The Rustic Beverly Hills Home of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi
November 23, 2017
The Rustic Beverly Hills Home is the seventh home the host-comedian and her wife, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi, have shared; one for every year they’ve been together.
Residential compounds are nothing out of the ordinary in Beverly Hills, where privacy, security, and exclusivity are the sine qua nons of daily life. But even in this more-is-more city, there can’t be too many properties that take up the better part of a street. The lane in question proceeds through a series of forbidding gates and winds steeply up a dramatic hill before arriving at the main house—a modern pile with stucco walls and a steel pitched roof.
Built by the renowned architects Buff & Hensman for actor Laurence Harvey, the single-story residence has been inhabited over the years by actor Joan Collins and, most recently, Will & Grace co-creator Max Mutchnick. Under his watch, interior designer Melinda Ritz expanded the house and warmed it up with reclaimed-wood floors and ceiling beams.
When it came to the 9,500-square-foot main house and its two guest cottages, DeGeneres wanted to make the rooms “a little less uniform and formal.” So it is that the very first thing one notices upon entering the house is a Ping-Pong table. Not your regulation folding Masonite number, but a steel-and-glass version—one of ten executed by Argentine artist Rirkrit Tiravanija in 2008. It sits on a 19th-century Agra carpet in the entrance hall, which also accommodates pieces as diverse as a Serge Mouille chandelier, a Spanish Colonial bench, and a Jeff Koons puppy vase (it holds the Ping-Pong balls). The living room, in its current rendition, is equally eclectic. A Roman bust gazes past a graphic painting by Mark Grotjahn, Louis XVI bergères mingle with slipcovered sofas, and a Jean Prouvé jib lamp casts light on one of the African masks DeGeneres has collected.
The comedian enlisted a handful of L.A. dealers and designers—among them Tommy and Kathleen Clements, Cliff Fong, and Harrison Holman—to help her cherry-pick furniture, objects, and art for the house. Some pieces are museum-quality, some are deeply personal, and some are both. In one of the guest rooms is a Cité chair by Prouvé, which De Rossi had Fong track down in Europe as a surprise for DeGeneres when they first started dating. The Diego Giacometti feline sculpture in the master bathroom was another gift, marking DeGeneres’s 50th birthday (the couple has three cats in addition to the dogs). They both admire the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose raw Neo-Expressionist painting Untitled (Aopkhes) enlivens a corner of the living room. In the dining room, Basquiat cohort Andy Warhol is represented by a large-scale rendering of a Puma sneaker.