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Abigail Spencer abides by one major rule when it comes to decor. "Don’t put your house together right away," she says. "Everything you love will go together." This attitude leaves plenty of room for the actress, who has starred in such shows as Mad Men, Grey's Anatomy, True Detective, and Suits, to collect souvenirs from her travels, wander through flea markets or her favorite furniture stores (Lawson-Fenning is one), and to fill her space with sentimental touches, such as a surfboard from the Florida surf shop founded by her late father, renowned professional surfer Yancy Spencer III.
But there is a catch to her philosophy. After three years in the Spanish Colonial in Studio City, California, where she lives with her young son, Spencer found that her home still felt unfinished. "That is not my gift—the accents or the pulling it together," she says. So Spencer hired Tammy Price, of the Los Angeles–based interior design firm and home furnishings line Fragments Identity, to give the home a facelift.
"I’m just like, 'I love all this stuff and I know it goes together, can you pull it together?'" she recalls of her directions to Price, whose overhaul included a new, lighter coat of paint on the home's cream-color exterior (plus a fun minty-green shade for the formerly brown front gate), new patio furniture, a completely new color palette in the television room, and some choice items to tie together Spencer's decor throughout the rest of the home.
"It is a mix of different styles, which really reflects my life and background and just how much I travel," says Spencer. Below, she elaborates on the process and shares her favorite ways to put her new space to good use.
Architectural Digest: How did you find Tammy Price and what made you choose her to redecorate your home?
Abigail Spencer: It's a story about a throw blanket. Once upon a time I was doing a shoot with [photographer] Jenna Peffley, who did the photos of my finished home, and she had this blanket and I said, "Gosh, I love that." She also had this little bench with her and I was like, "I love that too! Can you make the whole house this throw blanket and this bench?" They had just a beautiful, neutral, textured natural fiber that had just a little bit of a black fleck and a little indigo. The bench had black and cream, and it had this feeling of history, but it was new. The throw blanket had a Japanese indigo kind of fabric running throughout, and they just felt so used and yet not used. So Jen, she says, "You will love my friend Tammy." We looked her up on Instagram right then and I started writing [to] her.
AD: Which room got the biggest makeover?
AS: Definitely the TV room. It was a sad brown, and now it is white and peach. I have all of these velvet shades in it, but mostly it is peachy, creamy. That's not my usual palette. Usually I go for more creams and blues and blacks, but I love it in there. It has become my favorite room in the house. When my friends saw it they were like, "What?!"
AD: Did Price incorporate any special pieces that you already owned?
AS: In my bedroom I’ve got this wall-size gallery photograph of County Line [beach in Malibu] by Adam Secore. It's a photograph of where my father died. I saw it at a gallery and started crying. Adam heard I had a reaction, found me, and gifted me the photograph. It is built into the wall. When I move from that house, if I do, that photograph will be going with me. It just feels like it is from my father's point of view of where he was looking at when he died, because he was sitting up at the cliffs when he had a heart attack. It was Valentine’s Day. It was very pretty poetic passing, just a lot of kismet, and I think maybe just because I’ve dedicated my life to storytelling that every piece [in the house] kind of has a story.
AD: Now that your home is complete, which rooms do you use the most?
AS: When my boyfriend is over, he plays the piano, so we spend a lot of time there doing a lot of singing and hoedown-ing at the piano. Also, I am a big believer in working from bed. So I love a bed day. I think Jim Gaffigan has a bit about having an all-day bed day—that is a great day for me. That’s just kind of the epitome of rest and luxuriating and restoring.
AD: Do you have any advice for someone who wants to revamp their space?
AS: Any time that I bought something because I felt like it would complete a room, I ended up getting rid of it. Delight in just being open to finding things that you love and not having a full plan.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest