“I know it sounds crazy to most people, the idea of renovating that many houses,” says Meg Ryan, who recently completed her ninth remodeling project.
“But I love renovating. I think it’s tied to living the actor’s life. As an actor, you are so rarely in control. You’re always saying words that someone else has given you, standing in a room that someone else has designed, to create a reality that someone else wants to see. But with decorating I am in control; it’s a chance for me to bring my vision into the world,” she says. The actress shared inside her latest fix — a light-filled loft in New York City’s Soho neighborhood that the New York Post reports has sold for $10 million — in Architectural Digest‘s November 2016 issue.
Ryan, 54, admits she had been a bit peripatetic, living in numerous New York apartments after moving backing to the East Coast following her split from husband Dennis Quaid, with whom she has a 24-year-old son, Jack. Now, she explains, she’s finally ready to put down roots in the city. “The itinerant life of an actor? I’m tired of that. I want a home. And this is it. This home feels representative of me right now,” she says.
The movie star and newly minted director — her World War II drama Ithaca is out now — worked with architect Joel Barkley and designer Monique Gibson, who also decorated the AD-featured South Carolina home of John Mellancamp, who PEOPLE reports the actress is dating once again.
Ryan asked Gibson to incorporate pieces the actress has collected over decades, while working on films in various international cities. “I never used to be sentimental,” says Ryan. “But now I see the beauty of layers, of having the periods of your life come together in harmony.” The vintage work table in the living room is one of her finds, as are two black-and-white photographs in the kitchen.
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And it’s not just Ryan’s personal history that’s layered into the space. “At one point Cindy Sherman had used it for her photo studio,” Ryan explains of the space. “In fact, what’s now my coatroom was her darkroom.” Further back, the rooms had been used for garment manufacturing. During the home’s recent renovation, her contractor collected all the buttons he’d found in the cracks between the floor boards and gave Ryan a jar filled with them when the project was complete.
“It’s amazing what you learn about old spaces when you work with them,” she recalls of the gift. “I love it. It reminds me of the layers and lives of this place, this space.”