Abigail Spencer Shows Off Her 'Timeless' L.A. Home — and the Sweet Tribute to Her Late Dad Inside
Discover the Timeless star's favorite piece in her house, and where she throws her famous frosé parties.
“I think because I’m creative and chaotic in my job, I need to have a lot of order in my home,” the actress tells PEOPLE. “I feel like if my house is messy then I can’t be messy in my work, and that’s what my job is all about.”
She also recently completed a year-long makeover on the house with the help of L.A.-based firm Fragments Identity to give the place a “Santa Fe meets French Riviera meets Gulf Coast of Florida” vibe, according to Spencer. Between bright white couches, warm wooden floors, clutter-free kitchen countertops and perfectly-placed plush pillows, each room in the house sparkles like a freshly-groomed model home.
But it’s not just for the photos—Spencer swears it always looks that way. “We keep it clean, it’s just how we roll,” she says with a laugh.
Her job brings her across the world for roles in shows like Suits (yes, she’s good friends with Meghan Markle and attended the royal wedding), Mad Men and Timeless. Currently, she’s living in North Carolina filming the Hulu original series Reprisal.
Spencer bought her Studio City house three years ago, but she says it wasn’t until this year that it really began to feel like home.
She was introduced to designer Tammy Price, the owner of Fragments Identity, on her birthday last year, and was instantly impressed by the way she used neutral colors, interesting textures and clever design in every space she touched.
“She always starts with a really clean base and tailors it to the human and also the space,” Spencer says. “After stalking her on Instagram we finally met and I showed her photos of my house. I said I needed help redoing some rooms, and I wanted her as my co-pilot.”
“I wanted something that felt classic, but that still had that desert vibe and a little bit of a beach vibe,” Spencer says, noting her desire to mix the flair of L.A. with the relaxed feel of her Floridian childhood. “Tammy just pulled it all together. She kept a lot of the stuff that I already had too, and was able to just revamp it.”
For example: “When she redid my TV room, she recovered the couch that was already measured for that room,” Spencer says. “Now it just looks like a brand new room, it’s incredible.”
While she says that the overhaul of the TV room was the most dramatic change during the makeover (“It used to be brown, dark and drab, but now I’m obsessed.”), Spencer’s new favorite space is her master bedroom.
“My bedroom is so clean and sacred,” Spencer says, “and it’s really the only place in the house where there is no pop of color. I have this ideology that in a bedroom the dreams should be the most colorful part of the room—so if you sleep in a really neutral and really calm environment, then the dreams can get more colorful.”
Earthy tones pair with artful wall hangings, linen pillows and wooden furniture in the bedroom, but the centerpiece of the room is a black-and-white, wall-size photograph of County Line Beach in Malibu, a location that holds special significance for the actress.
“My dad died eight years ago and he was a really famous professional surfer, and he actually had a heart attack at County Line, one of his favorite surf spots,” Spencer shared. “He called me an hour after he left to go surfing and said, ‘I’m having a heart attack and I need you to call 911. I love you, and pray.’ He hung up the phone and died about 10 minutes later, looking out at the waves.”
Spencer discovered the photograph, by Adam Secore, at an art show years later, and was immediately drawn to it. “I just got completely arrested by this photograph,” she says. “It was almost all white and there were little specks on the horizon. And I was like, ‘what is this, I know this.’ I got closer and it said County Line, and I realized it’s a photograph of exactly what my dad was looking at when he died. I was so overcome.”
The artist gifted her the photo immediately when he heard the connection, and it’s now her favorite piece in the house.
Though her bedroom may be subdued, a door in the room leads to the outside patio, where you’ll find the biggest pop of color in the entire home: a massive wall covered in vibrant bougainvilleas. “From February or March all the way until October they bloom bright magenta,” Spencer says. “They bring me so much joy.”
Though she doesn’t have much time to cook—”you’ll notice the kitchen is one of the smallest rooms in the house,” she says with a laugh—Spencer loves to entertain, especially in her backyard. “The outside is really the star of the house,” she says. “It’s entertainment-focused. There are so many places to hang out, and I’ve got this really cool big, white Moroccan table. I’m a Leo, I love to host!”
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With the majority of her family living far from L.A., Spencer has her “chosen family” over whenever she can, which often includes past co-stars. “The people I work with are my family,” she says. “I have these frosé parties during the summer where I rent a margarita machine and decorate it and everyone comes over. It’s so fun.”
And while she hasn’t been home in L.A. for a few months due to her filming schedule, Spencer is thrilled to be going back soon.
“The best part of traveling is wanting to come home, and I’ve really created that with my place now,” she says. “I feel so lucky to get to adventure, and I have such great adventure partners in my boyfriend [director Jesse Fleece] and my son and my friends. But I think what allows me to enjoy traveling is that I love to come home.”