THE DOSSIER: NAME: Lea Michele. TRADE: Actress, Glee.VIBE: Cozy Californian. ABODE: West Hollywood bungalow, CA.
When our editor-at-large, interior designer and fashion stylist Estee Stanley, convinced close friend and client Lea Michele to submit her new place to a Domaine-style makeover, the stakes could not have been higher. “You know this could be the end of our relationship, right?” the actress asked Stanley, only half kidding. We agreed to an against-all-odds timeline: four hours to move nearly all of Michele’s possessions into temporary storage, unload a bungalow’s worth of shopping, style the selections, and have everything ready for an unveiling at 1:30 p.m., in time for her homecoming.
CASING THE JOINT Like any covert-op worth its truckload of rugs from Lawrence of La Brea (as the case happened to be), Stanley and Domaine editorial director Mat Sanders came prepared, having hit Brenda Antin, Nathan Turner, Lucca Antiques and Pat McGann in the La Cienega Design Quarter earlier in the week, and snapped up tableware from West Elm and Table Art. “The only direction she gave me was that she wanted it to be cozy,” Stanley says of the jumping off point. “And not to touch Barbara.” (Michele has curated a small photo collection dedicated to the Funny Girl diva.)
MOVING IN Streisand oath taken, the mission began in the living room, where an invitingly deep Brenda Antin couch upholstered in French linen satisfied Michele’s request for comfort. An English library cabinet from Nathan Turner was brought in as the room’s focal point, with a pair of rattan chairs placed on either side of the tiled fireplace, and a duo of vintage rug upholstered chairs from Nicky Kehoe set behind the custom oak topped metal coffee table. The chair-dense configuration was intended to coin a salon vibe. “It’s a room for sitting and conversing,” Sanders says. Michele’s own coffee table books—Charlotte Mullin’s Painting People and another starring you-know-who—personalize the space.
A NEW YORK MINUTE In the entryway Stanley paid homage to Michele’s native Manhattan with a traditional wingback chair upholstered in weathered black leather and updated with a linen cushion. The actress’ own equestrian-themed giclée print hangs over an indoor garden themed vignette, with a muted Persian rug providing a family heirloom-feeling backdrop. “I’m definitely feminine, but at the same time I don’t want my house to be overtly so,” says Michele. “I wanted it to have touches of masculinity, and that chair is such a nice balance.” Around the corner, a decidedly ladylike writing desk hosts the star’s SAG and People’s Choice Awards. “I call it my Bradshaw,” she confesses.
GOOD THINGS COME IN SMALL FLOORPLANS Opting to keep Michele’s Restoration Hardware steel and reclaimed elm dining table along with a trio of industrial dining room chairs, the team added a one-of-a-kind French Baroque-inspired blue velvet settee to the mix. “Especially in smaller houses, you need something original and funky, to give it that flavor,” says Stanley. “People tend to get scared and want to leave it at one or two pieces, but really you need to do the opposite to create that homey-ness.”
THE REVEAL “No sooner did we wipe the dust off the edge of the entry table and the last mover was out the door than we heard the gate open and saw Michele’s little Prius coming up the drive,” Sanders says, describing the scene as a Price is Right moment. “She squealed and sort of almost cried,” Stanley agrees. “I think she was shocked that she loved it.” Ask Michele however, and she insists: “I always had the utmost faith!” Whether or not she’d swear to it on Babs is another story.