My Favorite Room: Keegan Allen is drawn to the past but not stuck in it
The fireplace had been functional, but Allen closed it off because he worried that the cat he had at the time might go behind it.(Jesse Goddard / For The Times)
The albums in the room are those that Allen listens to. Once he realizes “something has been sitting too long, it goes,” he says.(Jesse Goddard / For The Times)
Allen says his apartment “mirrors the aesthetics of a really beautiful hotel somewhere like Venice, Italy.”(Jesse Goddard / For The Times)
Keegan Allen’s living room has been the canvas for many creative projects, including his most recent endeavor, which called for some temporary redecorating.
The actor and photographer moved all of the furniture out of the room in order to lay out photo prints featured in his book, “Hollywood.”
“I’d have a cup of hot tea and stay up all night and look at all my work in here, sometimes by candlelight,” said Allen, 30, best known for his role on Freeform’s “Pretty Little Liars.” “The book is about atmospheric shots, and in order to create that, I had to see the book as one photograph.”
Allen’s 2,000-square-foot Hollywood Art Deco apartment mirrors the aesthetics of a “really beautiful hotel somewhere like Venice, Italy.”
Comfort and luxury are juxtaposed with organic touches, such as the rustic wood floors and beige sisal rug, and more regal elements such as the burnt-amber arches and iron detailing.
Why is this your favorite room?
It’s the most open place in the house and gets the most light. When I wake up and need to find inspiration, being in the Southern California sunlight is so important.
How would you describe your aesthetic style?
I like pulling from the bones of something that is classic while keeping a contemporary aspect as well. Modern interpretations. I love taking from Art Deco and really paying homage to what the original architects were trying to convey through their art. I love California classic as well.
What are some of your favorite design elements in this room?
The sweeping archways are really pretty and ornate. I wanted to keep it all like it originally was, but it’s difficult to keep up. I have to paint and plaster every two years because it’s in a building that shifts all the time. It was retrofitted for earthquakes, but you still get cracks and stuff, which gives it so much character and feels lived in.
Do you have a certain design philosophy?
You never want to go “too much” with stuff. The things in my home, I use. I read the books and listen to the albums that are out. The moment I realize something has been sitting too long, it goes. In life, everything changes, and your living space should evolve and grow with you.
Tell me about your parents’ art in here.
My dad painted the weird abstract painting of New York in 1949. His art was always really interesting, dark and dreary. He used acrylics and would do almost plein-air style, whereas my mom is more of a watercolor, staccato painter. Her painting took 15 years to finish and was of a dream she had of me in the winter years of my life as a captain that lived in a lighthouse by the sea.
What’s your favorite piece?
The piano, because I’ve played on it since I was 5 years old. I ended up painting it cacao color with my mother, very carefully around the Baldwin insignia. It almost turned sort of green over time.
That’s an amazing fireplace.
It was functional at one point, but I closed it off, because I had a cat for a long time and I was scared he was going to jump up behind it. So I turned it into a candlelight fireplace. Rarely do you get a fireplace that is that overpowering to a space, but without it, it would not be as special.