In actress Diane Franklin’s 2,200-square-foot Westlake Village home, animals take center stage.
Her yellow living room houses a square cage for her 1-year-old, long-haired Peruvian guinea pig, while a large, close-up portrait of her clumber spaniel, Duke, proudly hangs in the middle of the room. (Her chinchilla, Mr. Pibb, resides in the kitchen.)
“Animals bring people together and make you act with empathy and fun. We'll take vacations and bring the dog with us — it's a bonding thing,” said Franklin, best known for her roles in the ’80s favorites “Better Off Dead” and “Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.”
Franklin’s love for her animals even inspired her to surrender her favorite overstuffed chaise.
“I really just wanted to lay in the chair, but Duke is so big he just owned it and I went, ‘All right, you can have it,’” said Franklin, who recently starred in “The Amityville Murders” as the mother, Louise DeFeo. (Franklin played the older daughter in 1982’s “Amityville II: The Possession.”)
The guinea pig likes to sit on your shoulder and nuzzle in your hair. Franklin said her daughter “adores him; he's a very socialized guinea pig.”
As for the painting of crabs hanging over the fireplace?
“Each one represents someone in the family and we have our own little island,” she said. “Crabs are funny, low to the ground and tough survivors. We're a funny family, and I think it's a reflection of us in this wave of life.”
Why is this your favorite room?
My son plays the upright bass in here, so I sit and listen to him play — it's one of my favorite things to do. The room has high ceilings so it's got nice resonance. Whenever I get scripts and have to break them down, I come in and sit on this couch with my feet up, and I relax with a cup of coffee and chocolate cake. I want a place where you feel so comfortable you can create. All the pictures we have up are either our children, our dog, or some artwork that we made. We don't buy photos or art from other people — our art is our family. Our memories.
Tell me about the yellow paint color.
I believe that color is so important to our soul and energy. One of the reasons we have a yellow room is because it’s like sunshine and brings a good feeling. I’m also an artist and not afraid of using color and mixing it up. It’s a powerful tool for a room; it can change everything.
Is that giant coffee table made out of a door?
Yes, it’s really heavy and good for an earthquake. We got it at Arte de Mexico, a Mexican store in L.A. It’s a hole-in-the-wall with absolutely authentic stuff. The table’s got history, it’s sturdy — people can sit on it — it’s well-made and I love the big metal doorknob and rivets.
It’s old fashioned, but I don’t like the big, shellacked black pianos; I don’t care how great they sound. I think it’s really important to have a piano in the house with kids, and this one is accessible, smaller and easier for them. I think it’s really what made my son have his love for music.
Describe a perfect moment in here.