Personal Reflection

Jennie Garth is ready to discuss her latest project, but this time it’s not a TV show. It’s a sleek five-bedroom home in the hills above Studio City. “This is my first modern house,” she says proudly. “When I turned 40, my taste changed to simpler and cleaner design, much more linear with big open spaces.”

Real estate, it turns out, is something of a love affair for the actress, best known for her iconic role as Kelly Taylor on Beverly Hills, 90210. “When I was a little girl I used to draw houses and make blueprints all the time,” she recalls. “I didn’t draw rainbows and puppy dogs.” But this is the first time she got to really jump into the project, gutting and rebuilding a 1970s house into a modernist escape for herself and her three daughters. Her only collaborator in the endeavor, which was documented on the HGTV series The Jennie Garth Project that aired last September, was noted L.A. contractor Scott Harris. “We had a very basic design from an architect and built the house as we went,” she says, explaining that the project took much longer than planned and that the HGTV crew basically moved into the house for the duration of the project. “We filmed documentary-style over 10 episodes,” she adds.

Transforming a California ranch-style house into a modern home took one year and a very clear vision. Garth and Harris played up the site’s natural features and conceived a plan that combined intimacy with ample accommodations. “I only added 800 square feet over in the kids’ area because I wanted all the girls’ bedrooms to be on the same side of the house with the master, and then the guest room on the other side,” Garth explains. She also added a clerestory above the kitchen to bring light in that could “bounce around,” she adds. The setting of the house, high in the hills with sweeping views of the city, called for blurred lines between exterior and interior. “I needed to have the energy, flow of the air,” says Garth of the floor-to-ceiling glass sliding walls.

Glass walls were used in several rooms, flooding the interiors with brilliant daylight and offering panoramic views and a sense of boundlessness and freedom. Knowing that she wanted the house to look spare and have “no clutter,” Garth created, with Harris, an understated setting for furniture and art. “By the time we were done, I didn’t have any money left over for artwork, so I have my own photography and art throughout the house,” she points out.

CREATURE COMFORTS
Garth relaxes by the fireplace with her two dogs, Pinky and Roxy

It was important for Garth to infuse the home with a warm family vibe that accommodates her young daughters’ particular interests. Seventeen-year-old Luca Bella’s room oozes old Hollywood glamour, while 12-year-old Lola’s room is a teen girl’s dream, with bright yellow accents and an Eero Aarnio modernist Bubble chair as the centerpiece. And 8-year-old Fiona’s room is nothing short of a miniature amusement park, with monkey bars, a basketball hoop, a rock climbing wall and a bunk bed. “I got everything I wanted except for the swing,” Fiona says, looking at her mother. “When my friends come over, they’re like, ‘This is your room?!’”

The master suite also takes advantage of the stunning views. “I can sleep every night with open doors,” Garth says. Like the rest of the house, the bedroom is minimal, featuring Garth’s platform bed from BoConcept. Several paintings she drew herself hang above the bed.

The main room combines the sitting and dining areas and is an airy mix of classic and contemporary. The expansive space serves as an interior landscape with lean furniture that lets the eye roam freely from indoors to the horizon. A custom floating fireplace by CF + D Custom Fireplace Design is the focal point, along with the family’s heirloom white baby grand piano. A pitched ceiling lined with pine slats highlights the centrally placed blue midcentury-style sectional by BoConcept and the steel and hot pink faux leather custom chairs designed by Garth. “The hot pink thing is what I fell in love with when I got going, and it adds that femininity to the house,” she says. “I want everyone to feel peaceful here.”

The serene vibe is evident when the girls come home from school and the action migrates to the kitchen and the family room. “One kid is doing homework on the computer; the other is doing stretches; the third is watching a movie. We eat dinner there all the time; we feel really comfy and safe there,” says Garth. The kitchen is filled with light natural wood cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and an espresso station.

It’s easy to see why, after years of being in the public eye, Garth is happiest these days when ensconced in this hilltop aerie. “This home is very strong, and it has a great confidence that sort of represents my life’s journey,” says Garth. “It represents me… and I’m on my own, and this is how I choose to make the house, all by myself.”

Design Details

TYPE

Single-family

LOCATION
Studio City

YEAR BUILT
1978

SQUARE FEET
3,210 original, 800 added

RENOVATION BUILDER
Scott Harris, Harris-Anderson General Contractors

DESIGNERS
Jennie Garth and Scott Harris

VENDORS 
Miele
All kitchen appliances

Lutron
Light control dimmers

Big Ass Fans
Haiku and Isis fans

CF + D Custom Fireplace Design
Custom fireplace in living room

LG
Washing machine

Foscarini
Big Bang suspension lamp

BoConcept
Platform bed and midcentury-style sectional

courtesy of: Modern Luxury