Flanked by family photos, furry friends and — she hopes — a fireproof TV, actress and comedienne Kym Whitley calls the den/living room of her Tarzana home the epicenter of her life.
The space serves as a gathering spot and relaxation center for the busy entertainer, known to moviegoers as Auntie Suga from “Next Friday.” TV fans have seen her in “Raising Whitley,” a reality show about unexpectedly becoming a new mom through adoption, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and Amazon’s “Forever,” alongside “Saturday Night Live” alums Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen.
The room, with chocolate suede couches and a television mounted above the red-brick fireplace, melds seamlessly into an open kitchen and bar area, forming an eat-play-chill sanctuary.
A granite countertop, matching one in the kitchen, stretches from one end of the living room to the other and holds two dozen pictures of “family, and friends that are like family,” said Whitley, who calls herself “50-something.”
The photo collection includes a snapshot of her dad, award-winning architect William Whitley, whose firm helped design numerous large-scale projects in their hometown, Cleveland.
On the opposite side of the room, a wall of oversized windows and sliding-glass doors gives way to a patio, which occasionally accommodates drying laundry, and usually hosts birds and squirrels — who dine al fresco courtesy of Whitley.
The den, part of the 3,300-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bath Tudor-style home, is an irresistible draw for Whitley, her 8-year-old son, Joshua, and Milk, an 18-year-old poodle.
“It's the hang-out spot,” Whitley said, drawing back curtains to welcome the bit of natural light attempting to power through an otherwise gloomy day. “We can look outside ... and go outside. We watch movies. People are cooking. There's a little bar area people sit at. We do use the fireplace — hoping not to burn the TV down.”
Why is this your favorite room?
This is the epicenter, the command central. Everything happens from this point. This is the first place everyone comes when they come in the house. This is the first place I come, and then everything branches off from here. It's very, very comfortable. Joshua likes to watch TV in here, even though I have a playroom for him and a television in there. I love the natural light; it's actually not as bright as I would love it to be. I love walking into the house and then seeing straight to the backyard. It’s my favorite.
Why all the pictures?
I like to look at the pictures from time to time. I really connect to people; this way I can have all my people in the house.
The patio looks like a great spot for guests. Do you do much entertaining?
Yes, way more than I did at my other home. I have breakfasts, I have a lot of parties, like birthday parties for people, or just like Mother's Day. I'll have a brunch with the girls coming over.
You travel a lot. Talk about coming home after a long trip.