February 22, 2019 10:05 AM

Eighteen years ago, Minnie Driver bought a little piece of the California dream: a double-wide mobile home in Malibu.

“It was the best thing that I ever did,” the Speechless actress, 49, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “I couldn’t have carried on living and working in Los Angeles if I hadn’t found this place.”

The English-born star, who grew up in part in Barbados, is a life-long surfer and was desperate to find a way to get in the water as often as possible. It served as a respite from “boiling hot” Southern California summers, and a place where she says she wanted friends and family to simply “chill and relax, and put some music on, and play your guitar in the shade.” 

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Joe Schmelzer/One Kings Lane

But after two decades as a bare-bones surf shack, the home was due for a revamp. “It had taken a beating from years of sand and surfboards,” Driver says. The main piece of furniture was an “amazing, old sofa that had really seen better days.” 

Joe Schmelzer/One Kings Lane

Driver orchestrated some structural changes to the home herself, moving walls to give the living space a better flow and changing her 10-year-old son Henry’s playroom into a guest room.

“Believe me, he wasn’t too pleased when I was like, ‘Okay. Dude, you’re canned. The playroom’s gone and it’s going to be a guest room for Granny,'” she recalls.

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Joe Schmelzer/One Kings Lane

When it came time to decorate the space, she called on One Kings Lane Interior Design to help transform the now-three-bedroom retreat into a quintessential West Coast bungalow—a major style departure for the antiques-loving star.

Driver’s main residence is a vintage home in the Hollywood Hills that she decorated in a busy, bohemian mix of color and pattern with help from her friend, the English and French designer Peter Dunham.

For this house she wanted the exact opposite.

“What was so great about working with One Kings Lane was just that they really understand that kind of clean, beautiful, beachy American thing,” she says.

Joe Schmelzer/One Kings Lane

Simplicity and and a restful vibe were key, as was staying true to the humble nature of the home. “Listen, be under no illusion. This is a double-wide mobile home,” says Driver. “Design-wise, it would have been a mistake to try and make something super fancy. You don’t want a whole lot of business [at the beach]. If you’ve been out surfing for hours, you’re tired and you’re cold, and you need to rest. That was the ethos behind it.”

A “very collaborative” makeover involved coating the interiors in ocean-inspired hues. The kitchen’s cabinets, backsplash and wall color, for example, create an ombré effect in shades of sea foam.

Joe Schmelzer/One Kings Lane

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They also adding light-colored furniture and classic beach house materials throughout. A framed bathing suit from the 1930s that Driver found at the Rose Bowl flea market is framed above the sofa; the coffee table is reminiscent of drift wood; and her collection of vintage surfboards (she also has a rack of the ones she actually uses out back) can be found decorating the outdoor spaces.

Now, she says, “it is a genuine retreat from Hollywood. It’s my favorite place to be.”

Shop the look of Minnie Driver’s Malibu beach house on One King’s Lane’s curated sale. Driver is also partnering with One Kings Lane to design a line of furniture, out later this spring.

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