Given how much time his work takes him away from Los Angeles, actor Walton Goggins prioritizes getting back to feeling rooted with family and friends — especially during the holidays.
"If I invite someone to my home, the least I can do is make it special," he says.
Rest assured, he's the type to make sure everyone has a drink in his or her hand and that they're comfortable.
His house in Hollywood where he lives with his wife, writer Nadia Conners, and their 6-year-old son, Augustus, is naturally suited to the family's active social life. Goggins' affinity for hosting is immediately evident — he jokes you can't take three steps without finding somewhere to sit and talk — as is the intention he puts into the placement of each art object, furnishing and memento.
"Everything you see is personal," he explains. "I don't think you can touch something that doesn't have a story."
The result is both beautifully curated and inviting. A slightly old world vibe makes the place holiday party-ready without extensive preparation or any fussiness, save for Goggins' enviable propensities for extreme organization and cleanliness. Plus his self-described "wrong side of the tracks" Georgia-bred modesty keeps it all down to earth.
Ever since he and Conners moved in soon before Augustus was born in 2011, they have spent holidays in the house, often with visiting grandmothers around, and a separate Christmas party for friends. They usually travel abroad after the Christmas festivities have wound down at home.
As for what makes a great gathering, Goggins' recipe is fairly straightforward. He points to good people, good music, good food and drinks as the elements that matter most.
Goggins is known for his work in television shows including "The Shield," "Justified," HBO's "Vice Principals," and films such as "The Hateful Eight." This year he's been filming "Ant-Man and the Wasp" and the "Tomb Raider" reboot. So souvenirs from significant production experiences are incorporated into the decor.
Antique chairs, textiles and eclectic artifacts are collected from his global wanderings. Flea market finds keep company alongside more pedigreed pieces from Obsolete, Blend Interiors and other local design shops Goggins and Conners frequent.
Pieces by obscure and known artists, such as Kerry James Marshall, are points of pride and joy.
"Home should be a reflection of the life you've led and your journey," Goggins says.
When having friends over, Goggins tries to create "an atmosphere where people can make themselves vulnerable" for meaningful exchanges. He's a passionate conversationalist who seamlessly transitions from fun chitchat to intense real talk.
The house itself has its own unique history. The brick structure was originally built in 1927 by W.F. Montgomery, a lumber dealer who sold raw materials to early Hollywood studios. Architect Harold O. Sexsmith, originally from Seattle, designed it.
The couple made painstaking efforts to retain and restore include the original slate tile roof, interior millwork and the impressive living room fireplace. Upgrading the wide kitchen with black Farrow & Ball paints, brass fittings and marble countertops blended in with the original bones.
Out in back, they transformed what Goggins describes as "just a dirt pile" to a lush, purposefully untamed drought-tolerant landscape and pool in consultation with landscape designer Michael Fiore. Outdoor seating areas add to the property's many retreats and niches that are conducive to both lively conversation and quiet reflection.
Goggins and Conners regularly host friends for cocktail-centric events, especially since Goggins is a co-owner of Mulholland Distilling, the spirits brand he and longtime friend Matthew Alper launched last year.
They're finishing construction on the company's hybrid private tasting room/salon/studio called the Mulholland Room in the Arts District, with Tatum Kendrick of Studio Hus overseeing design duties with a heavy assist by Goggins.
For parties, Goggins and Conners are more likely to use the rustic dining room table to offer guests casual spreads that pair well with cocktails, such as cheese and charcuterie set on reclaimed wood boards they've collected from around the world, rather than for formal sit-down meals. (Conners is an avid home cook, and the family typically eats at the kitchen table.)
They encourage friends to wander around or settle in, both indoors and out.
Reconnecting with people in a personal space — a recent gathering included actress Leslie Bibb, artist Danny Fox and musician Sturgill Simpson — is key to Goggins' creativity and overall wellbeing.
Entertaining at home allows him to nurture certain experiences and memories, particularly this time of year.
"I love moments. I love stories," he says.
We asked actor Walton Goggins and his wife, writer Nadia Conners, to share a recipe for the signature drink they like to serve during the holidays. They prefer using spirits from his Mulholland Distilling, of course, but you can sub in what you prefer.
Mulholland Hot Buttered Whiskey
1.5 ounces Mulholland Distilling American Whiskey
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
2 Tablespoons of butter batter (recipe follows)
6 ounces hot water
Whipped cream (optional)
Spice blend garnish (recipe follows)
Add whiskey and bitters to a glass suitable for hot drinks. “We prefer a glass mug or favorite vintage glassware,” Goggins said.
Add batter and leave spoon in the glass.
Top with hot water. While pouring the hot water in the glass, whisk with the spoon
Top with heaping spoonful of whipped cream, if designed.
Accent with a sprinkle of spice blend (recipe follows)
1 pound good quality salted butter
1 pound brown sugar
1 pound confectioner's sugar
2 pints high quality vanilla bean ice cream, such as McConnell's (softened)
Melt butter in a medium saucepan on the stove. Blend in both sugars until completely incorporated. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla ice cream. Let cool then pour mixture into a glass container with lid and store in the freezer. Recipe yields enough batter for a large holiday gathering or to keep yourself buttered throughout the winter.
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