My Favorite Room: Ross Mathews plays host with a lot of whimsy and a sprinkling of Liberace

Mathews, seated, and Camarena entertain friends and family in their open-plan kitchen/living/dining space.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Fourteen years ago, Ross Mathews visited sunny Palm Springs for the first time and thought: “This is my mother ship.”

The television personality pledged to live there one day, and last year, he and his partner, fashion stylist and interior designer Salvador Camarena, purchased a pied-à-terre in the desert city.

During the week, the couple live in Burbank. But on the weekends, they escape to their 1,800-square-foot Palm Springs home.


“I’ve always dreamt of having a place that was sort of Grand Central Station for friends and family, but in Palm Springs. This house felt perfect for that,” said Mathews, who co-hosts entertainment show “Hollywood Today Live” and got his start on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.”

Their favorite room is the open-plan kitchen/living/dining space, where they entertain friends and family.

“Just about every weekend there’s someone staying with us,” Mathews said. “We go to thrift stores and find old records, and there’s always music on, always cocktails and a snack tray.”

Why did you fall for the house?

Mathews: We love the midcentury look. And this house feels like an homage to midcentury design in terms of its bones and structure, but everything is brand new.

The Burbank couple escape to their 1,800-square-foot Palm Springs home, above, whenever they can.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Did you have to do any work on your favorite room?

Camarena: One wall was orange. It was an accent color left there by the previous owner. We painted it white. I love things that are white and clean. It makes a space look bigger and longer, and I love the reflection that white walls give off when the light hits it.

So it was pretty much move-in ready?

Mathews: We’re lucky that so much of it is what we would have chosen if we’d done it ourselves. There’s even a little sparkle in the kitchen countertop — because we have a little Liberace in us.

How much time do you spend in this house?

Mathews: As soon as I wrap filming on Friday, [we] drive here from our home in Burbank. We have trivia night at 5:30, dinner at 6:30 and show tunes at 8. On Saturday, I wake up early and go to the penny slots, and then there’s bingo. This is how I live here.

"This house feels like an homage to midcentury design in terms of its bones and structure," says Mathews, "but everything is brand new."
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

What were you going for in the overall design?

Camarena: A lot of it is vintage mixed with modern, which is who we are. Everything is fun, playful and whimsical and meant to put a smile on people’s faces when they walk in. We like things that are unexpected, like the pink flamingo up against the white wall.

What are some of the special pieces in here?

Mathews: We love the palm print. We have it in the couch cushions and covering our vintage record player. It reminds us of Blanche Devereaux’s bedroom (in “The Golden Girls”), which is very Miami, but we’re paying an homage to Palm Springs as well.


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