Anne Hathaway uses this ancient painting technique to bring tranquility to her breakfast room – the result is profoundly beautiful

The actress practices a 'brilliant visual trick' that designers say 'expands the room's boundaries' and makes it feel as though she is dining in the midst of nature

(Image credit: ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

It's no secret that Anne Hathaway's Californian cabin home is among the most beautiful (and unique) celebrity homes we've seen – and just when we think we couldn't love it more, she surprises us with yet another reason to get excited.

The Devil Wears Prada actress and her husband, jewelry creator Adam Shulman, designed their Alpine-inspired abode (in collaboration with Studio Shamshiri) as a soothing celebration of nature in all its glory, filled with long-lasting materials and earthy color schemes. However, no space optimizes this organic design ideology quite like her breakfast nook.

Featuring a quintessential window bench, sheer white curtains, and antique-style furniture, the green-hued space is a dream morning setting. Above all, though, designers love the intricate painted wooden paneling that adorns the area – a design move with roots dating back to the 6th century BC.

Panel painting, similar to that exhibited in Hathaway's space, was a prestigious medium in Greece and Rome, but only very few examples of ancient panel paintings have survived to this day.  

Until canvas became the more popular support medium in the 16th century, painting on a wooden panel was considered the standard method (when not painting directly onto a wall). In the contemporary day, panel painting is a sign of both individuality and luxury, and Hathaway's breakfast room is perhaps our favorite example to date.

'The breakfast room's standout feature is undoubtedly the painted wooden panels. Each panel is a canvas of lush green landscapes, depicting trees, greenery, and expansive fields that mirror the vistas seen through the room's large windows,' comments Westchester-based designer Nina Lichtenstein.

'The artistry is such that the painted tree trunks and branches align perfectly with the actual trees outside, creating an illusion that the landscape continues seamlessly from indoors to outdoors. This brilliant visual trick expands the room's boundaries, making it feel as if you're dining right in the midst of nature.'

Painted panels aside, Lichtenstein notes Hathaway's ability to decorate with green continues to blur the lines between her indoor and outdoor spaces.

'The green hue of the panels is not confined to the walls; it gracefully flows onto the ceiling, enveloping the space in a cozy yet open atmosphere,' she says.

Colorful green kitchen

(Image credit: deVOL)

'This choice of color creates a sense of unity and continuity, fostering an intimate connection with the natural world outside. The green ceiling further enhances the feeling of being in an outdoor setting while maintaining a warm, enclosed ambiance.' In our homes, we can recreate her style by painting some wooden kitchen cabinets a subtle, almost minty green – for a grounding yet stylish twist on the natural kitchen aesthetic.

'The room's seamless blend of indoor and outdoor elements creates a soul-soothing sanctuary, making it difficult to end a meal or leave the space,' Lichtenstein comments. 'In Anne Hathaway's breakfast room, every detail is a reminder of the profound beauty and calm that nature brings, making it a truly special place to start the day.'


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Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.