"It had all those things I had hoped and dreamed about," Johnson says of the Tarzana, Calif., 5 bedroom they moved into and decorated during quarantine

By Christina Dugan
June 18, 2021 12:00 PM
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Shortly after celebrating their one-year wedding anniversary in April 2020, Val Chmerkovskiy and Jenna Johnson decided they were ready to make their next big move — into their first house together.

In this week's issue of PEOPLE, the Dancing with the Stars duo open up about purchasing their "cozy" L.A. home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, how they managed to negotiate on decor, and why they think it's the perfect place to start a family.

Val Chmerkovskiy and Jenna Johnson
Credit: Larsen&Talbert

The couple, who met on on the ABC competition show and began dating in 2017, bought a charming 2,977-sq.-ft. pad tucked away in a quiet neighborhood of Tarzana, CA, with plenty of natural light, a spacious backyard and what Chmerkovskiy dubbed "good vibes" all around.

"I absolutely fell in love," Johnson, 27, says. "It had all of those little things that I hoped and dreamed about."

Val Chmerkovskiy and Jenna Johnson
Credit: Larsen&Talbert

But when it came to the decorating process, the pair faced some unique challenges and turned to Havenly designer Heather Goerzen to help them select pieces that fit both of their design ethos.

"We were very indecisive, so there were a lot of negotiations involved," says Chmerkovskiy, 35.

"We stared at coffee tables for two weeks!" adds Johnson.

Val Chmerkovskiy and Jenna Johnson
Credit: Larsen&Talbert

One thing they could agree on? Their gallery wall in the den.

The pair framed nine of their favorite photos that celebrate their love. "We call it the 'Val and Jenna Shrine' to show how humble we are," jokes Chmerkovskiy.

Val Chmerkovskiy and Jenna Johnson
Credit: Larsen&Talbert
Val Chmerkovskiy and Jenna Johnson
Credit: Larsen&Talbert

Quarantine also gave the newlyweds something they'd never expereinced before: a normal domestic life.

"COVID allowed us time to be humans, not just artists, not performers, not working all the time," says Chmerkovskiy. "We've spent the last six years on the road. This happened exactly when it needed to happen. Everything we've done in this home, we've done."

Val Chmerkovskiy and Jenna Johnson
Credit: Larsen&Talbert

Now, they're looking forward to the possibilities that lie ahead.

"What's great about this place is that it's going to continue to get better because there are still corners of this house that we haven't done," says Chmerkovskiy. "And one huge corner is the room where, even when we first saw the house, we were like, 'Oh, this is the baby's room.'"

But right now? "It's covered in boxes," he says with a laugh. "It's our storage room."

Val Chmerkovskiy and Jenna Johnson
Credit: Larsen&Talbert

In the meantime, Chmerkovskiy and Johnson are enjoying their cozy space (with their pup Ziggy) and remain grateful for the life they're building together.

"This is definitely a home that we're comfortable starting our family in," he says. "There's a lot of heart here. It's not perfect and there's a lot of things that could still change and grow, but it's ours — and it's perfect for us."