EVER AFTER WITH GINNIFER GOODWIN
It took six years and countless antiquing trips, but actress Ginnifer Goodwin has finally perfected a fairy-tale-worthy L.A. lair.
On ABC’s Once Upon a Time, Ginnifer Goodwin plays a modern-day Snow White, a casting no-brainer: The 34-year-old—Ginny, to friends—has signature raven hair, flawless porcelain skin, and delicate elfin features that could have originated in an illustrator’s imagination. And what’s more, she’s still in touch with her “inner eight-year-old, who has always wanted to be a Disney princess,” Goodwin says.
But offscreen, in her adopted hometown of Los Angeles, the word princess calls to mind images of pink terry-cloth tracksuits, tiny dogs, and tiaras—the exact opposite of Goodwin’s polished, sophisticated style. Thankfully, the Memphis native—best known for playing the youngest and sweetest of the sister wives through five seasons of HBO’s Big Love and for her roles in Walk the Line, Something Borrowed, and He’s Just Not That Into You—decorated her nearly century-old Hollywood home in a way that sidesteps any “that’s hot” princessy vibes while still allowing her to live like one. (It also doesn’t hurt that Goodwin is dating her show’s square-jawed Prince Charming, Josh Dallas.)
“I’m not nomadic by nature,” says the actress, who films in Vancouver but will sometimes fly to L.A. for 24-hour blips, just to sleep in her own bed, confessing that she practically has to be “sandblasted from home for events.” She chose the airy two-bedroom house in Whitley Heights, a Hollywood Hills enclave where Charlie Chaplin once resided, for its seclusion, but also because of its only-in-Tinseltown bachelorette-pad pedigree: Goodwin bought the place in 2007 from Busy Philipps, and previous tenants include Rachel Bilson and Rose McGowan.
And though it has been six years since she moved in, Goodwin is still savoring the nesting process. To make things go smoothly, she enlisted Amy Kehoe of design firm Nickey Kehoe (on the recommendation of Big Love costar and real-life best friend Jeanne Tripplehorn) to help her shop for antiques and other touches that would add a lived-in feel: in the dining area, a gilded mirror from the Melrose Trading Post flea market; in the back entryway, 150-year-old blue-and-cream William Morris wallpaper populated with animals and flourishes that she jokes is “a little Snow White flavor.”
In what Goodwin calls the “salon” and the “ballroom”—her rooms go by bygone-era names, a wink to the actress’s Southern upbringing—two portrait galleries show off her great-aunt, a vaudeville performer of some renown, Nan Halperin.
“Just like in fashion, it’s all about balance,” says Goodwin. “I pick one thing to feature. That’s translated to the house, like in the kitchen table’s bright yellow pop.”
And despite the grandeur of the living room’s high ceilings and dramatic green drapes (which, after much debate, Kehoe and Goodwin exchanged for a darker, richer velvet and raised higher up to emphasize the room’s scale), the living and dining areas are cozy, unpretentious, and brightened by throw pillows embroidered with tennessee and a giant mauve ottoman Kehoe designed to be a centerpiece “where we can set trays of food, but also put our feet up!” Goodwin says.
“This is my sacred space, my heaven, my oasis,” she adds. “I want, walking in, to feel like it’s the kind of place where people stop by unannounced and it’s hard to get them to leave.” It seems to be working. “When people come over, we make noble plans to walk to the movies or bum around Amoeba Music but end up sitting here, kibitzing all night.”
Or, in lieu of another Hollywood step and repeat, Goodwin will bring the party home. Her annual Halloween bashes have become so epic—the first one left blue glitter, feathers, and sticky alcohol puddles on the dark stained-wood floors—that she now puts down vinyl flooring preparty, another Big Love castmate suggestion, from pal Chloë Sevigny.
For more mellow celebrations—Hanukkah, for instance, or a “just because” wig party, for which she provided wacky dos to the guests—Goodwin maintains her cheery party-planning enthusiasm. And it’s not too difficult to imagine her flitting about the kitchen beforehand, tending to brisket or fried okra while chirpy cartoon birds tie her apron strings in a bow.
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