Today we take you uptown to the neighborhood of Harlem in Manhattan where we’re welcomed inside the brownstone home of Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka.
The charming couple worked with Balsam Hill to decorate their home for the holidays and nearly every corner of the house has been decked out in the style of the season.
They take us from room to room, sharing their sense of style, honing in on the artwork that resonates with them, and relating the stories behind their eclectic possessions.
- Well look who it is, it's AD!- Hi guys, come on in!- Welcome to our crib!Well you are in our Browstone.We're in Harlem, New York.- [David] Represent.- [Neil] We've been here for--- [David] 6 years.- [Neil] 5, 6 years?- Yeah.- You know more about theactual building itself.- So the building wasbuilt in the late 1800sand it used to be a bunchof different things.Including a speakeasy for mill workers.[Neil laughs]It was a music school for girls.It was a bed and breakfast at one point.And this whole thing was all one floor.We actually put in these columns,but this is all original molding,all original woodwork.It's not usually deckedout with giant trees in it.- [Neil] Yeah we teamed upwith Balsam Hill this yearto help us out.- They helped us putdecorations up for y'know--- 'Cause this is not a small tree.[David laughs]We've got a Brownstonein New York with really tall ceilings.- Right.- And so, ergo, a small sized treejust looked puny.So we tried a live treeonce and that was good,but lots of dead leaves.- Yeah, needles, needles everywhere.- Needles everywhere!- This is a big apothecary cabinet.- [Neil] Oh, this is cool.- And so when people write, y'know--- When they leave.- [David] They leave, they say--- [Neil] Sign the guestbook.- [David] "Thanks for having us."Charlize Theron.- Charlize is always over.- And you can pick a drawer!There's great prizes,there's not so good prizes.- [Neil] It's like a game show.- Like a game show, y'know.- You just pick a randomdrawer, and inside will be--- Starbucks.- Oh!- Google.- What?- Yeah, look at that.- I wanna try a drawer.- $50 at AMC, look at that!- What did I get?- Panera Bread.This is a joke biscuit!With a worm on it.- What are you tryin' to say?- Oh.You don't get anything.- Wow.This is a player piano.It's a Yamaha.And it is robotic, kind of.So you can push buttonsand then it plays itself.- We can have it livestreamfrom Elton playing in Vegas.- Yeah!- We can actually have Eltoncome and play the piano.- We can actually sit and listen to apiano concerto or something,and you can see the actual keysas they're being actually pressedby the actual piano player.It's pretty rad.- It's pretty cool.- We have contemporary art.This is an artist namedTom LaDuke who we love.This knife is made entirely of clay.Molding clay.Not painted, but theactual colors of the clay.And then if you look at the bottom,his reflection, he painted.- [David] It's a self-portrait as well.- Oh this is cool.This is a peephole piece of art.It's by an artist named Patrick Jacobs.If you look inside it'slike 3-dimensional.It's essentially, what is it, like a--- Landscape?- No, the little boxes.- Light box?- No.- Diorama.Oh, sorry.- I won!- It's like a diorama, it's cool.This is the parlor.- The parlor bar.We started collecting.I like to do taxidermy.I take classes in taxidermy.I haven't done these,but we started collectingold vintage--None of these have been game shot.But these are old, all turnof the century monkeys.And so we started callingthis "The Monkey Bar"because there's several monkeys around.And we thought that was kind of fun.We like monkeys!- And it's a play on words becausemonkey bars is actuallya thing that you can dowhen you're a kid and--- I just got that!Wow.So we'll show you around!- This is cool, look at this.- [Neil] Oh yeah this is great.- This is a Christmas giftthat Neil got me years ago.It's a flip book.- [Neil] Hup!- [David] Another little magic trick here.Woop!- [Neil] And then the reset, bonk!- How cool is that?!- I had to film it on the sly.- Very cool.Getting those children to do that.- [Neil] This we just recently got.This was David's anniversarygift for me for our wedding.'Cause the year is wood.
[chuckles]But actually it's like a wooden boxand this is an old phonograph.- [David] On the Brimfield market.- Edison Fireside Phonograph.And it actually plays.Listen to it.- [David] Oh yeah, put on some tunes.- All right, I think I will![classic upbeat music]This is Kanye.- [David] I love his new album.- Or is it Jay-Z?♪ I've just come here from next door ♪- It's Kanye.♪ The only thing life I everhad prey me has gone away ♪Okay, that's gonna be--- That's great TV there- A really fun thing to listen to.This is cool, this is my friend Polly.- [David] The kids named her.- I was asked to host ananimatronic award showand this is what they gaveme in exchange of a salary.Isn't that right, Polly?- Positively!- Are you glad to haveArchitectural Digest here?- Don't I know it!- Ooh!- Are you glad to have David here?- [squawks] Yes!- Are you?- [squawks] chance!- Exactly.- How dare you!Your cage is going back on.- [chuckles] I think Polly called you fat.- Forget about it!- Okay, okay.- Enough, enough!- We feed you...- Nothing.- Nothing!And we put you in a cage.Let the caged bird sing.That's Polly.Comedy, little comedy moment for ya.- So this bar wasn't part of the housebut our architect found it in a warehouseand it used to be a partof a hotel in Utica.So we took it, both pieces,and we decided to put a wholeproper bar in our house.There's white wine on tap,there's rose on tap.- Sometimes you'll find me sad and cryingand laying like Homer Simpson on the bar.Just like [gulping sounds].- It's true.And I have to carry him upstairs,put his slippers on.- Oh this is cool!- Oh yeah turn that on.Oh we're not prepared at all.So this whole wall as you can see,as you're going up,is all our family wall.So really importantpictures from our wedding.This is a LEGO piece of an artist.One side is Gideon andthe other side is Harperso it's a dual piece.- This amazing paper artistthat I commissioned to have.So that's David and myself,magic style with our kids.And then you can see inthe stars it's a rabbit.Pieces of paper.- Coming out of the hat.There's pictures of us as little kids,pictures of our parents' wedding.These are two Jill Greenbergs of our kids.- She's amazing.- There's old time photos.We have pictures of our dogs.All of our Halloween photosthat we like to take.- This is an amazing artist.His name is Nicholas Sanchez.I got them for David for,what, Valentine's day?- No it was my birthday this past year.- The whole thing is ballpoint pen.You should watch thiscloseup.
[snaps fingers]You can see right nowevery tiny little mark.That's all ballpoint pen.And now wide shot.
[snaps fingers]- Amazing.- So that's pretty cool.- Pictures of our wedding.These are Johnson Seeneysthat we won at an auctionfor Project Angel Food.We sat--- [Neil] We have a lotof pictures of ourself.- So this is where we celebrate Christmas,we open up our presents in the morning.And Balsam Hill has donea nice cheery versionof a kids tree.We have a lot of the kids' ornamentsthat they made themselves.- [Neil] That's true!So downstairs that'ssort of the fancy tree,and I say that with contempt,because he only allows gold colored--- Silver.- Silver colored or white.Don't come into this houseand try to put a greenornament on that tree.- Won't happen.It will not happen.- I learned that the hard way.So this is the family tree.- [David] Yes.- And this is the tree thatexplains more of us as a family.Look this is "MerryHolidays from Debbie, Dan,"Jennifer, and David."This was in like 1984.- Wow, that's old.- 2015, a lot of HauntedMansion from the Disney.- 1982, there's apicture of me as a child!This is where the kids opentheir stockings in the morning.This is where Santa comes andbrings all their presents.- Every morning.No maybe just Christmas morning.- Christmas morning.No Christmas Morning they just get coal.[both laughing]- This is my favorite pieceof art that we've ever owned.It's from Disney's Haunted Mansion,Disney World I think.It's one of the stretching portraits.If you'd been to Disney,you'd see it starts like this.And then, "Is this hauntedroom actually stretching?!"Or is it your imagination, hmm?!"And I won't it at auction andit's my prized possession.And no one is allowed to go within 3 feet.In fact I put a stanchion upto just keep the kids from touching it.And there's laser beams and things, too.That's not true.- [David] But yeah this iswhere we spend most of our time.The kids like to read their booksor play their iPads on the weekends.Some more art, this is an artist namedMichael Scoggins who does theseAmerican family portraits.We got these done a long time ago.- And this is a bunchof staged Nutcrackers.I just like to sayNutcracker as much as I can.- Just let it go.- So anyway, happy holidays!- Hey thanks AD for coming by!- Word.Now hail a taxi, we'll see you soon!