The Speechless actress outfitted her new space with help from a fellow Brit in L.A., decorator Peter Dunham

By Mackenzie Schmidt
March 02, 2017 09:00 AM
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Minnie Driver was born in England, spent much of her childhood in Barbados and settled in Los Angeles. So it’s no wonder her new 1940s bungalow in the Hollywood Hills is a cultural mash-up that she is says is “not scared of being odd.”

“You wouldn’t necessarily put a chintz chair with a suzani in a living room and expect it to work, but I grew up in houses like that, and that’s what I’ve done here,” the actress, who launched her own home textile line in August, explains to Elle Decor in their April issue.

The cozy and colorful furnishings are the handiwork of a fellow L.A.-based Brit, designer Peter Dunham, who introduced Mediterranean, Far Eastern and African influences. Though the creative duo agree, the house’s overall feeling is undeniably of their homeland.

“Everyone who walks in here says that they expect to find the queen in the loo,” says Driver, who currently stars in the ABC comedy series Speechless. Among the other English elements is a backyard gazebo that she says “is so set up for tea, it’s not funny”

The home, which Driver shares with her boyfriend, curator Neville Wakefield, and 8-year-old son Henry, also takes plenty of inspiration from a former British colony: Dunham sheathed her master bedroom (including the ceiling) in an Indian block print.

“It was a huge leap of faith,” says Driver. “I was terrified that I was going to hate it.” But the risk paid off, and the end result, she says, is “exquisite. It’s like being inside a kaleidoscope.”

For all Driver’s particular elements and richly appointed spaces, the home also has an undeniable lived-in —and livable — feeling, that she attributes to her son. “There are often kids running around. The playroom is in the garage, and they’re not allowed in my lovely grown-up living room with sticky fingers.”

She admits, “the house gets full, but there are lots of places to get away from everybody. It’s nice to have communal areas, and it’s also nice to have places to disappear to.”

See the full feature in the April issue of Elle Decor, on newsstands March 7.