Hello, everyone! I’ve got another interesting interview for you today. HGTV’s West Coast Correspondent and founder of AtHomeInHollywood.com, Lisa Johnson Mandell, has answered my questions about celebrity homes! She has shared her insider Hollywood real estate scoops on what celebrity home design trends and what the elite are buying and selling.
1. Tell us about how you landed in this career.
I’m a fifth generation Angelina (Los Angeles resident) and my family has been deeply involved in hospitality, entertainment and education. I grew up frequenting fabulous Hollywood homes, and as a journalist, was naturally attracted to writing about them. I was the L.A. correspondent for HGTV.com for several years, and when they discontinued their regional coverage, I took my contacts and experience and launched AtHomeInHollywood.com.
2. What are the hottest trends in celebrity homes?
You’ll be surprised by this, but the hottest celebrity homes (outside of Manhattan) all have some type of agriculture in common. Despite the water shortage in California, everyone wants a home with a vineyard, citrus orchards, olive trees, vegetable gardens or even a simple herb garden. Even if the celebs don’t tend to them and make the products themselves, it’s very chic to have your own private label wine, olive oil, limoncello or barbecue rub, and to use homegrown, organic products in their homes. It’s also a big trend to bring the outside in, using locally-sourced lemons, pomegranates and herbs in centerpieces and arrangements that are fragrant as well as beautiful. Heavily scented, imported hot house flowers are definitely out. It has become a status symbol to decorate with items sourced from your own garden.
3. Can you share some inside scoops from your recent celebrity home tours?
While the rest of the nation is obsessed with “tiny homes,” celebrities still feel that “Bigger is better.” I am AMAZED at the size of homes people are building and buying these days. The home that’s going up in Bel Air, measuring over 100,000 square feet and listing at $500 million, is an outrageous example of this.
4. Hollywood homes are in general huge. How do these home bring in the coziness and comfort of a small space into a large one?
It’s all about intimate groupings and seating areas. A massive master suite, which is very popular these days, will often have a salon seating area around a fireplace, and a tasteful kitchenette area with a small refrigerator and the obligatory built-in specialty coffee maker. In a large dining room, you’ll frequently see three or four smaller tables, rather than one long rectangular one. Overhead treatments also help large spaces seem more intimate. I’ve seen lovely pergolas, canopies, floating ceilings and draped ceilings inside great rooms that really work well.
5. What amenities and luxury are worth mentioning in these homes that we typically don’t see elsewhere?
Pink salt spa rooms and/or Hammams (Moroccan style spas) are big these days, as are luxury garages that look more like family rooms than a place to store your car. Many of these have turntables that display the best pieces of an extensive car collection. The two-three story closet that’s digitally organized with an app that suggests outfits is also an over-the-top luxury item in demand.
6. Can you share how my readers can add Hollywood glamor and touch into their own homes while on a budget?
Fortunately for the budget conscious, the Mid-Century Modern style is still considered very chic, thanks to shows like Astronaut Wives, Mad Men and movies like The Man From U.N.C.L.E. It seems there’s a new retro production coming out practically every month. You can still find great Mid-Century Modern pieces in thrift shops, and designers inspired by the era, like Jonathan Adler, are creating reasonably priced designs for JC Penneys. Ikea, Target, and AllModern.com offer great, inexpensive pieces. Mid-Century modernizing your own living room can be as simple as adding turquoise and orange or lime pillows to a plain, neutrally colored sofa. Voila! Your home will look just like those in the movies.