If I didn't have a career in acting and modeling, I swear I would have become an interior designer. I am beyond obsessed with the whole idea of buying and flipping homes... Drew & Jonathan Scott... I hope you're reading this. But in all honesty, interior design is my true passion.
My love affair with design goes back to when I was in my twenties, living in Paris early in my modeling career. Nothing compares to that city when it comes to a street school for style, and Paris had a tremendous influence on my approach to design. I fell in love with the Parisian attention to detail, their love for both the simple and the ornate, the grandeur of the city’s historic buildings and the quaint cafes and boutiques nestled along charming walking streets. At twenty- seven, I left Paris and moved to New York to pursue other career opportunities. Many of my model friends were spending their hard- earned money on Hermès handbags, but I was saving for a house.
The first house I bought was in Wainscott, New York, in the Hamptons. It was a three- bedroom, traditional Hamptons home. Nothing fancy, but absolutely perfect. I did very little to it, apart from painting the walls and filling it with comfortable and casual furniture from Crate & Barrel and a few flea markets. Lots of slipcovers, beachy stripes, natural woods, sisal rugs, and big, comfy pillows. I also installed an incredible giant faux- coral chandelier over the dining room table. To this day, I still think it’s amazing! Since then, with every new city that I’ve moved to, I’ve taken the opportunity to indulge my love for design by decorating my apartment or house. Today, I’m up to at least seven total design projects, so I’ve got a fair bit of design experience under my belt. Some were apartments, a few were houses that only needed minor face- lifts when I moved in, a few were remodels, and one was a house that Scott and I built from the ground up! And I have learned that quality decor and design do not have to break the bank. Good design can be found everywhere these days, from exclusive showrooms to independent boutiques to big- box furniture stores to flea markets! I’ve also learned over the years that it’s okay to make mistakes— I’ve made many of them in my homes. Decorating is about trial and error, and learning what you like and what works for you and your family. So don’t be intimidated!
Below are a few themes I’ve explored in the homes I’ve designed over the years. This list should give you a little peek into my diverse taste and design evolution and should also help give you a sense of how to develop a design theme for your home:
1. PARISIAN- INSPIRED PIED-A- TERRE- I had just moved into this New York apartment after living in Paris, and I wanted to be surrounded by the familiar. So I identified my theme— a feminine Parisian abode— and got to work. My designer, Kishani Perera, and I chose a palette of soft grays, off white, and dusty rose with pale woods, vintage furnishings, and feminine fabrics. All the furniture— tables, chairs, art, armoires, light fixtures, even my sleigh bed— was sourced from French flea markets (mostly from Clignancourt) and shipped over. My home became an escape from the hectic streets of New York where I could sink into the sexy, old- world comfort of vintage Paris.
2. SPANISH RANCH IN THE HILLS- From New York, I packed up my entire life and traveled cross- country to the West Coast for the television series Las Vegas, and I bought a Spanish- style ranch house in the Hollywood Hills. I worked again with Kishani Perera to decorate and renovate the house on a serious budget with a lot of DIYs. Even with our tight budget, it was a beautiful space, with classic architecture, and it ended up looking great!
3. BEVERLY HILLS BOHO- COLONIAL- When I first moved in with Scott, he had been living in a traditional home that was a little too Pottery Barn for my liking. There was also— wait for it— a red leather bathroom. We redecorated the space to reflect our new life together and transformed it into a more stylish colonial with bohemian touches.
4. CONTEMPORARY MEETS TRADITIONAL HAMPTONS- When Scott and I got married and decided to start our family, we knew we wanted to have a family home in the Hamptons. So we sold the house I’d bought in the Hamptons when I was single. This is when we met Hamptons based designer Dan Scotti, who designed our next family home. It’s classic East Coast but designed with lots of modern, midcentury touches for a comfortable of- the- moment, lived- in look.
5. BEACHY, MODERN MEXICO- We currently share a vacation home in Mexico with another family. When we bought the place, we had to totally gut it and replace all the floors because of water damage from a series of storms. The result was a colorful fun- in- the- sun, casual but stylish space designed by the über- talented Trip Haenisch. The color scheme and decor take cues from the white sand, the turquoise sea, and the bright blue sky surrounding the house. Our Mexico house is all about bringing the outdoors in and restoring calm to our harried souls. And because it’s a beach pad, it’s extremely sun- , sand- , and kid-friendly.
6. MY CHILDHOOD HOME- My childhood home in Kentucky was over one hundred years old, with these beautiful, perfectly beat- up wood floors that my momma would polish once a month. And it had these incredibly high ceilings that, as a kid, always seemed so out of reach. I can remember playing with my brother while my momma and daddy sat in chairs on the porch. This kind of lazy but loving family afternoon spent at the home you love still inspires me to this day.
I'd love to continue to share some more of my design ideas... leave your questions in the comments below and I'll be happy to answer them!