The actor and his wife, Jillian, adapt one of Frank Gehry’s earliest houses as a vibrant and light-filled family compound
“We were looking for a little land and space, and a house with some architectural significance,” theGrey’s Anatomy star recalls of their search for a new home five years ago. “The exterior’s simplicity appealed to me, and the inside felt very expansive and calming. Everywhere you looked there was something visually pleasing.” Today it is the warm, artfully decorated home that actor Patrick Dempsey and his wife, Jillian, a makeup artist and jewelry designer, share with their three children, 12-year-old daughter Talula and seven-year-old twin sons Darby and Sullivan.
Patrick Dempsey made the outdoors a family fun zone, with a broad, flat lawn for soccer games, an alfresco kitchen with a pizza oven, a breezy dining area topped by a canopy of woven wicker, and coops, hutches, and other enclosures for the Dempseys’ ever-growing menagerie of chickens, miniature donkeys, rabbits, goats, pigs, and one rescued African tortoise. (Rounding out this relatively peaceable kingdom are three dogs.) And because of Jillian’s interest in organic gardening, “we converted the Glasscocks’ riding arena into an extensive tract of planting beds for an array of vegetables and flowers.”
The luxurious outdoor entertaining and play areas add a gracious dimension to a house that, despite its interior emendations and refinements, remains a somewhat unconventional setup for a family of five. “The house is very warm and communal, and all the vibrant spaces that Gehry devised really inspire creativity,” says Jillian, who maintains a sculpture studio and jewelry workshop on the mezzanine level. “But it has its challenges,” she continues with a laugh. “The kitchen is pretty small, and you can hear every sound that’s made all over the house. Occasionally Patrick and I use the Airstream parked in the garden for date night.”