Talking Travel, Interior Design Inspiration, and 'Home' with Ellen Degeneres
Ellen Degeneres may not get to travel the world as often as she'd like—she does have her own TV show, after all—but that doesn't mean worldly influence doesn't make its way into her home design. In fact, interior design is much more than a hobby for Degeneres, and her new book "Home" reflects that. She's been flipping homes (nearly a dozen, to be specific) for the past 25 years. "Home"—which hits bookstores on October 27th—walks outsiders through seven of her projects: Beverly Hills, Horse Ranch, Trousdale Estates, The Villa, The Brody House, Beverly West, and Birdhouse. The book also gives readers a peak into the spaces of some of her favorite designers in an added "Friends and Collaborators" section.
To celebrate the occasion, we spent some time chatting with her on the travel inspiration behind her design, her flying must-haves, and more. She even shared her go-to tip for keeping your space feeling fresh all year long.
Travel Inspiration: Head to the Movies
"I don’t get to travel too much around the world—I was spending too much time traveling around the United States when I was touring for stand-up. It’s just recently that I’ve been able to experience different parts of the world. I was always drawn to things from other places because they’re older. I’ve always been drawn to African pieces. For a while, I was working with a lot of Italian and Spanish stuff. I like to move homes, as you can see. Some of the stuff is very Spanish/Italian-inspired and then turns into a little bit of mid-century. It’s a collection of a lot of different things.
Some of them, I was just inspired by images in movies or magazines—'Out of Africa' is one of my favorite movies, so I think that’s what inspired me the most. Some of it I did buy from a flea market in Paris, or different places in Saint Tropez or Nice—different places in France."
Leave the Packing to the Pros
"I let someone else do that. I’m not going to risk wrapping it in a T-shirt or something. If it’s something that fragile, I have the person I’m buying it from wrap it up. Most things I have shipped, which takes a long time. I’m getting a couple of chairs and a coffee table from Paris and it’s finally coming in just now—I’ve been waiting for a month. That’s always tricky when you’re buying something."
"I put my favorites in the book—that’s what I thought would set the book apart. There are a couple of places I left out that are in Montecito, where I live. William Laman is a great shop that I didn’t put in the book. I’ve been to the Hamptons once and there’s a place called Wyeth there that I like."
Bringing Home on the Road
"I don't really have anything I bring with me on trips to remind me of home. I have photographs of my animals on my phone that I look at because I miss my animals. Obviously home is wherever I am at the time. I move a lot—I’m not one of those nesters that stays somewhere for 20+ years. I miss my bed, I miss my sheets—that’s the hardest thing about traveling. You get used to your own bed. Other than that, I don’t mind being in a different place. I don’t need to bring anything to remind me of home."
"I like rose water to spray on my face because it’s gets so dehydrating up there. I make sure to drink a lot of water and electrolytes. I’m not a high-maintenance traveler—it doesn’t take much for me. Unfortunately, I don’t sleep on planes. I wish I could. My essential is bringing Portia with me. That’s my essential."
Keeping Your Home Fresh on a Budget
"I don’t think things should stay static—especially during different seasons. If your living room looks one way in the winter, it should look different in the summer. It should be lighter, and airier. I like moving furniture around, too—if you can. That’s my trick. I constantly move objects around."
Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.