The outspoken Chelsea Handler told Variety, “I have, obviously, very strong and loud opinions and I like to share them.” Handler likes to share her cozy home too. In an Open Door tour with Architectural Digest, she reminisced about having people over and family and friends using her house as a crash pad. She proudly showed off her games and backyard oasis, while gushing over the bunk beds she had made for her nieces and nephews. Handler jokingly assumes her kitchen would be great for cooking, but the espresso machine and island for late-night hangouts are her favorite pieces. Don’t be fooled by her acerbic wit, though. It appears she might be a softie on the inside — just like her home.
The comedian, author, and TV host has had some busy years in the Bel Air house since moving there in 2010. To make it into the home she was looking for, she demoed enclosures and started building the warm space residing in her imagination. Now, the outdoors encroach upon the interiors in a natural and boho-chic kind of way while, glass walls move aside to let her pass. The living room fireplace beckons from her kitchen, yet the house is not completely open and boasts private spaces as well. Handler’s bedroom suite is her sanctuary, and as long as she has ice nearby, she concedes that’s about all she needs. Let’s peek inside and see how she lives it up.
Classic comfortable decor
Chelsea Handler asserts there’s nothing stuffy about her. “I’m from New Jersey. It’s impossible to be stuffy if you’re from there,” she shared with Architectural Digest. Instead, she aimed to create a space that focused on entertaining. Her living room, which she calls the adult room, features comfortable and contemporary furniture centered around the glowing fireplace, a high-pile area rug, and shelves filled with gifts and collections. Adjacent, a large table made from reclaimed Venetian piers is flanked by chrome and thickly padded chairs. She’s quick to mention that she knew she had to have the smart quilted sectional in her den as soon as she sat on it. The pieces are modern yet still exude comfort, something it seems Handler wasn’t willing to allow L.A. glamour to supersede.
Like the comedian herself, who greets Architectural Digest at the door in a cherry red outfit, her home is far from colorless. Paintings and photographs provide saturated pops of emerald green, turquoise, and fuchsia. A navy blue sofa enlivened with orange velvet pillows dominates the living room. And, in the primary bedroom, a pair of grape felt chaises invite Handler to relax and take in the beautifully wood-beamed ceiling.
For style like Handler’s, opt for a warm neutral backdrop and add bold color with artwork and accents. She describes her style as masculine, so go with stripes over floral prints. And finally, choose modern, classic furniture, but only if it’s comfortable.
Handler admits that as a city girl she didn’t expect to need such persistent and abundant ties to nature in her home’s design, yet she’s happy to have been persuaded. During the renovation of her property, walls were knocked down for the sake of light and flow, and to create a view of the backyard oasis and surrounding tree canopy. She even sacrificed a fireplace in her bedroom for an eyeful of green, and she calls the treehouse-like space her haven. The two exterior walls are mostly glass, and a balcony overlooks the backyard and landscaped hillside.
The author has had her pool refinished several times to replicate the exact shade and reflection desired. Having spent every summer since childhood on Martha’s Vineyard with family, it makes sense that she would be particular about it. Handler lamented that she wanted to install a water slide from the second story to the pool until her lawyer advised against it. On the first floor, patios featuring lounge areas flank both sides of the living room, creating an inside/outside grown-up playground when the glass doors are opened. It’s a combination of fun, comfy, and relaxed, with a touch of zen thrown in.
To improve the view looking out of your own windows, Trendir recommends ensuring every inch of each window is unobstructed by décor. Keep curtains neutral or intentionally leave them out. To create a breezy flow, invest in outdoor spaces just off your main living areas.
Chelsea Handler has a deep connection to books and for her, having been surrounded by them everywhere in her house as a child, they make a place feel like home. A writer herself, five of Handler’s titles have been number one New York Times Best Sellers (via People ). The desk in her office is lined with books. In her bedroom, a modular shelf unit is laden, a bench at the foot of the bed is piled high, and a nightstand is stacked with even more books. Yet it doesn’t stop there. She keeps books in the sauna. Handler quipped that the spiritual guides remind her not to be a jerk, and she feels that no matter how difficult life gets, one can always find optimism in a book.
Aside from a world of content, covers and jackets offer plenty of free-form, casual color. They exude a feeling of warmth and are a great introduction to any space that reads cold or staid. Take spines to soaring heights with a disappearing tower shelf for a modern and whimsical option. Alternately, fill cases and pile surfaces with random arrangements in a friendly yet mad-cap manner, or turn the spines out and line them up neatly to create calm.
It’s all fun and games
For Chelsea Handler, her home is a place where friends and family congregate. Catered pool parties, cocktails in her closet, and bunk-bed sleepovers are a few escapades she happily hosts. She commissioned an Australian design team to craft her outdoor furniture, including extra long sofas, a large sectional, and an extended dining table that seats twelve. Additionally, there are heat lamps and lanterns. Much of the pieces are arranged to surround the patio ping-pong matches, for which Handler warns us not to challenge her to a contest.
Inside, there’s a game room with a cozy seating area and an arcade machine with 18 choices, including Donkey-Kong and Ms. Pac-Man, Handler’s favorites. Her friends’ children can’t get enough of it, and the comic confesses to enjoying the games herself (via Today).
If you have an extra room you’d like to transform into an enjoyable diversion, Extra Space suggests an arcade, a billiards room, or a casino. Your home might not have the square footage for a dedicated game or media room, but you can still encourage entertainment and play. During nice weather, outdoor games are a fun option, and if you have a pool, it’s likely enough. A ping-pong table can be set up on the patio or in the garage. In cooler months, add a fire pit, heat lamps, and warm beverages, or head inside to watch a game of football or a tennis match.
Chelsea Handler’s house is not messy or cluttered, however, it doesn’t quite fit the shelter magazine mold. The spaces are not spare enough and there is an excess of personalization. It seems that the objects she surrounds herself with are as essential in her home as the load-bearing walls and her five ice-makers. Photographs are prized possessions, adorning many surfaces throughout. In the game room, two large walls are covered with images of friends, family, and adventures in a gallery-style display. In her primary closet, an often fetishized feature of Hollywood homes, she notes she cares more for the photographs on a shelf (and her mini-fridge) than the rest of it (via Architectural Digest). Her walls also present maps of locations that hold meaning, like Martha’s Vineyard, and photographs that feature pools, beaches, and waves. It’s all another way to tell her story.
A gallery wall of pictures is a great way to add interest and warmth to your space. It can be as symmetric and organized or as random as you’d like; similar frames and sizes will lend a cleaner appearance while varied dimensions and styles feel artsy and free-spirited. Similarly, group a collection on a sideboard or dresser for a more visible alternative to a photo album. This is an aesthetic that centers around celebration and sharing — memories and cherished people — instead of paring back to a minimum.