Julia Child’s “Little House in Cambridge”

by hookedonhouses on August 5, 2009

julia-child-with-rolling-pins

With the movie Julie & Julia set to open this week, it got me wondering about Julia Child’s home, which she referred to in her memoir, My Life in France, as “My little house in Cambridge.” Here’s what her house looks like today (via Centers & Squares):

julia-childs-house-today-103-irving

Architectural Digest published photos of Julia’s home in 1979. Here’s what it looked like then:

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Did you know her house is across the street from the poet e.e. cummings’ birthplace? Well, it is! And as a former English major, I feel compelled to tell you things like that.

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julia-childs-dining-room-ad

julia-childs-living-room

Here’s her famous kitchen, where so many of her cooking shows were taped over the years, and which she called “the most loved and most used room in the house.”

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julia-childs-kitchen-ad

According to the blog Centers & Squares:

The Childs’ home was like many wonderful old houses we see in Cambridge – little changed in decades.  And like so many others it was purchased by a developer and transformed.

A sleek and stylish kitchen was designed, six new bathrooms installed, central air conditioning, central vac – all the bells and whistles that are popular with buyers today in the price range.

The newly renovated house was sold in 2004 for $3,755,000.  It has since changed hands again for $3,700,000.

Here’s what the kitchen looked like when Julia lived there, and then after it was renovated (via Boston.com). It’s hard to believe it’s the same space!

her-kitchen-then-and-now

I saw the trailer for the movie “Julie & Julia,” and it looks like a lot of fun. It tells the true story of Julie Powell (Amy Adams), whose blog makes her so famous, she gets a book deal, and then they turn her story into a movie.  (Sounds good to me!)

julie_and_julia_poster

Country Living has a fun article about how Child’s kitchen was recreated for the film “Julie & Julia.” Here’s what it looks like in the movie:

kitchen-recreated-for-julie-and-julia

After retiring, Julia sold her Cambridge house and moved to California. The kitchen was donated to the Smithsonian museum, which I think is just so cool (below). You can see it and read more about her amazing life here. (Photo via Mae’s Food Blog.)

julia-childs-kitchen-in-smithsonian

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Slowish Food August 5, 2009 at 8:44 am

Oh, thank you for this post, Julia! I loved the book “Julie & Julia,” and loved “My Life in France.” How fun to get a peek inside her whole house — which appears to be about three times the size of mine. :)

Kristin August 5, 2009 at 8:56 am

Can’t wait to see the movie. I highly recommend visiting the Smithsonian American History Museum if you’re in DC. Julia’s kitchen is really interesting. The gadgets that hang everywhere are almost overwelming. It is truly of kitchen of function. FYI American History is one of the best and it is free.

songbirdtiff August 5, 2009 at 9:11 am

I’m also looking forward to the movie. I’m hoping it inspires a desire to cook. :) Thank you for giving us a little more background about an interesting lady.
.-= songbirdtiff´s last blog ..How to Make Peg Board Hooks (for free!) =-.

frippery August 5, 2009 at 9:50 am

I have been wanting to see this movie, it looks like fun. Thanks for sharing her home. I love seeing all these wonderful places.
.-= frippery´s last blog ..Falling Into Place =-.

Erica Cottrill August 5, 2009 at 10:16 am

Love this story and great to peek into Julia’s home. Look forward to the movie…

Struggler August 5, 2009 at 10:23 am

I can’t believe how many pans she had hanging on the wall! I reckon I’ll be adding the movie to my Netflix queue too.
And, happy to go check out My Sparrow. :)
.-= Struggler´s last blog ..Return of the Prodigal Purple =-.

Tracy August 5, 2009 at 10:25 am

Julia’s kitchen was so warm and homey and welcoming. And if was good enough for a cook the caliber of Julia Child, it would certainly be good enough for me (who can’t even properly bake a cake!). The remodeled version is so sad and cold in comparison.
.-= Tracy´s last blog ..Glad Summer Sunsets =-.

Morning T August 5, 2009 at 10:42 am

Great post- that little house in Cambridge is so charming- I love it!
.-= Morning T´s last blog ..The streets of Southampton =-.

Fifi Flowers August 5, 2009 at 10:42 am

You ALWAYS bring us FAB posts… love these set designs and real life photos!
.-= Fifi Flowers´s last blog ..Wildlife on the Course… =-.

Debbie August 5, 2009 at 10:44 am

What a great post! I can’t wait to see this movie. The kitchen looks great in that it is really used and not just a showcase…love it.
Have a great day!
Debbie
.-= Debbie´s last blog ..Outdoor Wednesday =-.

Jocelyn Stott August 5, 2009 at 10:47 am

That kitchen looks so cozy and I love that it was filmed in her actual house, quite unlike the elaborate sets you see on today’s cooking shows. I cannot wait to see this film!
.-= Jocelyn Stott´s last blog ..Countdown to Happiness =-.

youhavebeenheresometime August 5, 2009 at 10:53 am

im loving the kitchen and all of the books everywhere. such an amazing blog here.. i love passing the morning here,..

all the best!
david john
.-= youhavebeenheresometime´s last blog .. =-.

Pamela August 5, 2009 at 11:06 am

Ah gee, I know I would prefer the house the way Julia had it! Six bathrooms? Honestly.
I’ve always loved the fact that, despite her prodigious talent, she was really a home cook…which her kitchen illustrates perfectly. I cannot wait for the movie!!
.-= Pamela´s last blog .. =-.

Tamara August 5, 2009 at 11:19 am

I didn’t realize she filmed her show in her very own kitchen. That’s just so cool!
.-= Tamara´s last blog ..Scarecrow DIY =-.

rue August 5, 2009 at 11:28 am

I saw Julia Child once when I was eating lunch on the patio at the Four Season’s hotel in Santa Barbara and she was one table away. About a year later she died. It was so surreal because I had watched her cooking show as a kid. Normally famous people don’t do a thing for me, but she was a true star. Amazing how her house stands the test of time.

Anyway, I can’t wait to see this movie.

rue
.-= rue´s last blog ..Going to Mayberry Jr.’s fair…. =-.

The Blushing Hostess August 5, 2009 at 11:58 am

Love it, I walked by it on our way to dinner some evenings when I lived there. A wonderful tribute to a singular grand icon.
.-= The Blushing Hostess´s last blog ..Etiquette Challenge Question: Counting and Recounting =-.

the little big house August 5, 2009 at 12:45 pm

I loved this post – I have seen quite a few recently on the net (i cant wait to see the movie) but yours is by far the most in depth – cheers!

Mrs. B August 5, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Love Julia Child and can’t wait to see the movie. Thanks so much for sharing these pictures. Shocked at the kitchen remodel! Can’t imagine that anyone who owned JULIA CHILD’S actual kitchen would gut it! The original was so charming, practical and historically significant and the new version so unwelcoming and stark and not at all in keeping with the architectural style or period of the home. I’m sure the current owners love it, but it’s sad to me.
.-= Mrs. B´s last blog ..Our Anniversary! =-.

kasey at thirftylittleblog August 5, 2009 at 1:46 pm

I’m excited to see the movie! They did a great job remaking that kitchen.
.-= kasey at thirftylittleblog´s last blog ..Thrifty Little Tip… Time-Expensive Gifting =-.

SoBella Creations August 5, 2009 at 1:53 pm

I can’t imagine not keeping a little of the original kitchen esp knowing that Julia Child cooked in it. But, that is just me.
.-= SoBella Creations´s last blog ..Another Great Giveaway ~ Bohtieque Designs =-.

Janice August 5, 2009 at 2:02 pm

I am new to blogging and I can tell that I am going to love reading your post.
We both have coastal passions. Please stop by and visit. I would love to share my home with you. I live on the sweetest street with 1920 bungalows. I will be sharing that soon.
Hope we become friend.
Janice
.-= Janice´s last blog ..My First Post on White Wednesday =-.

home before dark August 5, 2009 at 2:11 pm

I so agree with Mrs. B’s comments, every single word of it! We were in Cambridge last year and I forgot to do a walk by of the Julia Child home. Thank you for taking me there.

Amanda @ Serenity Now August 5, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Oh, wow to everything! I actually think I prefer Julia’s kitchen to the updated one (with maybe a few changes). I’ve seen the previews for Julie&Julia several times, and I think it looks great…except for Amy Adams’ hair…it’s bothering me. :s
.-= Amanda @ Serenity Now´s last blog ..8 is Great =-.

Jessica @ Lavender and Lilies August 5, 2009 at 4:16 pm

I love this post. I did a post on Julia Child’s kitchen not too long ago and it was so much fun. Thanks for the post.
.-= Jessica @ Lavender and Lilies´s last blog ..Decluttering & Ebay =-.

C.D. August 5, 2009 at 6:41 pm

I love this post too. We were considering doing a post on her home in light of the new movie, but this is better than anything we would have done.
.-= C.D.´s last blog ..Federal F*CK-UP: Part I =-.

The Consummate Hostess August 5, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Excellent and fascinating post! I think that it was better when Julia lived there!
.-= The Consummate Hostess´s last blog ..Hotel Spotlight- The Windsor Court Hotel =-.

Gayle at Mountain Moma August 5, 2009 at 8:57 pm

I can’t wait to see the movie! I actually like the original kitchen better. It looks like a place to sit down and visit and have a cup of tea. The remodeled one looks like a good place to do surgery.
.-= Gayle at Mountain Moma´s last blog ..Crystal and Linens =-.

Sue August 5, 2009 at 9:00 pm

I always loved Julia’s hoe…so warm and friendly and welcoming. I liked it far better before someone else changed it but then I usually do! *laugh*
LOVED the book and cannot wait to see the movie this weekend. Thank you for another wonderful post Julia!
Love,
Sue
.-= Sue´s last blog ..Restaurant Week =-.

The Summer Kitchen Girls August 5, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Hey Julia – great post – I’ve been reading the book – just darling – we can’t wait to make a mom & daughters date to go see the movie too!
Enjoy your week!
.-= The Summer Kitchen Girls´s last blog ..Wednesday Words =-.

Julia D. August 5, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Love this post! I remember that blog years ago. I just finished the book last week and can’t wait to see the movie.
.-= Julia D.´s last blog ..Too cute! =-.

greenie August 5, 2009 at 10:36 pm

I used to live down the street from her home in the late 80s and she came into our business once and awhile. (And when she did, everyone would freak!) I’m a fan of modern design, but what they did to that kitchen is criminal. It looks like a doctor’s office. I like the old look of the houses in New England built in the 17th, 18th and 19th century and thank the gods and goddesses there are a lot of them preserved in the area. Great post!

Heathahlee August 6, 2009 at 12:45 am

I really want to see this movie! It looks SO cute! My favorite part in the trailer is when some woman tells Julia she doesn’t know anything about food (or something derogatory like that), and Julia sticks out her tongue at her and “Plllbbbttt!” Makes me laugh every time I see it.

I was almost an English Major…wish I had been. If I could have a “do over” I’d go back and change some things…as it is I settled for having an English Minor. I had all the love but didn’t want all the work! (It would have been a double major.) : )
.-= Heathahlee´s last blog ..Guest Blogger has a secret! =-.

Sarah August 6, 2009 at 3:27 am

Thank you for this great post! I love that kitchen *drool*. It’s nice to see the house is essentially the same on the outside, but I do think it’s a shame they took down the shutters. Shutters make a house seem friendlier, IMO.
.-= Sarah´s last blog ..Thrifty Makeover =-.

Things That Inspire August 6, 2009 at 5:12 am

Great post! I think it is so interesting that the original kitchen was fairly dark and cramped feeling…fairly characteristic of kitchens from that time, but even in the pictures the blinds were down covering the window. I also think it is interesting that the kitchen table dominates the room so much. I wonder if she used it as a work surface? There seems to be very little countertop area the kitchen.

It reminds me of a caterer here in Atlanta who makes meals every Thursday for all of the women who want a break from cooking (or a break from restaurant take out) – she calls it ‘take off Thursdays’, and posts her meal of the week on her blog. I have ordered from her a few times, and when I pick up I am always amazed at how much she accomplishes in her tiny little kitchen that has very little counter space. I also know of women who have the most beautiful kitchens with the huge subzeros and the Viking professional range, yet never cook.
.-= Things That Inspire´s last blog ..Tudor and English Style Houses =-.

Jenny August 6, 2009 at 9:50 am

I’ve never heard of this movie. It sounds cute.
.-= Jenny´s last blog ..The Good & The Bad =-.

Tricia Rose August 6, 2009 at 12:13 pm

I saw a preview of the movie and it is totally enjoyable, Meryl Streep has the time of her life. Everyone should see it! (not going to cook more though, so there).
.-= Tricia Rose´s last blog ..August =-.

Julia D. August 6, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Now I realize who Susan Boyle has been reminding me of!
.-= Julia D.´s last blog ..Crushing… =-.

Ms.Tee August 6, 2009 at 7:45 pm

That is so neat – love her kitchen! I really want to see this movie, but don’t know if I’ll get too anytime soon with a house full of guys!
.-= Ms.Tee´s last blog ..A Giveaway! =-.

Cristin August 6, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Great blog! Loved peeking inside her home.

xo,
cristin
.-= Cristin´s last blog ..Perfect Function – Mick de Giulio Kitchen Design =-.

bungalowbliss August 7, 2009 at 12:15 pm

I can’t wait to see this movie!

Can you imagine the meals that dining room saw over the years? What fun!
.-= bungalowbliss´s last blog ..She’s Ready for her Close-Up! =-.

Pearl Maple August 8, 2009 at 5:21 am

The movie does look like it will be a must see, lots of funny clips to tempt us.

How cool to see her place in Cambridge, thanks for sharing a peek into her place.
.-= Pearl Maple´s last blog ..Sky Watch Friday =-.

Kristi August 8, 2009 at 8:45 am

We saw the movie last night and it was positively charming! It makes me a bit sad to see her kitchen remodeled. They took out all the character.
.-= Kristi´s last blog ..This just makes me smile. =-.

Victoria August 8, 2009 at 11:55 am

Loved seeing her house and especially her kitchen again. The Smithsonian exhibit of her kitchen is wonderful. When I saw it there, I lingered at that exhibit quite a long time and hubby had to beg me to move on. Thanks for sharing it all again on your fabulous blog!

Bill August 9, 2009 at 4:22 pm

But…..no one here seems to know hat Julia donated her kitchen to the Smithsonian!

If you go to the Smithsonian Institution’s web site and search for “Julia Child” you can read all about it. There’s even an online version of the exhibit that allows you to give yourself an interactive tour.

hookedonhouses August 9, 2009 at 4:30 pm

Bill–well, um, if they read my post then they should know about the Smithsonian exhibit. Several readers have mentioned visiting it. I went to D.C. last summer and planned to see it, but the museum was closed for renovations. I was so bummed! I’m glad it’s online, at least. -Julia

Jamie Goldberg, AKBD, CAPS August 9, 2009 at 11:24 pm

I saw the movie last night and really enjoyed it! Next time I’m in DC, I’ll visit Julia’s kitchen in the Smithsonian, too.

Jennifer Beaudet August 10, 2009 at 12:38 pm

I love Julia! Can’t wait to see that movie! I’m so glad I found your blog. I really love houses too! Realtor.com and House Hunters are two of my favorites! (house hunters being replaced by Property Virgins)
.-= Jennifer Beaudet´s last blog ..I’m Featured on a Blog! =-.

daisy August 12, 2009 at 8:29 am

Julia Child is one of those people who was just real. She fascinates me. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but my honey and I are definitely going to see it soon. He loves to cook, and I love to blog–it’s a perfect movie for us! LOL. Thanks for featuring her house. It’s easy to imagine her in that kitchen, but maybe not the redone one–not so much. :)
.-= daisy´s last blog ..a cleanin’ I will go, a cleanin’ I will go… =-.

Linda August 12, 2009 at 10:58 am

Great entry…..I saw the movie yesterday and it is wonderful. So much fun ! I even saw lots of men in the theater. So did they come because they wanted to or did their wives drag them along? LOL !
.-= Linda´s last blog ..Happy Birthday to My Son! =-.

Donette August 16, 2009 at 8:35 pm

Julia kept me company on long saturday afternoons. She made laugh, made me cry, made understand what it was to cook. Way long before the Food network, and others chefs, Julia was one of the first pioneers to show her master of cooking on TV. I too, ran into her on Stern’s Wharf in Santa Barbara, early August, she had just had knee surgery and was wheel chair bound. As she was wheeled between cars, I made sure the coast was clear for her to get through. I didn’t know who it was at first, and as I turned to do a double take, and glanced to my friends with a smile ear to ear- I told them I had died and gone to heaven….They had asked why? I said, I just saw Julia Childs, shes an old child hood friend of mine, and continued on to gleem with pure joy. A day never to forget! Julia and Julie, A great movie – full of emotion- I laughed, I cried, and I sad to it over……A must see!

Daisy Cottage August 18, 2009 at 9:16 am

Love this feature on Julia! I always have THE BEST time visiting your site… you are a love and always share so many wonderful, inspirational things with us – thank you!!!!!

xo,
Kim
.-= Daisy Cottage´s last blog ..Dog Days of Summer =-.

Amy @ Living Locurto August 24, 2009 at 8:04 am

What a great kitchen! Love this post:-) I still haven’t seen the movie… hard to talk my husband into seeing anything that has to do with blogging. LOL!
.-= Amy @ Living Locurto´s last blog ..I Heart Faces- Nostalgia Photo =-.

Autumn August 24, 2009 at 12:33 pm

Oh! The house seems full of warmth and coziness. I don’t mind updating things a bit but the new kitchen doesn’t possess the same character. How sad!
.-= Autumn´s last blog ..Land of magic =-.

Patricia August 26, 2009 at 9:57 am

My daughter’s boyfriend just returned from Boston to attend two games at Fenway. I am thrilled to report the Yankees beat the Soxs but that is not why I am posting. He happened to stay at his friend’s girlfriend’s parents house which just happens to be the old home of Julia Child’s. He said it was georgous and big and loved Boston.

I would love to visit as well but only if I were allowed to wear my Yankee gear!!!

Thomas Burger September 19, 2009 at 9:07 am

I was wanting to know if the Childs had a vacation home in France. I remember seeing Julia with Simone Beck in a kitchen in France. The kitchen was almost like Julia’skitchen in Cambridge. What happened to that home?

New Orleans September 19, 2009 at 11:09 am

I recently found out Julia Child’s home is on the market once again for 4 million. The last owners gutted the interior of the house down to the studs and changed the whole layout. The home looks cold sterile inside. I hate this new decorating phase of “Modern Style”. I would love the chance to restore Child’s Chambridge home back to its original interior. I rather see the home warm, inviting, and full of spirit (like Julia Child).

Rent in Makati February 15, 2010 at 5:18 am

How great of her to donate her kitchen to the museum. You can really see her passion for cooking just by looking at the kitchen. Even her personality reflects from it, warm and cozy.

InterGlassique April 7, 2010 at 1:42 pm

It’s a great post! I’ve watched the movie just couple days ago and was truly inspired, same as Julie Powell I guess… Meryl is the only one who could play Julia Child, no doubts… The kitchen is the state of art and I wish the new owners could live the original design …. The renovated kitchen looks so cold and I can hardly imaging cooking there…

Jean at The Delightful Repast April 21, 2010 at 10:42 am

Julia had not yet given up her “Little House in Cambridge” when I first met her in California. Had it occurred to me that anyone who purchased the house might gut it down to the studs, as one commenter put it, I would have begged her to first offer her legions of fans the opportunity to buy it. Such a buyer would no doubt have preserved the character of the house, especially the kitchen, no matter how extensive the updating and remodeling. I’m sorry I’ve now seen an “after” photo of the kitchen–it is an astonishingly bad remodel. It looks as if it belongs in a modern high-rise.

Marigold August 12, 2010 at 11:09 am

What did Julia keep in the trug that she has on her stove??? I’ve been dying to know.

Eileen June 29, 2011 at 1:25 am

Don’t you love the oilcloth on the kitchen table?

Julia Child was so practical, and her humor made that practicality charming.

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