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My Favorite Room: Actor Chris Coy’s carefree space mixes kids, dogs and creativity among the antiques

When it came to the design and layout of his adjoining living and dining rooms, actor Chris Coy ditched formality for function, family and creativity.

Instead of “just dead space,” with a conventional dining table, the sunny dining alcove features an arts-and-crafts table with benches, and an entire wall brimming with colored pencils, paint brushes and bins of supplies.

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“From the get-go, we decided to be nontraditional and turn this into a play space,” said Coy, 32, known for his roles on HBO’s “Treme” and “The Deuce,” and AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”

The living room, in spite of its sturdy, vintage wood furniture, veers more carefree, with cascading plants and colorful paintings.

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“We don't hold anything too precious. That's one of my favorite things about this space and the pieces. The kids will sit in these chairs and pretend they’re the queen and princess on their thrones,” said Coy, who uses the large, wood-framed loveseat — once part of an opium den — to read scripts.

In their 3,300-square-foot Thousand Oaks home — which, like their neighborhood, was untouched by the Woolsey fire — the artwork is also a family affair. A vibrant, abstract heart was painted by Coy, his wife Alice and their daughters, ages 6 and 3, over the course of a year.

“We just added and redid it and at one point my youngest painted over the entire thing in white, so we just started over again,” Coy said.

Why is this space so special to you?

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There is a lot of the four of us curling up on the big chair with both 60-pound-plus dogs [rescued mutts Hercules and Houston], hanging out, listening to music. The kids will pick their own vinyl and put it on. Half the records are ruined now because they take them out and bend them, but it's so worth it.

Tell me about the large and small pianos.

I've had the large piano longer than I've had my family. It's about 120 years old, upright with a beautiful sound to it. The little one is called a princess piano; everything about it is designed and executed exactly the way a full-scale piano is, just miniaturized. The kids mark all their notes on it in crayon, so all the ivory is covered in scribble.

There’s some interesting history behind the wood-framed loveseat.

It was used as an opium bench in an opium den in New York in the late 1700s. After that, it was used as a church pew in a Catholic church, and then my cousin, who has a vintage store in Ventura, acquired it through an estate sale and asked me if I would hold it for him. That was four years ago.

That’s not the only collectible from that era.

The cupboard that sits in my kids' space was built around 1750, older than America. It was made as a twin piece, and its twin is in the National Museum Wales. It's full of my kids’ artwork and there are these skeleton keys that they play with. They treat it like a magic wardrobe, climb inside, shut it and hide. It's such a magical piece. There's not a nail or a screw in it; it's constructed completely out of wooden dowels. I don't know that I ever need another antique piece, this is so absurdly good.

Is there a significance behind the painting of the woman?

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It reminds me of my wife, a beautiful woman. I was coming home from the gym in Brooklyn two years ago while filming "The Deuce" and it was in the trash outside of an apartment building, framed and everything. I hoofed it home and then shipped it out to L.A., and now it's above the piano.

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