‘12 Years a Slave’ actor Jay Huguley at home in Kesling design

Jay Huguley at home in Silver Lake
Jay Huguley, whom viewers might recognize from supporting roles in “Treme,” “Brothers and Sisters” and “12 Years a Slave,” takes a breather in his 1936 house by William Kesling, whose Streamline Moderne style was part of the era’s Deco movement.
(Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)

Actor Jay Huguley has spent the year in New Orleans shooting TV shows “Treme,” “Star-Crossed” and “Ravenswood,” not to mention the new Steve McQueen film “12 Years a Slave.”

Although he is grateful for the work — and for room service on the road — Huguley confessed that he missed his Silver Lake home.  

“Hotels are great,” Huguley said, “but by Day 15, you’re ready to come home.”  

Huguley’s homesickness is understandable. The actor lives in a glamorous 1936 dwelling designed by William Kesling, known for his Deco-era architecture, whose open floor plan takes in views of Silver Lake Reservoir. Huguley bought the hillside home, known as the Wilson House, in 2007 after giving his real estate agent the mandate to find something “architecturally special, from a period of time before the ‘60s.”


PHOTOS: Jay Huguley’s 1936 William Kesling home

The actor said he has always been fascinated by the 1930s, and the Kesling home, with its nautical Streamline Moderne elements, is no different.

“I wanted to find a home with great bones and fill it with things I love,” said Huguley, who has an impressive collection of art and photography by Bruce Weber, Robert Rauschenberg, Peter Beard, Yousuf Karsh, James Nachtwey and Jean Pagliuso, among others. “There’s nothing in this house that doesn’t mean something to me." 

The Wilson House has elements common in Kesling’s work: dramatic clerestory windows, a private alcove inside the living room, curving lines that call ship design to mind and an abundance of light. The last attribute is heightened by Huguley’s decision to skip curtains, favoring views of lush landscaping instead of privacy and shade.


“My taste and style have been influenced by the films of the ‘30s,” the actor said, citing “Lost Horizon,” “Bringing Up Baby,” “Top Hat” and “The Thin Man.” Other influences: the art of the era, social realism and the photographs of Margaret Bourke-White and Dorothea Lange. “William Kesling epitomizes all of it for me — his sense of the future and simplicity and streamlined approach. I feel like I’m living in a piece of art and history.”

MORE PROFILES: L.A. home and garden design

Many Kesling houses have been altered or even razed, but Huguley said he has tried to respect the home’s original details, such as the tall steel windows and an unglamorous, wall-mounted porcelain sink in the upstairs bathroom. The actor admits he’s been teased about it. “The person who built this house put the sink in himself,” Huguley said. “I’m not taking it out.”

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