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Whimsical & Wonderful: Christina Hendricks

How do you make a house a home? If you’re actress Christina Hendricks, you fill it with color, wit, and a wild mix of pieces that hold deep meaning for you.

Hendricks in bohemian dress standing in eclectic living room
A neutral couch from Monarch Sofas is glammed up with graphic pillows and framed with large potted palms and a lamp from Antique Artistry. But it’s the ever-evolving gallery wall that steals the show in the star’s living room. “Some of these pieces are the first original pieces of art I ever bought and some of them are brand new,” she says.

Christina Hendricks is gleefully out of step with current home decor trends.

The modern matte gray walls, the white kitchens with their glistening marble countertops, and those shaggy boho rugs—especially that one with the diamonds you’ve seen all over—are all perfectly lovely. They’re just not her. “Some people want to unclutter their life and live minimally. I respect that, and I feel comfortable visiting them,” says the actress, who most recently starred on NBC’s Good Girls. “But I always wanted to have one of those places that no matter how many times you visit, you notice something different, something whimsical. I’d love it if my friends’ kids walked into my house and found it magical—an elegant magic castle!”

swimming bunny photo in dining room
A photograph from artist Zhou Hongbin is a conversation starter.
Art deco metallic bar with vintage glasses
Hendricks wanted the bar area to feel like an old theater and channeled Radio City Music Hall’s Art Deco vibes. “The bar has a zinc top, which is traditional to so many old New York City bars and gets a nice patina over time,” she says. The stools were upholstered in velvet as a textural counterpoint to their brass bases. ”They’re pink, but a bold pink, so it’s not overly feminine,” she says.

Done and done. The star’s 1916 Los Angeles Colonial may look traditional on the outside, but the interior is brimming with wit and wonder. And though she treasures her antiques (often sourced online from 1stdibs and Chairish), the space never feels like a set.

“I try to keep a balance—not too many antiques, not too many modern elements,” says the actress, who, despite being associated with the mid-century modern aesthetic due to her iconic role in Mad Men, takes her design cues from earlier eras. Art Deco artifacts and Victorian pieces mingle to marvelous effect with old-timey circus-style letters, vintage Chinese rugs, and Mongolian fur chairs. “I’ve read over the years if you like things, they’ll go together,” she says. “When I buy a new piece, I do try to make sure it complements what’s already there, but if I truly love it, I’ll find a way to make it work.”

moon marquee letters sign above dining table and couch
The marquee letters were a wedding gift to Hendricks and her ex, Geoffrey Arend, from actor Bryan Batt, who appeared with her on Mad Men. “He and his husband own a store in New Orleans called Hazelnut and told us, ‘You can pick out any four letters that you want,’ ” she says. We settled on moon because we thought a moon glows, and you can moon over someone—it had only pleasant connotations.”

As intuitive as she is about design, she’s got the preparedness of a pro. “I keep a list of dimensions and a small tape measure in my purse,” she says, “so that if I do find that dream credenza, I’ll know if it’s going to fit in my house or not.”

Hendricks sitting on wooden counter top in kitchen
The vision for the kitchen is Hendricks’s own, but she used an architect, Linda Brettler, ex-wife of Mad Men creator Matt Weiner, to help with measurements and layout. “I don’t really understand kitchens with open-concept shelving,” she admits. “I have so much glassware and servingwear for entertaining that it would look like a garage sale. I need storage!”

Her space has evolved, as has Hendricks herself, over the years. “When I first bought the home, I painted everything white because I just wanted a neutral palette. I’d never owned a home before. And as the years go by, another room gets wallpapered, another room gets painted,” she says.

Hendricks standing in colorful attic dressing room
Hendricks’s colorful attic dressing room features a plum couch and lots of pattern. “This sofa from Urban Outfitters was the only thing I could find that would fit up an attic staircase!” she says.

“When I come home to my things, it feels like a hug.”

—Christina Hendricks

Her most recent update came in 2019. “I wanted it to be happier and cheerier inside,” she says. She added yellows and pinks to her previous palette of blacks, deep purples, and grays. “It was romantic and serious, and now it’s romantic and playful.”

Whether it’s her Art Deco bar or dramatic guest bedroom (how amazing is that antique fringed lamp?), the overall result is fanciful, chic, and authentically her own—which explains why she never considered outsourcing the design job.

“Hiring someone to do my house would be like hiring a stranger to make me a mix tape,” she says. “I’m sure that person has great taste and I’m sure there would be some great music on it, but it wouldn’t emotionally affect me because I didn’t choose it. It wouldn’t have memories attached to it. Everything in my home reminds me of something exciting that happened, a place that I visited, a loving moment, or a funny story.”

open french doors to porch with table and small couch
Hendricks’s porch is often used for entertaining. “People wander out with a glass of wine and visit and talk and watch their kids as they swim,” she says. The flooring looks like tile at first glance, but it’s vinyl matting, purchased on Etsy. “It’s brilliant because it won’t crack, and I can wipe it off after a party and it still looks fantastic.”

For Hendricks, decorating is a bit like acting—it’s an avenue of self-expression. But unlike her movie or TV roles, the job doesn’t end when a director yells, “Cut!”

“I travel a lot for work, and I stay in sterile environments for months at a time,” says Hendricks. “So when I come home to my things, it feels like a hug.”

Hendricks greeting dogs in garden
Hendricks frolics in the garden with her pups, Triscuit (left) and Zou Zou. “I like things a little wild in my yard, with manicured areas in between,” she says.

By Laura Morgan | Photographs by Coliena Rentmeester

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