The design-savvy stars transform a Beverly Hills estate into a home that is perfect—if perhaps not permanent
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.
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.
DeGeneres and De Rossi added a pond to the grounds of the estate, which consists of adjacent properties acquired over time.
A Ping-Pong table by Argentine artist Rirkrit Tiravanija makes a playful statement in the entrance hall, which features a Spanish Colonial bench from Lief and a Serge Mouille chandelier; the 19th-century Agra carpet is from the Melrose Project.
In the living room, a pair of slipcovered sofas and a cocktail table, all by Kathleen Clements Design, are grouped with Louis XVI bergères; the Avalon blanket is by Hermès, and the fringed throw is an antique textile. A mixed-media sculpture by Catherine Willis takes pride of place over the hearth; to its left are a Roman bust and works by Mark Grotjahn and Ed Ruscha. A Ruth Asawa sculpture hangs to the right of the fireplace.
The living room’s vintage library ladder displays a mask from DeGeneres’s collection of African art; the stool is byClarke & Reilly, the 18th-century table is from Axel Vervoordt, and the vintage lamp is a Jean Prouvé design.
Antique French cane chairs surround a 17th-century farm table in the dining room; the work on paper is by Warhol.
A custom-made glass display case in the kitchen stores tableware; the range is by Wolf, the rugs are antique, and the rustic floor is crafted of reclaimed teak beams from China.
DeGeneres and De Rossi added a screened porch, where a 19th-century trestle table is paired with wicker armchairs.
A floor of brass-trimmed leather distinguishes the library rotunda, where a 19th-century English marble-top table is centered beneath a skylight.
In a corner of the office are a vintage industrial cabinet, a Victorian wingback settee, and an 18th-century Italian santo figure; the bronze side table was found at Blackman Cruz.
DeGeneres keeps her Emmy awards in a 19th-century cabinet in her office.
In the master bedroom, a custom-made bed is upholstered in a Great Plains fabric and topped with an antique French textile from Lief; the Torpedo floor lamp is by Jane Hallworth, the cabinet is a Gustavian antique, the walls are upholstered in gray flannel by Holland & Sherry, and the nightstand on the right is a 17th-century Tuscan table from Richard Shapiro Antiques and Works of Art.
Elegant surfaces predominate in the master bath, with stained-walnut vanities, limestone countertops, and a marble floor; the mirrors with mother-of-pearl inlay are from India, the mobile is by Kevin Inkawhich, and the bronze cat sculpture is by Diego Giacometti.