“I have been interested/obsessed with architecture and design ever since i was a little kid and shared a room with my sister,” she writes in her introduction to Haenisch’s new design book, Personal Space. “I was constantly rearranging our twin beds and pillows — always looking for a fresh take!”
These days, her projects are a little grander in scale. She reveals she has lived in homes designed by “such amazing California architects as John Lautner and A. Quincy Jones.” Though her current place, perched high above the beach in Malibu, may be her masterpiece.
For her mountain compound, which started out as “four disjointed buildings scattered across a fantastic plot of land,” according to Haenisch, the pair worked together to create a cohesive and welcoming home the actress describes as, “a place where I could have family and friends stay over, creating a community-like feeling that is hard to find in Los Angeles.”
“Working with Courteney is all about collaboration which is my favorite thing,” Haenisch tells PEOPLE. “She’s smart, passionate and visual. She also has very good taste. All those things make her the perfect client.”
Cox characterizes herself as a little tougher. “I’m very particular and I have strong opinions,” she admits in the book. “I’m not the type of person who would be content to just look on while the designer did all the work. Trip gave me that space. He is a great collaborator.” Though she notes, he did occasionally push her “beyond my comfort zone” in a good way.
Together, they crafted a collection of dwellings including the main house, a guest house, and a structure he calls “the screening house.” All are clad in charcoal painted horizontal wood paneling and feature random stone accents that tie them together and fit the natural landscape.
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“Trip found the rare balance between comfort and beauty,” she writes. “Not only did I end up with my dream house, I had the best time in the process.”
Personal Space by Trip Haenisch is available now.