Kirsten Dunst dot Org » Blog Archive » Step Inside Kirsten Dunst’s Charming Ranch House Tucked In The San Fernando Valley

John / October 5th, 2021

Of the many story lines that converge in the marvelously idiosyncratic Los Angeles home of Kirsten Dunst, one of the most compelling is the enduring relationship between the actor & interior designer Jane Hallworth. The two met just over 20 years ago, when Dunst was only 18 years old & Hallworth, having recently alighted in California from university in England, was assisting her sisters, Dunst’s longtime stylists Nina & Clare Hallworth. A few years later, as Hallworth was beginning to establish herself as a player in the world of interiors, Dunst turned to her friend for help in designing the star’s first proper L.A. home, a kind of reimagined Scandinavian lake house tucked in the Hollywood Hills.

“I wasn’t particularly interested in clothes & cars, but I was excited about my home,” Dunst recalls. “Jane really educated me about furniture & design. I was her student in that realm.”

No teacher could ask for a more inquisitive, appreciative pupil. “Kirsten has worked with some of the world’s best costume & set designers, so she has an amazing eye. She gets inspired by beautiful things. She can see the poetry in them. For her, it’s not about style or pedigree per se, but that sweet, lovely call of home,” Hallworth says. “For that first house, I didn’t lead her to trivial pieces. We didn’t buy much, but what we did buy was the best.

Indeed, many of the objets de vertu acquired during that initial collaboration—like a set of steel Gio Ponti chairs with teal leather upholstery, & a Baguès ship-form crystal chandelier—have made their way, nearly two decades later, into Dunst’s current abode, a 1930s ranch house in the San Fernando Valley, where she lives with her fiancé, fellow actor Jesse Plemons, and their two sons, three-year-old Ennis & baby James. “I’m really a Valley girl. It’s just more peaceful here than the other side of the hill,” Dunst says matter-of-factly, pooh-poohing the antiquated snobbery of the L.A. real estate market.

After tackling the less sexy, albeit crucial, aspects of the renovation, such as structural reinforcement & the installation of new period-sensitive windows, Dunst & Hallworth outfitted the home with a broad array of furnishings & objects tied to specific milestones in the actor’s life & career. “That was a Spider-Man purchase,” Dunst says, gesturing toward a shapely, seductive Frits Henningsen wingback chair. “The Elizabeth Peyton portrait of Marie Antoinette was, predictably, from my Marie Antoinette days,” she continues, referring to her star turn in director Sofia Coppola’s toothsome 2006 biopic.

Many of the more eccentric heirlooms & curiosities in the home are connected to Dunst’s family. The antique ship models that adorn the living & dining rooms, for example, were fabricated by her grandfather, while an antique mourning wreath of white feathers in the family room was crafted by Dunst’s great-aunt on her Minnesota farm. The latest addition to the collection of family treasures is a piece of scrap wood painted by young Ennis, which Hallworth suggested mounting as an art object above the living room sofa. Perched atop the ready-made sculpture is a small wooden bird gifted to Dunst by Jane Campion, the director of the upcoming film The Power of the Dog, a tale of love & cruelty set in 1920s Montana, in which Dunst stars alongside Benedict Cumberbatch & Plemons.

Although Dunst admits she takes the lead in interior design—“Jesse was a bachelor dude, so I brought decorating into his life,” she says, laughing—Plemons’s presence is unmistakable. Every room in the house contains bits of Texiana, or Texidermy, or whatever one calls objects redolent of the Lone Star State, where Plemons was born. An abundance of guitars, two pianos—a Steinway & a beloved Wurlitzer—& an antique parlor organ said to have belonged to the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson point to the actor’s passion for music.

“There’s a dash of Jesse’s cowboy aesthetic mixed in with Kirsten’s more glamorous things. We had to shake it all up into just the right cocktail,” Hallworth notes. That peculiar olio comes to life in the comfy living room, where a broad copper chandelier reminiscent of a boot spur presides over an assemblage of refined furnishings by the likes of Philip Arctander & Jacques Adnet. Even in the extraordinary kitchen—a deeply soulful composition bathed in tones of aubergine & russet—the pattern on the antique Majolica tiles that line the backsplash call to mind the flourishes of a cowboy’s bandana.

“I like the combination of girly & masculine. I like things that have age & patina—really anything that sparks an emotional connection,” Dunst says of her decorative predilections. “Our home is the gathering spot where everyone comes to eat, drink, swim, make music. The bar is always in full swing. We want people to have a good time, so as much as we value pretty, nothing is too precious,” she adds. Asked whether she & Plemons have any future renovation plans for their delightfully cozy casa, Dunst demurs: “Not really…but I’m sure Jane does.”

Mayer Rus, Architectural Digest

Here’s a lovely video of Kirsten & Jane talking about some of the rooms & items in Kirsten’s home.

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