In the open-concept kitchen of actress Ambyr Childers’ 6,500-square-foot Bel-Air home, her new combined family can both plant its roots and create a delightful commotion.
At 31, Childers is learning a lot of new skills, including experimenting with homemade spaghetti-squash pasta and mothering not just her own two daughters but also the three children of her fiance, Jeff Tinsley, all ranging in age from 6 to 14.
“When I was younger I never wanted children, but then you grow up and your life would not be the same without them. It’s beautiful chaos to me,” said Childers, who costars in the Lifetime/Netflix stalker drama “You.”
Included in this chaos is a favorite pastime she taught them from her childhood: sliding across the floor from the kitchen to the family room like Tom Cruise in “Risky Business.”
“The three little ones drag each other or they’ll run and jump on the beanbags. They’re like animals. One gets started, and the bigger ones get involved because they’re the ringleaders,” she said. “The floor is brand new and it’s already so messed up from the kids running around.”
Multitasking is essential for Childers — the black honed granite countertop that separates the kitchen from the dining area doubles as “a big desk,” where she designs pieces for her namesake jewelry line.
“I sit and start dinner as I finish up my day’s work, and the kids are finishing up their homework or playing. I’m a very messy cook and I know they say the healthiest thing is to clean as you go, but I’m still growing up in that department,” said Childers, who has also appeared in Showtime’s “Ray Donovan” and “All My Children” on ABC.
The family of seven enjoys making ground beef tacos, which Childers “grew up on and is easy and classic,” as well as steak — though she said half the time is spent “trying to figure out how to not set the smoke alarms off.”
“Everyone is standing around with a pillow yelling, ‘The smoke alarm went off!’” Childers said. “Those are the special moments, and one day I know I’ll miss the screaming and giggles.”
Why is your kitchen your favorite room?
I love the open floor plan because you can go from the kitchen to the dining table to the sitting room and watch the kids play. It reminds me a lot of my childhood watching cartoons or doing our homework at the table and my mom in the kitchen cooking. It’s the one place where you can eat, socialize and give thanks.
You recently renovated the kitchen.
I didn’t think I’d like doing it, but I actually really enjoyed it because when you put your touch into something, it makes you want to be in that space more and be creative. You can really change a room with painting and lighting — they are everything. There used to be a wall and cabinets separating the kitchen.
How would you describe your aesthetic style?
I really love traditional but with a very clean, modern and elegant feel.
That’s a gorgeous chandelier.
I’m obsessed with it because the kitchen is very plain and durable, so it adds this touch of femininity and softness. It’s from Restoration Hardware. I love it there — I could walk around that store for hours.
Tell me what an average day is like in here.
The mornings are somewhat chaotic with the kids getting ready for school, but during the day it’s pretty quiet. The 14-year-old is always up in her room doing homework, but the little ones always come in here and have a snack in the afternoon and watch a little bit of television before doing their homework, taking showers and starting the wind-down process.
Do you have a favorite memory in this space?
I’ll never forget the first time I made homemade spaghetti sauce for my fiance when the kids weren’t home. I think he was shocked that I even knew how to cook. I don’t project that I’m a big cook or that it’s something that I’m good at. I’m learning, and it’s an art you have to do constantly. But I’ll always remember his face walking in — he was so appreciative and thankful. It’s nice having a partner who loves me even for my cooking flaws. But it turned out really great; I was so proud of myself.