Inside Celebrity Homes: Ellen DeGeneres’ Rustic California Home – Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres at their Beverly Hills house, which was designed by architects Buff & Hensman and later expanded by decorator Melinda Ritz. In a sitting area adjacent to the kitchen, an 18th-century French worktable is paired with a suite of vintage bent-plywood chairs by Gerald Summers; the large painting is an Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat collaboration, and the drawing to its left is by Bill Traylor. The cocktail table is 19th-century Belgian, the torchère is by Waldo’s Designs, and the Kirman rug is antique.
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. Given the approach, a visitor can be forgiven for expecting an armed reception committee or a pack of snarling Dobermans. Instead one is greeted by Mabel, a self-possessed black standard poodle, and Wolf, a shy white rescue dog, accompanied by their owner Ellen DeGeneres.
“We never had a house when I was growing up,” DeGeneres explains, settling into an armchair on one of several terraces with panoramic views of L.A. “We always rented. But my father would dream, and we used to look at houses all the time. I’d pick out which bedroom would be mine and get all excited.” Born in Metairie, Louisiana, she dropped out of college and worked as a housepainter and a bartender before developing a stand-up act that launched a rather more durable career in the entertainment industry. “The first thing I did when I made money was buy a house. And then—” “Another one,” De Rossi says. “And another one and another one and another one…”
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