Step Inside Vanessa Hudgens’s Transporting Los Feliz Home

Vanessa Hudgens has a tradition. “When I’m in L.A., the first night that I’m home, I take a bath,” the actress says. It’s a literal and figurative immersion into the sanctuary that she’s crafted for herself in Los Feliz, a verdant, hillside neighborhood adjacent to the Hollywood Hills. She spent five years searching for the Georgian colonial house that she now calls home. “There were so many things about it that struck me,” she says. “Walking through the gate and seeing this house covered in ivy, surrounded by olive trees, it was like I had been transported to France or Italy. It felt like such an escape.”

The home’s history lured her further. Called the Little DeMille, it was built by the director Cecile B. DeMille in 1922, purportedly for his mistress. Prior to Hudgens, it was owned by the actor Gary Oldman, who’d put in 18th-century French oak floors. “I wanted an old home,” Hudgens says. “To me, there’s something so romantic about that, a home with character and quirks. I love the old Hollywood elements: The Art Deco air vents, the chandelier over the staircase, the yard that feels like a park.”

After purchasing the home in 2018, Hudgens hired the interior designer Jake Arnold to remodel the primary suite. She took on the task of renovating the kitchen herself during the pandemic. “I figured, Why not?” she says. “I got new marble, painted the cabinets, got new knobs and drawer pulls—I really wanted brass. My girlfriend Ashley Tisdale,” of the High School Musical series, in which Hudgens also starred, “does interior design, and I got her advice on where to shop.”

Hudgens thought she knew what she wanted to do with the living room. “I originally had the idea of it being very white and monochromatic,” she says, “and I ordered a massive, white linen sofa from RH.” It arrived. It didn’t work. “I popped over to a vintage store and found this pink mohair sofa that I fell in love with.” New plan: “‘Okay, we’re going for soft femme colors.’ I wanted the house to be super feminine, to celebrate women’s bodies, to be a kind of femme palace. The sofa plays into that.”

The homage to the feminine mystique continues outside. Hudgens enlisted the artist Carly Kuhn, known as the Cartorialist, to paint a sinuous mural of faces on the wall surrounding the pool. “I wanted to add a little bit of me to the backyard,” Hudgens says. A long table plays host to al fresco dinners that sometimes include the most local of produce. “I have two massive grapefruit trees that produce huge grapefruits—not as big as my head, but they’re close,” Hudgens says. Also out back Hudgens enjoys a bountiful avocado tree. “We make amazing guacamole,” she says. An ideal night involves the laughter of friends, the ballads of Edith Piaf, flickering tapers, and the head of the house immersed, at some point, in her favorite spot to soak it all in.

“Jake came with a couple of suggestions for the primary bed and bath, but for some reason, I gravitated towards the cave vibe,” Hudgens says. “I fell in love with the idea of sitting in this deep, ceramic bathtub with the windows open, hearing the French music outside waft up through the windows, watching the candlesticks burn.” Of late, Vanessa Hudgens has spent a lot of time on the road: She stars in Lin Manuel Miranda’s upcoming directorial debut, Tick, Tick. . . Boom! “It’s nice to know that when I get home, I’ll have a bath waiting for me,” she says. “I always savor that first soak.”

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