February 20, 2012 12:00 PM

As surgeon Addison Montgomery on Private Practice, Kate Walsh is an expert on the inner workings of anatomy. So it’s little surprise that when house hunting in 2007, the actress first fell in love with “the bones” of the 1920s abode she now calls home. “It has the architecture and the great detail of a Spanish-style house,” says Walsh, 44, “but it’s unique in its airiness; it’s not dark and heavy.” With the help of her interior decorator Melissa Levander (also the set decorator on her hit ABC drama), Walsh set out to balance the Spanish influence with a modern feel. “I put in skylights to keep it open and light,” she says. “I wanted it to be comfortable but elegant too.” Her one concession: adapting to the lifestyles of her cats (two orange tabbies, Pablo and Billy) and dogs (a Basenji mix, Lucy, and her German Shepherd mix, Rosie). “Sadly they have the run of the house,” says the actress with a sigh. “All these beautiful pieces of furniture have been slightly destroyed by the cats’ clawing. I put scratching posts all around.” Walsh, who has been busy creating her second fragrance, Billionaire Boyfriend, credits Levander with keeping her in check when it comes to decor decisions. “I love color, but I need to be held back so it’s not overdone. And I love the fun of having a house with a collected feel. [Without Melissa], it would look like a garage sale!”

People TABLET BONUS VIDEO A Tour of Kate’s Home

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