For Ione Skye, actress, author and artist, her favorite room in her Los Angeles home is the living room.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
An oil painting titled “Kate and Cow” by Ione Skye, sits on a shelf inside the living room. The painting, done in 2007, depicts her daughter Kate with a cow.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
A mid-century modern wood-burning fireplace and flagstone flooring are features of the living room.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
A photograph of an apartment building in Hong Kong, from 2009, is located behind a lamp.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
“So much has happened in this room, and it’s had a lot of transformations,” Skye says.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
On Christmas Eve 1996, Ione Skye had a special encounter in her living room that foreshadowed life as she now knows it.
The actress, who stars in HBO’s new series “Camping,” met musician Ben Lee when he came to her house that night with a friend. Now, 22 years later, he’s her husband.
“He ended up spending the night right here on the couch, but not romantically. Ten years later we started dating,” said Skye, 48.
The eclectic living room in her 3,000-square-foot Hollywood Hills home reflects important chapters in her life and people who have come through the space.
A Moroccan rug and other ethnic artifacts were gifts from interior designer and ex-fiance David Netto; vinyl records, a stereo console and a 1960 Wurlitzer piano mark Lee’s influence; and Skye’s self-described “warm, crude and impressionistic” paintings hang from the walls.
“So much has happened in this room, and it’s had a lot of transformations,” Skye said.
Why is this your favorite room?
I love the view of the trees and it’s nice to lie on this sofa and read or nap peacefully while the kids are at school. I got this home more than 20 years ago and it used to be more of a crazy party house. Then my husband had a big, spiritual 10 years when he was a real seeker, so we had a lot of Indian pujas (Hindu worship rituals) here. It’s gone from partying, to spiritual things, to now a lot of kids, dogs and music.
How would you describe your aesthetic style?
I like socialite, Upper East Side woman from the 1950s sort of chintzier things. David Netto has given me a lot of pieces over the years, like the African wood bowl. So it’s kind of modern, ethnic, with a couple splashes of old-lady chintz.
You’re a painter. Are there any of your pieces in here?
There’s one of my daughter and a cow together called “Kate and Cow.” During the time that my husband was seeking, we went to India a lot and cows are holy animals there. And then I painted “The Present” after a little birthday card from the ‘50s that I had. I love kitschy, Amy Sedaris style, and the coral and yellow colors.
You have vines growing inside your entryway.
It’s so funny because it was just meant to be the succulents on the floor, and I don’t even remember who planted a vine but then it just started going up the wall. It’s sometimes a bit like “Little Shop of Horrors” and we have to clip them back because I’m afraid they’re going to take over the house.
This is an amazing fireplace.
I got this Midcentury Modern fireplace and I had them lay down the stone underneath. I was proud because it was kind of the only thing I picked and designed myself. When it gets cool I really love it and use it as much as I can in Southern California.
Is there a story behind this collection of green glassware?
Long ago I went to Rose’s Place Thrift Store in Twentynine Palms and there was all this green glass all over the store. I asked how much it would be if I took all of it, and it was like nothing. It seemed like an art piece, putting all the green glass together.
Favorite memory in here?
Meeting Ben was so great, but also for my daughter’s bat mitzvah we had a “Downton Abbey” luncheon in here; it was all my dreams come true. We cleared the room out and had a big table with beautiful pink and tan linens, food was served and everyone made speeches. It was the WASPiest bat mitzvah.