Ellen DeGeneres has always had a passion for decorating (“I got a very thorough education in mid-20th-century French furniture within the first weeks of our dating,” her wife Portia de Rossi jokes in the new issue of Elle Décor), so when the couple purchased their Santa Monica, Calif. ranch in 2009, it was an exciting challenge for the talk show host.
“I thought it might take Ellen five years to finish the project,” de Rossi, 40, tells the magazine, on newsstands April 16. “She did it in one. It was shocking!”
The 26-acre ranch, situated just north of Los Angeles, features eight cabins and two large barns. Originally, it was the estate of actor William Powell, before becoming a monastery and then a rehab center.
“When we bought the place, it was a professional horse facility,” says DeGeneres, 55. ”But it was really not taken care of.”
So, the couple worked with decorator Jay Holman and designer Cliff Fong, mixing 20th century designs with industrial pieces.
And because de Rossi is an avid equestrian the couple keeps two horses there, named Maeby, after de Rossi’s fictional daughter from “Arrested Development,” and Mcy, pronounced “Macy,” but DeGeneres’s presence is even felt in the stables.
“There are times I’ll come into the barn and see a beautiful piece of early American furniture where my horses get groomed,” says de Rossi. “I have to explain to Ellen that I need to fit a horse in there!”
Not that she minds.
“If I find something else and can see having a new project, I’m open to that,” says DeGeneres. “But I’d have to fight Portia, because this is her dream property. This we may just hold on to.”