The actor shares his Hollywood Hills home with partner Emily Ward, the mother to his twins and the house's interior designer

By Hannah Chubb
March 25, 2019 03:12 PM

The Hollywood Hills were alive with the sound of romance when Giovanni Ribisi asked his girlfriend of one month, designer Emily Ward, to help him create the house of his dreams.

The actor, 44, best known for his roles in Sneaky Pete, Avatar and as Phoebe’s brother Frank on Friends, was a year and a half into a dead-end bachelor pad construction project when Ward and her design partner, Louisa Pierce, took him and his 1939 Monterey Revival under their wing.

It wasn’t long before Ribisi had not only a beautiful home, but a life partner in Ward, who moved into the house upon completion. The pair also welcomed twins Enzo and Maude in December 2018.

Ward describes their home as “romantic and moody” in a new feature in Architectural Digest. Because it is situated on a flat parcel in the Hollywood Hills, a shadow is often cast across parts of the home, which Ward says makes you feel a little bit like you’re in England, especially because she painted the walls in soft grays and greens that enhance the effect.

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A variety of elegant yet dark items are present throughout the home, adding to the romantic feel. Worn vintage armchairs are paired with leather-topped stools and dark wooden side tables in the living room, while a collage of moody artwork fills the walls in all the rooms. “Someone came over the other night and said, ‘If Jane Austen lived in Hollywood, she would live in this house,’” Ward recalls.

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Ward admits that, despite its original incarnation as a bachelor pad for Ribisi, she was “always envisioning this as a family home.” For that reason, precious items like a Picasso painting share space with more practical items from affordable stores like T.J. Maxx.

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That said, when the couple found out they were expecting twins, they did make a few changes. The Pierce & Ward design firm’s office, for example, became the nursery, and the formal dining room became a den where the children could play. “With kids, you’re not going to be using a huge, grand dining table,” Ward says. “The kitchen is where we are all the time.”

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In addition to the kitchen, Ribisi and Ward spend the majority of their time in the nursery with the twins, which is covered in a bird-and-pomegranate-motif wallpaper by Morris & Co. and features papier-mâché animal heads. “I wanted it to be gender neutral, so I thought animals would be a nice theme,” Ward says. “Thank God I love it so much, because I don’t leave it.”

Family is everything to the happy couple, and Ribisi says he has his family-over-everything Sicilian heritage to thank for that. Two of his sisters and their families live close by, so he and Ward often host meals and get togethers. Luckily, they have a gorgeous backyard living area to accommodate their guests.

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“I come from a big family of Sicilian farmers, so I appreciate that sense of community,” Ribisi says. “And this is part and parcel of Emily and Louisa’s philosophy, too. Their homes aren’t just paranoid comfort that becomes vacuous…There’s actual, legitimate communion. It feels like home. I feel like I belong here.”

To read the full feature and see more photos, visit architecturaldigest.com.