dozens of them, pajamas, stuffed animals, pez dispensers, art, a pig-shaped clock. Pretty special that Sally chose to carry her penguin collection with her into adulthood. You go girl. Keep your spirit animal as a talisman.

Also, I love whatever that white lacy pillowcase thing is and her wicker headboard. Just so many good little touches.


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Another link between YGM and WHMS. Evian water! Were they a sponsor or something? Who even knows! But here is a closer look at Sally’s cute kitchen. The spice boxes all lined up above the stove! The blue vases atop the fridge! Three white magnets in a row waiting to be used. Some tiny photograph of something special!


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Ah, one of the only views of Sally’s living room. First of all, pink curtains and a well-placed print of the Matisse goldfish painting. Very very good. That gorgeous wood wardrobe! Plenty of books! Dried flowers! A wood rocking chair! Powder blue tablecloth, diagonal! Pictures on the mantle, lots of beautiful wood, a wicker chair! I just want to sit in Sally’s living room for hours and poke around, look out the windows, pull some books off the shelf, examine all her family photos. A view of this room only shows up twice and the movie and never with any sort of detail. Such a tease. A gorgeous, feminine mystery.


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Last but not least, Sally’s home office. Delightfully messy and utilitarian, with stacks and stacks of magazines and books. Love that. She’s not trying to be pinteresty here, and honestly, that’s refreshing. I feel like if this movie were remade, every corner of her apartment would be pristine and blog-worthy. But this, this is just an office, where sally does her work at home, with little ornamentation except for that fabulous flower print on whatever that thing is, and a lamp, and a used coffee mug.


I love Sally, her independence, her tenderness, her taste. Her blazing need, her quirks, her attending tap classes. Her home reflects herself, four patterns all in the same room, penguins on the shelf, stacks of things to keep up with, a special photo on the fridge, a wicker chair. All meant to be chosen by this bright spot of a film character! Wonderful.

Thanks for geeking out with me.

There will be a third part of the “Ask Ephron” nesting series, Sleepless in Seattle with it’s pink girly house and manly house that’s nearly a boat coming up in a few weeks. Keep an eye out. But for now, do yourself a favor and rewatch When Harry Met Sally. Pay close attention. It’s worth it.


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