In actress Shantel VanSanten’s converted garage, one very special piece brings people together, amid all her curated collectibles with their own meaningful stories.
When it came to finding her 2,200-square-foot San Fernando Valley home earlier this year, the choice weighed heavily on where to fit a 10-foot, half-ton section of tamarind wood from Southeast Asia, which serves as a table for 10.
“If it didn’t fit somewhere then I knew it wasn’t the right place,” said VanSanten, 34, who stars in Apple TV+’s “For All Mankind” and Amazon Prime’s “The Boys.” “I had a base built by Big Daddy’s Antiques and a friend designed the benches. It will be a family heirloom forever.”
The barn-like space features black walls, white concrete floors and pine posts and beams, with myriad vintage objects and custom-designed items throughout the space.
“I like mixing a lot of repurposed and unexpected pieces together, a lot of masculine and feminine and different materials like metals or rusty tin with wood,” she said.
Among her collection: boxing gloves in a glass container from a flea market in Paris, a vintage film projector, antique cameras and old film reels from the Palace Theatre in her hometown of Luverne, Minn.
A nostalgic Vivian Maier photograph of a cat looking out a car window hangs on the wall, alongside a horseshoe from her grandparents’ farm and a sketch by artist Dan May called “The World Turned Upside Down.”
“My grandmother was excruciatingly important to me and visits me as hummingbirds, and that’s a hummingbird in the sketch,” VanSanten said. “I bought it days after she passed away so it was really symbolic, feeling like my whole world was turned upside down, but I thought it was really beautiful too.”
Why is this your favorite room?
This space was wide open and didn’t have any definition, but it’s the place that spoke to me the most. It became this entertaining space, my own mini, tiny movie theater. When I had my “For All Mankind” premiere about a month ago, my whole family was in here and it was incredible to watch together.
Tell me about creating this photo wall.
After measuring the wall, I put painter’s tape on the floor in the size that I want and I sit for a few hours playing with where I want things. I take pictures, grab things from other walls, play with a lot of art and objects. I’m sentimental and frame everything — letters, cards and mementos — which I take to an amazing woman from Minnesota who owns a local little frame shop called Feeling Frameous.
This couch is huge!
If you push that ottoman over, the sectional couch becomes a king-size bed that’s filled with down feathers. It’s not a huge house and there’s only one guest room, so I thought it would be a special space where people could sleep.
Love the Smeg fridge.
There wasn’t space in the kitchen for a wine fridge, so this is my wine fridge now. There are two wineries in Napa that I’m a member of, so I accumulated a lot of wine from them. I love the pop of color.
Rocks and crystals seem to be a theme throughout.
I have a lot. Between growing up in Minnesota and Texas, nature is really big for me and the different rocks have energies and properties. The quartz in the middle of the table is insane when the sun sets and shines through it; you can see all these rainbows.
Favorite memory in here?
I invited 10 friends over four months after moving in. It was in the middle of the summer, all the doors were open, the lights were on in the backyard and we ordered pizza and sat and played games. I had a dream of this space before I moved in (for real, that’s how I knew it was my home), so being able to envision a space and sit here watching everyone laughing, drinking and eating felt like I was finally home in a city that had never felt like home before.