The Glee alum shows off her Lauren Canyon hideaway to PEOPLE
After Jane Lynch finished filming the comedy Best in Show, in which she plays an elite dog trainer, in 2000, she decided she needed a four-legged companion of her own — and a house to share with her.
So she adopted her first dog, a Lhasa apso named Olivia, and found a two-bedroom cabin located on a double lot in L.A.’s bohemian Lauren Canyon neighborhood, then spent every penny of her $70,000 savings on a down payment.
“I just fell in love with it,” Lynch, 58, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, of the cabin that once stood in the canyon she calls home.
However, the house wasn’t built to last. A decade later it was suffering from severe structural issues, which caused Lynch, who was then starring in the hit TV series Glee, to begin looking for another place to live.
“I kept coming back home and going ‘I don’t want to leave,'” says the Hollywood Game Night host.
So she didn’t. Instead she knocked the house almost all the way down — leaving only one wall behind — and enlisted architect David Alvarez and design-build firm Marmol Randziner to create a new 2,378-square-foot, two-story home that “still had the spirit of that original house,” but with modernized features and an additional upstairs area.
When it came time to decorate, Lynch, who now counts herself as a design aficionado, admits that she didn’t nail the style on her first try.
“When I first started settling in here, I tried to go modern and kind of rustic, but it just felt cold to me,” she says.
So she turned to a friend, Will & Grace set designer Peter Gurski to help her choose paint colors for her walls and the drapes in her living room. “He came in and really made the house sing,” Lynch says.
She also credits Gurski with helping her design her back porch, which features a heart-shaped light and a colorful homage to her production company which her neighbor Spike Stewart painted for her.
“I named the corporate entity from which I work Canyon Lady Productions because I’m a big fan, of course, of Laurel Canyon — that’s where I live,” Lynch says in a video tour of the property (top). “But I’m also a big fan of Joni Mitchell and one of my favorite albums is Ladies of the Canyon. It’s plural, but I am one lady of the canyon, so this sign makes me very happy.”
Inside, Lynch also incorporated personal mementos into the space, like a Singer sewing machine that used to belong to her grandma, which now sits on a table in her foyer, and a bust of her 12-year-old rescue dog Millie, which is proudly displayed on a table in her living room.
She also keeps a wall of family photos and a space to display her four Emmys, as well as a SAG Award and a few People’s Choice Awards. Close by, Lynch has a memorial shelf for all of her beloved former animals — as she says she hates clutter but collects “old dogs,” like her current fur babies Millie and Bernice, also 12. She also has black cocker spaniel Rumi, 2.
“Without animals, a house does not feel like a home,” Lynch says.
She also credits her partner, Jennifer Cheyne, 57, with giving the house its “completely eclectic” vibe, as she is the one responsible for balancing out Lynch’s more modern style (like their high-end sofa and CB2 coffee table) with more rustic and vintage pieces.
“[Jennifer] has beautiful things. And she’ll always say, ‘Oh, that’s a fine thing,'” Lynch says. “I feel that way about things now. If it’s not a ‘fine thing’ I don’t keep it around.”
In addition to the two-bedroom, two-bathroom main house — where the couple live with Cheyne’s son Harry, 26 — Lynch added a studio over the garage with a bathroom and a separate one-bedroom, one-bath guest cottage, where her nephew Danny, 24, resides.
For Lynch, this home is more than just a roof over her and her family’s head. “I’m probably going to live here forever,” she says. “There’s just such peace up here.”
Tune in to Lynch’s upcoming special episode of Hollywood Game Night on May 23 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC, which she is hosting in honor of Red Nose Day. Kelly Clarkson Kenan Thompson, Kristen Bell, Jennifer Garner, Sean Hayes, Jeff Goldblum, Leslie Mann and Thandie Newton will be competing to raise money as part of Red Nose Day’s campaign to end child poverty.