In the new HBO series Big Little Lies, Laura Dern’s character, uber-wealthy Renata Klein, lives in a modernist mansion perched on Monterey’s highest promontory, looking down across the landscape of power-moms below. It’s “cool, monochromatic, cinematic, very luxurious, and tranquil,” says Dern.
In real life, the actress, 50, and her children, Ellery, 15, and Jaya, 12, live in a colorful, bohemian home tucked into Los Angeles’s Mandeville Canyon, and filled with books, art and sentimental movie props gifted by the likes of Steven Spielberg.
“I had this fantasy of moving them into a treehouse,” she tells ArchDigest.com. Unfortunately, the super-lush setting she found came with a dark and dated home with little connection to the landscape. She brought in an architect and sought the advice of her friend David Lynch, an architecture buff who directed Dern in Blue Velvet in 1986.
Another famous friend came to her rescue for the decor: Courteney Cox recommended decorator Trip Haenisch, who outfitted Cox’s Malibu home, for the job. “She has a really great sense,” says Dern of Cox, adding that she and Julianne Moore would be “two of our greatest designers” if they weren’t actresses.
FROM COINAGE: From John Steinbeck’s Cottage to an Actual Castle: 5 Historical Homes You Can Rent
The home’s most intriguing pieces are enviable bits of movie history — Dern’s and Hollywood’s. Highlights include the fake An Imperial Affliction book from A Fault In Our Stars, the dress Lucille Ball wore in I Love Lucy’s iconic “Vitameatavegamin” episode, and the suit her father, Bruce Dern wore in The Great Gatsby.
But none live up to the figurine guarding the house’s front door: a miniature Tyrannosaurus rex that Spielberg gifted her upon wrapping the first Jurassic Park.
See more photos of Dern’s house at ArchDigest.com.