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Marlo Thomas’s Eclectic Apartment Is a Museum of Her World Travels


Architectural Digest: What city do you live in?

Marlo Thomas: New York, in Manhattan.

Could you describe the style of your home?

I wanted a Malibu house on top of the city; something very comfortable, not too formal. There’s a lot of kids in our house. I wanted it to be a place that you could bounce on and enjoy without saying, “Oh gosh, I shouldn’t sit there.” There’s some old English chairs and tables and these modern leather chairs, but everything’s comfy.

It has a feeling of, “Things have been collected here.” And it doesn’t look [deliberate], like, “I have 12 of this and 11 of these.” On my sofa, I wanted to find a couple of pretty rose chintz pillows and I asked a decorator friend of mine for a bunch of swatches. She sent me 30 different ones, and I looked at them all and thought, “I like them all. I’ll get them all.” So I have 30 different patterns on the sofa. And it looks fabulous.

What is one kitchen item you use every single day?

The Keurig coffee pot. It’s always ready to make just one cup. That tyranny of having to put on a pot of coffee, and then the pot getting stale. Putting one little pod in and making a cup of coffee, and it’s always ready, I think that’s like a miracle in the kitchen.

I also created a tea pot this year at Williams Sonoma that is a thermal pot, but in porcelain with my blue-and-white design on it. Most thermal pots I have are stainless steel and I wanted something prettier.

Marlo Thomas Insulated Tea Pot

What’s your favorite gadget or appliance?

The crockpot. I love something that I don’t have to babysit. My mom was Italian, and when you make Italian food, you’ve got to stick with it, you have to check in on it all day long. A crockpot, you put the chicken in there to make a chicken cacciatore, and you don’t have to go back for four hours. I love it.

What is your bedtime ritual?

After I’ve smeared every kind of cream on my face, I love to do the New York Times spelling bee at night. And everybody says, “Well, that’s too stimulating [to do before bed].” To me it’s not. I usually have some music on. [My husband] Phil [Donahue] and I both like to go to sleep to music, and we live on the park so we can see all the buildings. We leave our curtains up and our shades up, so our nightlight is the city lights. It’s like being out on a boat.


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