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Inside Sidney Poitier’s Mediterranean-Style Home Where He Lived with Designer Wife of 46 Years

Olawale Ogunjimi
Jan 15, 2022
01:20 P.M.
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Legendary American Actor Sidney Poitier and his longtime wife Joanna Shimkus live in a stunning Beverly Hills mansion which the entertainer acquired for a whopping $2.7 million. Here is a peek into their lovely home.


If pictures are anything to go by, actor Sidney Poitier and his wife Shimkus share a gorgeously decorated home in Beverly Hills, California. 


After selling their New York duplex, the celebrated entertainer and his wife Shimkus bought the 5,000 square-foot Beverly Hills property a year.

Sidney Poitier (R) and his wife Joanna Shimkus during the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament tennis match on June 25, 1983 [left]. Joanna Shimkus and Sidney Poitier attend the 2004 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Mortons on February 29, 2004 [right]. | Photo: Getty Images


They built the Mediterranean-style gated home in the 1920s, and it features four bedrooms and three baths. It also has a living room and a family room with French doors, leading to a backyard with a pool and spa.


When Sidney and Shimkus moved into their new home, they decided not to change the color of the rooms since the previous owners had just repainted the house. However, Shimkus still had to put her interior design skills to make the house feel like home. 

She defined her approach to designing the home as beautiful and comfortable, and her practical yet elegant signature style of decorating is apparent throughout the house. 


Sidney Poitier & Family during The 6th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. | Photo: Getty Images

First, she installed over-earth bamboo blinds that calm the sun featuring panels of hand-embroidered and appliquéd silk with taffeta billow from below the ceiling beams settling luxuriantly onto the floor. 


The couple had moved from a house three times bigger than their new home, so Shimkus tried to fit their contents into the house without sacrificing objects she and her husband loved. She had to leave behind much of their furniture but kept their artwork. 

Shimkus, who also studied sculpting with Artis Lane, has many bronze sculptures in the house. Renowned artist Lane's sculpture of actor Djimon Hounsou, best known for his performance in the movie "Blood Diamond," has an important space on the Poitiers' living room mantel.

Sidney Poitier holding his Academy Award circa the 1960s. | Photo: Getty Images


Also in the living room is an elongated bronze art of a ponytailed woman, which Shimkus gave Poitier for his 50th birthday. Shimkus is also a collector of old Aubusson rugs. 

She made custom-colored threads for a new rug woven in the Aubusson style when she could not find the right antique rug to place on the terra-cotta floors of the living room.  

An accomplished designer, Shimkus also has a fondness for gold-leafed 18th-century antiques. Speaking about her approach to the design of the house, the designer admitted that their house is about 80 percent antiques.


Her antique-inspired style is evident in the dining room design. Here, Shimkus placed an 18th-century Italian table, an anniversary gift from Poitier that Shimkus refinished to relieve its worn look. 

Also, in the living room is an 18th-century red lacquer coffee table which she upgraded with mercury glass for a fascinating reflective quality. Additionally, she placed scaled gilt chairs in flame-stitch woven in each room. 

Simkus loves to find old fabric fragments in Europe, where she is fondly called the "Pillow Queen," and the home is filled with such fabrics.


She also explained that pillows are like jewelry, and one-of-a-kind Pottery Barn Sofas can be made with exquisite pillows. More photos of the exquisite home can be found on the Better Homes & Gardens site.


Sidney Poitier married Canadian actress turned designer Jonna Shimkus in 1976, 11 years after he divorced his first wife, Juanita Hardy. The couple went on to share two daughters: Anika and Sidney.

In an interview with People, Poitier declared that his wife Shimkus and their children mean the world to him. He also revealed his wife thinks of him as a perfectionist because he demands a certain level of loyalty and respect from his relationships. 


Shimkus would sometimes also accuse the actor of being too hard on their children because of his expectations of them. However, the actor declared his kids are all very intelligent, and it pleases him to see them exhibiting the values he instilled in them. 

The legendary entertainer is also an avid supporter of his wife's career. He admires Shimkus not only because of her love for exquisite pillows but her overall decorating style. 

Poitier regards his wife as an extremely gifted and talented person explaining it is almost impossible not to notice her distinctive style in every room she has decorated. 


About their home, he said it is quite difficult for him to have a favorite space when each room looks very beautiful and feels comfortable to live in. Poitier was also the one who gifted his wife the 18th-century Italian table located in their dining room. 

Poitier and Shimkus also love traveling the world together. On some of their trips, they sometimes see unusual objects and antiques which the couple would then use to decorate their home. 


Sidney Poitier sadly passed away at 94 in his Los Angeles home, which he shared with Shimkus. The legendary actor spent his final days surrounded by family and friends. 


The iconic entertainer was survived by his wife, Joanna Shimkus, six daughters, eight grandchildren, and various great-grandchildren who surrounded him in a picture posted on his 90th birthday. 

He fathered four daughters, Beverly, Pamela, Sherri, and Gina, from his first marriage to Juanita Hardy, who he divorced in 1965. His last two daughters, Anika and Sidney, were from his marriage to Shimkus. 

In a statement released by the family after his death, they praised Poitier for being a brilliant actor and activist and for his incredible grace and moral fortitude. In addition, he was described as a devoted, loving, adoring husband and father who always put his family first. 


Although he is no longer alive, his legacy will live on in the world. The actor will also continue to inspire with his incredible body of work and his humanity. 

Sidney Poitier's achievements in the entertainment industry are legendary. Poitier made history in 1963 when he became the first black actor to win an Academy Award under the category for Best Actor, thanks to his performance in the movie "Lilies of the Field."