‘Ballers’ star Omar Miller built his own hilltop funhouse
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
After 15 years of sporadic planning and projects, actor Omar Miller finally completed his longtime goal — an “adult funhouse” high at the top of his hill.
One hundred (brutal) stair steps up the steep, half-acre Glendale property takes you to a Palm Springs-inspired, indoor-outdoor guesthouse boasting views of the San Gabriel Valley and downtown L.A.
“Every time I got an acting job, I would put something into the guesthouse — the stairs, the retaining wall, the bleacher area, the tree line and the fire pit,” said Miller, 40, who stars in HBO’s “Ballers.”
The 498-square-foot guesthouse was designed to let breezes flow through. Plus, it features high ceilings so it never “feels crowded and has a lot of space where you can hang.”
Activity-wise, Miller said the “main combo” is wine drinking and video games: “MLB: The Show,” “NBA Live” and “FIFA” are his favorites. “I’m a sports dude through and through,” he said.
Outside, an expansive artificial lawn features decorative rocks, battle ropes, a slam ball, lawn chairs and the firepit. Friday nights during baseball season he can see fireworks from Dodger Stadium, and clear views of the 134 and 2 freeways give Miller a bird’s-eye advantage at gauging traffic.
“Depending on where you need to go, you can determine if you want to go through downtown or around. The only thing that would be better would be a helicopter itself,” said Miller, who will star in CBS’ new comedy “The Unicorn” this September.
Why is your guesthouse your favorite room?
It’s been a vision I’ve had for more than a decade that I was finally able to execute. This is a place where I can have peace and solitude. You can sit inside and it’s soundproof, or you can go outside and meditate because there’s plenty of space to get your mind together.
What were some of the challenges during the building process?
This property was a double lot that was already tiered; the issue was access and digging deep enough into the earth. There were armies of men coming up here to work, myself included — I walked a couple of bags of concrete up for the fire pit, stairs and the foundation. It was a strenuous process and not an easy build. There used to be no way to get up here except up a rope from the bottom, “Tomb Raider” style. Getting furniture up into the house was real — it took some mechanical engineering, a lot of elbow grease and manpower.
I really enjoy picking out the materials and colors. I try to mix and match with pieces from all over the place. Those Moroccan stools are from this wonderful place in North Hollywood. I’m a big believer in mixing expensive stuff with cheap stuff, so the couch is from a wonderful Restoration Hardware discount warehouse in Long Beach; it’s a perfect size and fit. Being a giant man, I need the proper size so I can lay out and sleep. I got a chaise that I reupholstered and made this gnarly, exotic golden black look. And it’s light enough to pick up, put it outside and work on my tan.
What’s your favorite time of day up here?
The evening, just around sunset before the night comes. It’s really fantastic because the sun is setting and it gives you a great view of downtown L.A., all of the San Gabriel Valley and the Burbank Airport — for some reason I’m fascinated with watching planes take off. I like being up here during that time, whether I’m chilling and watching a movie or just having a glass of wine and watching the sun set. It’s awesome.