Nina Dobrev has been working in Hollywood since the 2000s, when she began starring in hits like Degrassi, The Vampire Diaries, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. But her four-bedroom L.A. home is not your typical West Hollywood pad. Dobrev, who is Bulgarian and spent some of her childhood in the south of France, leaned into her heritage when conceiving the interiors. While an airy sense of California cool is evident in sleek brass details and locally-sourced art and furniture, her careful preservation of the residence’s late-1920s Spanish-style architecture provides a sense of European elegance.
Like many who have plunged into a remodeling frenzy throughout the last year, the pandemic was what pushed Dobrev to do a revamp. “I used to say that I lived most of my life on planes, because I’m constantly traveling for work and pleasure,” Nina Dobrev says to AD. “But the pandemic was the first time that I was in my home for an extended period of time,” she says, explaining that the very first thing she did was paint the entire exterior of the house herself.
“Maybe it’s the frugal side of me, the Eastern European Bulgarian girl that was like, I don’t want to pay a lot of money to have a bunch of people come and paint this, and I’m bored,” she says with a laugh. Whatever it was, she went to The Home Depot for a pressure washer and some paint, and proceeded to coat the home’s mustard-yellow exterior a fresh matte white.
This isn’t to say that Dobrev is a minimalist when it comes to color: “Oh no, Nina wasn’t scared of color,” says Charlie Barstein, who—under his eponymous firm, Charlie Barstein Interiors—worked with Dobrev during the pandemic to remodel her abode. His biggest challenge, and the home’s focal point, was Dobrev’s kitchen. With olive green cabinets and textured terra-cotta floors, it’s reminiscent of a beautifully decorated French country cooking area that’s truly meant to be used. European influences can be seen elsewhere as well, from the vintage terra-cotta tiles imported from Italy to the retro-looking Ilve range (also Italian). Barstein even added a butler’s pantry, which he decorated with a found piece of artwork from a local showroom.
The most substantial change was the removal of a wall that had been a part of the building’s original 1929 architecture. Blocking off the dining room, it effectively created a cramped galley kitchen that Dobrev rarely used. That wasn’t too bad back when she was bouncing across the country to different sets, but, as Dobrev puts it, “my old kitchen was my 20s kitchen, and now this is my adult, 30s kitchen.”