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At Home with ... Vanessa Williams

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When Vanessa Williams discovered a 1905 carriage house in Westchester County, N.Y., 17 years ago, “I just fell in love,” she says. But filming her ABC hit Ugly Betty and recording her new album The Real Thing meant spending most of her time far from home. Thankfully, Betty‘s recent relocation to New York City has finally allowed Williams to return to the house where she’s raised her kids (Melanie, 21, Jillian, 20, Devin, 16, and Sasha, 9). “We have great memories in all of the rooms,” she says.

The house’s seaside feel was inspired by Williams’s favorite hotel, Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica. “I went to the front desk and said, ‘Who is your interior designer?'” She now has the same leather chairs and walnut floors as the hotel does.