As might be expected of someone who grew up in a 73,500-sq.-ft. mansion, Tori Spelling’s home is impressive. But maybe not in the way you imagine. Sure, you’ll find vintage oriental rugs, Art Deco collectibles and custom curtains made of hand printed designer textiles. But you’ll also find comfortable couches treated with Scotchgard, a sizable farm-style kitchen table perfect for art projects, plenty of toys and the occasional kid’s sneaker underneath the coffee table. And if you open the door off the kitchen, you’ll discover a mini farm with goats, rabbits and chickens. “I believe a home should be decorated to live in,” says Tori about the Los Angeles-area home she shares with husband Dean McDermott and their four kids (Liam, 6, Stella, 4, Hattie, 1 and Finn, 5 months). “A little wear and tear to your belongings is a sign of love.”
The overall effect is a house that’s simply one of the most beautiful homes I’ve ever spent time in. I always love visiting Tori and Dean, not only because they’re such a fun couple but also because their home is so full of inspiration. Even during times when I’ve had to interviewed Tori about a serious topic, I usually end up grilling her about her curtains or asking where she picked up a vintage buffet. I simply can’t help myself! The girl has incredible taste.
As for love, there’s plenty to go around in this household. The cute banter between Tori and Dean that’s a staple on their Oxygen hit Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood is not only for show. Even when the cameras are off, there’s often so much laughter it can be contagious. Sure, they bicker like any normal couple with four children under the age of 6! But it’s clear they’re meant to be together. They’re a real family, and their home reflects that.
The heart of the house is the kitchen, where Liam and Stella often help their dad Dean — who recently won the title of Food Network’s Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off Season 2 Champion — whip up a meal for the rest of the brood. And with four kids and a small menagerie in the backyard, it can get pretty messy. But Tori, who apart from being an amazing mom also runs a multi-platform business that includes five books, a line of fashion jewelry with HSN, her own furniture store InvenTORI and television shows including TLC’s Craft Wars, takes it all in stride. “I want my house to be beautiful, but I also want my kids to feel they can play around,” she says. “A house that’s lived in is a house that’s loved.”
Here’s my chat with the lovely Tori, who so graciously took the time to talk to me shortly before giving birth to her fourth child, Finn Davey McDermott, even though she was on bed rest. The exclusive photographs of Tori, Dean, their kids and the interiors of their home were taken by my talented friend, photographer Elizabeth Messina, before Finn was born.
Ulrica: How would you describe your interior design style?
Tori: I think my home decor style is eclectic. I love mixing styles and making a home truly my own. I’m a big antique girl. But I love blending styles like primitive, regency and mid-century modern. I think the delicate look and wear of vintage mixed with the pop and bold of modern creates an amazing look I call “modage.”
Ulrica: How do you manage to have a beautiful home while still raising three (almost four) kids? Do you slip cover everything? Are there any colors you try to stay away from?
Tori: I love style but I also love comfort. I don’t believe in never putting breakables out or putting covers on your couches. A little wear and tear to your belongings is a sign of love. About a year ago we got an off white couch. Everyone thought I was crazy. Does it now have a few stains? Of course. But it now looks lived in and loved. It’s a family couch!
Ulrica: Do you and Dean agree on how to decorate your home? Does he let you do whatever you like?
Tori: Dean and I actually have very similar taste and appreciation for antiques. He has a great eye. Of course if there’s ever a disagreement he always steps back and lets me decide. He’s very kind about that because he knows home decor is my passion. But we frequent estate sales and flea markets and love doing it together.
Ulrica: Do you have a favorite piece of furniture in your home?
Tori: Most of my pieces, aside from some large pieces like couches and beds, are antiques so they all have a story to tell and I love that! I have this amazing tufted antique leather couch that I’ve had since my early 20s. It’s seen every apartment and home I’ve lived in and every relationship. It’s seen me sad in past relationships and has seen me extremely happy with Dean and my beautiful babes. We’ve shared 15 years of a life together and I love that. I still smile every time I look at it. I appreciate it’s antique beauty. Right now it’s in the sitting area of our master bedroom.
Ulrica: Are your kids allowed to jump on the couch?
Tori: There has been the occasional couch jumping, but we tell them that the couch is not the place to jump because they could fall and get hurt. But they are kids so sometimes they forget. They however are very respectful and never stand or climb on the couch with shoes on. They are very good about that.
Ulrica: Tell me about your family room — how did you design it?
Tori: It was a very large room to begin with, so I made it into two areas. I don’t like huge rooms. I wanted the room to feel smaller and cozier, so I split it up. There’s an area that’s a cozy area where the family can sit and watch TV. We love to watch movies together as a family– that’s a big thing, family movie night. And then we have an area for when we have friends over where we can sit by the fire place and hang out.
Ulrica: Do you have any tricks for decorating with kids in mind?
Tori: I have a lot of our upholstered furniture Scotchgarded. The couch in our TV room is from Grace Home, but I reupholstered it in a $19-per-yard fabric from F&S Fabrics and Scotchgarded it. Sure, there will be the occasional accident. But I don’t mind a few stains. I always try to decorate to live in, not to look at.
All photographs by Elizabeth Messina ©2013.