The Oscar-nominated actress, 78, tells PEOPLE she wanted to build something “completely different” when she returned to the East Coast in 2014

By Morgan Smith
September 17, 2020 03:59 PM
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Marsha Mason’s Connecticut home is much different from the Spanish-style beach house made famous by her Netflix show Grace & Frankie — but it’s simple, stunning and full of surprises.

The Oscar-nominated actress, 78 — who has starred in films including The Goodbye Girl and Cinderella Liberty, and on the small screen in Frasier and The Good Wife — moved in two years ago after returning to the East Coast in 2014. Mason tells PEOPLE she eyed land in Connecticut because she has “dear friends” in the area.

She designed the home with friends Lindsay Law and Michael Halpern, and worked with local company Country Life Construction to build the large, rectilinear structure.

John Gruen

Mason, who has been building her own homes for quite some time (including her previous properties in Los Angeles and New Mexico), knew she wanted something “completely different” for her new place: “a modern, contemporary house with simple lines, a lot of windows, and also green,” she says.

John Gruen
John Gruen

There are four large maple trees and a section of wetland on the Connecticut property, as well as a family of wild turkeys, who frequently visit the star and her dog, Tootsie. “I’ve always liked the idea or encouraging wild animals with a natural habitat,” says Mason.

The actress wanted to “downsize and simplify” for her new house (this home is 2,800 square feet compared to her last home, a whopping 7,000 square foot space inspired by an Argentinian estancia).

John Gruen

Building the house came with “many surprises,” she acknowledged, the biggest undertaking being two huge, steel I-beams they needed to install to hold the slightly slanted roof and accommodate solar panels. “I’m thrilled that I did it … because I have been able to save substantially on my electricity bill,” she says.

The house is sleek and contemporary — “almost monastic in its shell,” Mason jokes. There’s a massive Stûv wood fireplace in the living room, porcelain tile and an entirely glass wall in the back.

John Gruen
John Gruen

Its interior, however, is much more eclectic, with brightly colored rugs that complement the large, eye-catching artworks.

“[The house] reminds me of a very large Tribeca loft at times, as well as a small house that sits like it belongs with the field,” she says.

John Gruen
John Gruen

Much of Mason’s decor pays homage to her career and travels. There are the awards — including two Golden Globes — neatly framed on her office bookshelf, and pieces from her trips to Egypt, 19th-century Spanish chairs, French country pieces are scattered in rooms throughout the house.

Impressive art and tall ceilings aside, there’s are a few simple reasons Mason feels at home in her new space: “All my stuff is in it! And my dog, Tootsie! And being close to friends.”