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Alanis offers peek into Ottawa condo

In an exclusive magazine interview, the rock musician famous for her angst provides an upbeat assessment of her city home with the great river view.

The Ottawa Citizen

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

After spending much of her time in dreary backstage areas and belting out angst-ridden rock tunes, Alanis Morissette says the best place to unwind is at her Zen-like pad in Ottawa.

"When I'm here, I feel like I'm off the radar and able to rejuvenate," the Ottawa rocker recently told In Style magazine.

While in town to perform for the Dalai Lama, who visited Canada in April, Ms. Morissette opened up about herself, and her two-bedroom condominium, for a photo spread featured in this month's magazine.

"There's a calmness that I don't feel when I'm in Los Angeles. I love that it's so quiet. ... My life is so noisy. Here, I know my nervous system will have a little rest," said Ms. Morissette, surrounded by Asian artifacts she accumulated over three years while on a furniture hunt in Thailand, China and Japan.

The focal point of the home is an open-space living room and kitchen that features elaborate hand-carved furniture, stretching up toward a ceiling with exposed wooden beams.

Throughout are unique touches that offer warm memories of her travels, such as a Chinese lampshade that hangs above her dining room table, a Chinese bed that doubles as a sofa and a time-worn trunk that serves as a coffee table.

Ms. Morissette has accented her home with touches that reveal her spiritual side: a stone Buddha and an elaborately carved prayer altar, with incense sticks and scented candles. Tucked behind two imported Balinese doors is her bedroom, decorated in a minimalist style with a platform bed hidden beneath a billowy duvet.

"This is the only place that comes close to reflecting my personal taste," said the 30-year-old self-professed decorating fanatic who owns homes in Malibu, Los Angeles and Vancouver.

"It's a real expression of me," said the rocker whose album Jagged Little Pill sold more than 30 million copies and remains one of the best-selling debuts. "I put so much of myself into it, I consider it the equivalent of making two records.

"I like open spaces. When I was making Jagged Little Pill, I was inside a lot, hiding. So when it came time to choose a place to live, I wanted expansiveness so that I didn't feel constricted. I'm constantly knocking down walls -- it's a running joke with the architects I work with."

It's a joke that likely wasn't lost on those who worked on her Ottawa home, which underwent extensive renovations before she moved in. Ms. Morissette bought the 11th-floor condo in the exclusive building at 40 Botelier St., in April 2001, for $575,000.

Apart from its breathtaking vistas of the Parliament Buildings and the Ottawa River, Ms. Morissette is ideally located near the homes of her parents and grandparents.

"Coming home is all about unwinding. It's about sitting on my bed, having long conversations with my mom, or hanging out on the balcony with my aunts."

It's also an ideal getaway for her and her boyfriend, Vancouver actor Ryan Reynolds.

"This apartment is really romantic, especially at night. ... Overlooking the river, with the lights across the city and the lighting in here, it's pretty yummy."

Her boyfriend, who was also present during the interview, described her place as a "utopian fantasy."

"It blends her understanding of eastern culture with a West Coast openness," said Mr. Reynolds.

Interview with Alanis Morissette.