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From carriage house to modern family space for actress Erinn Hayes

From the outside, detached from the house and fitted with a large wooden garage door, actress Erinn Hayes’ favorite room looks more suited to storing cars than relaxing. But a walk through the industrial French doors on the side reveals a comfortable, contemporary living space.

“The house was built in 1906,” Hayes said of the traditional-style Highland Park residence. “The Los Angeles City Historical Society said we had to keep the ‘carriage house,’ so 1,000 Pinterest boards later we ended up with this.”

Next to a swimming pool, in the backyard of her 2,800-square-foot home, this unique family room is not so much defined by any particular style but instead by its blending of many.

“I feel like the word ‘eclectic’ is overused — but this room is very much a mix between traditional and modern and everything between,” said Hayes, 43, an Emmy-nominated actress and star of the current Netflix comedy “Medical Police.”

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White walls and a concrete floor create an almost blank canvas, where style-spanning furnishings take center stage, including an emerald-green Midcentury couch, a wicker lounge chair and subtle stained-glass windows.

Behind the light-gray marble-top bar, with its honey-colored wood facade, a wall holds paintings and photographs as varied as the room itself — Art Nouveau, Impressionist, modern. Lighting ranges from geometric pendant glass fixtures to a soft-gold gooseneck floor lamp to covered macrame orbs. Even small decorative pieces exemplify the room’s stylish melange — a large gold hex nut, a translucent aqua vase and a wicker basket filled with coloring supplies.

Transforming an old carriage house into the fashionable yet inviting transitional room was no easy task. Luckily Hayes could enlist her husband, Jack, a construction supervisor.

“My husband did as much work as he was knowledgeable in, and then he also has a great group of guys to help out,” said Hayes, who appears in the upcoming movie sequel “Bill & Ted Face the Music.” She laughed, recalling how the help couldn’t come fast enough: “You know, the house wrapped in plastic and the porta-potty in the frontyard for seven months wasn’t exactly a good look.”

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Why is this your favorite room?

This room is definitely the catchall peaceful place for our family. It’s the perfect place to bring a cup of coffee and do a crossword puzzle or watch a movie or have a glass of wine with a friend. It really doesn’t seem to fall prey to the chaos of family life. There are no dirty dishes, there’s not a pile of clothes where some family member has seemingly combusted.

How do you define your design style?

I like things that make me happy and I don’t really care what style, aesthetic. If they look good together to me then I’ll do it. And I don’t care much about a price point. For example, those chairs are from Ikea, that coffee table is from Target, but the couch is nice. You know, splurge where it counts! But if something’s made well and it looks good, go for it.

Did you always have a plan for this space to be something other than a garage?

We knew we didn’t need a garage. I had some ideas, but things have to change as you go through the process. Some of the bigger, bolder ideas got pared down, but what it ended up being is very simple and clean.

Any favorite items?

Oh, I really like this photograph. I spent this summer in New Orleans doing the “Bill and Ted’s” movie, and this guy, the photographer, gets in the swamp at night, up to his chest — which is not smart — and then lights up these trees and takes these gorgeous photos of the swamp. That was my gift to me after a lonely summer away from my family.

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How was it filming “Bill and Ted”?

It was great! The filming was so fun. However, nobody should be inhabiting New Orleans in the summer — it’s so hot, it’s like a punishment to be outside!


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