Ellen Degeneres’s Design Ambitions


We’ve watched the renovation shows on HGTV, but Ellen DeGeneres is putting her stamp on the LA real estate market.

The comedian has taken some of her creativity and applied to a multitude of homes he has bought, revamped, and later sold to friends, amassing an amazing collection of fine art and vintage Danish and French décor along the way. And while she’s developed her tastes, she’s created vastly different homes, steadily becoming more sophisticated with each new space.

“I think I wanted to be an interior designer when I was 13,” she told The New York Times. “I remember one specific moment in this one house. Setting up my bedroom, wanting to do it in a certain way.”

Her love of décor has finally spilled over into her career as she announced her newest project, “Ellen’s Design Challenge”, a six-episode show on HGTV where contestants will compete to build furniture airing next year.

The talk show host first caught the decorating bug back in 2007 while living in a Beverly Hills home designed by Buff & Hensman for Laurence Harvey. DeGeneres and wife Portia de Rossi transformed the home into a compound by purchasing the two neighboring properties, adding two guest houses, an underground park garage, a pool, a fitness center, and a garden with a koi pond. From there she quickly snapped up, redecorated, and sold a ranch on Thousand Oaks, a pied-à-terre in Beverly Hills; a Hall Levitt designed home in Trousdale Estates; and a ‘60s Malibu beach house.

For each estate the star has tapped longtime associates and friends to realize her vision, including head of design studio Matt Blacke, Cliff Fong. He admitted that DeGeneres looked to him for many of her early projects until she felt confident, but she now feels all of the projects have been an education in design. “I learned that furniture is art; that if you spend money on a couch, it can look pretty, but it can also be made by an important designer,” she explained. “I started shopping in a different way, and redoing homes and recognizing what a great home was.”

And it seems she’s found the greatest home of all to finally settle in the Brody House, designed in part by A. Quincy Jones, William Haines, and Garrett Eckbo for the structure, interior and grounds, respectively. Built in 1949 for wealthy art collectors Sidney and Frances Brody, the home boasts a huge Matisse ceramic in the enclosed courtyard on two and a half acres in Holmby Hills, making it one of the best home in the area. “I think there’s nowhere to go from here. It’s the best house I’ve ever lived in,” she told the paper. “Where would I go?”