“I don’t force a lot of decisions on my life,” says actress Greta Gerwig. “And I’m pretty happy with whatever occurs, as long as there are enough books around.” That same happy-accident philosophy applies to the aesthetic of the fourth-floor Chinatown apartment she shares with two cinephile roommates, set designer Sam Lisenco and film producer Oscar Boyson. While going through “a tumultuous thing in my life—a.k.a., a breakup,” Gerwig found herself in need of a new place and remembered a party she’d been to at a large three-bedroom where Lisenco lived. That was two years ago. “I like living with people,” says Gerwig, 28, who recently played the lead in Whit Stillman’s Damsels in Distress and has been filming an HBO pilot for a possible adaptation of Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, directed by Noah Baumbach (her date to the Damsels premiere). “I recognize that maybe I should be at a point where I stop having roommates, but I’m not. I have an older brother and an older sister, who are way older than me; growing up, it was so fun because when they came home, they’d bring all their friends. It always just seemed like the way to be happy is to have a full house.” Because of Lisenco’s profession, the trio’s eclectic apartment is constantly evolving: The furniture is swapped out and moved around, and “things are always getting painted.” Gerwig’s room, where she spends days working on scripts on her IBM Selectric typewriter, is no exception. Part of the magic of her living situation, she says, is that she’ll come home from meetings in L.A. or shooting the new Woody Allen movie, To Rome With Love, to discover a jaguar lamp or creaky rocking chair in her room. Gerwig’s personal belongings fall into two categories: books and memory-jogging items she’s acquired through friends and travels, like the bedspread a friend got her in Germany. “Most of the things I own are not things that I’ve chosen,” she says. “They just happened.”
“This bed, the actual mattress is a Bob-O-Pedic; it’s not a Tempur-Pedic, it’s by a guy named Bob. I think he owns Bob’s Furniture Store in New Jersey.” Photo: Francois Dischinger. Hair by Anna Schneider. Makeup by Cyndle Strawhecker.
“That’s my cat, Paw Newman. We also have Diane Kitten. Paw is the friendlier of the two, but also more annoying. The sofa is from an old roommate’s dad’s apartment. My main investment is books. Books are like my dowry from college. I’m going through an E. M. Forster phase right now.” Photo: Francois Dischinger