I can’t wait for you to meet Laura Tremaine. As her blog’s name suggests, she is a Hollywood housewife. Equal parts red carpet and playdates, she has a sweetly grounded view of an L.A. life that would prompt me to pinch whoever was next to me! Not Laura. She still calls Oklahoma home, even though it’s been years since that’s been true. I know most of us who’ve moved out – but never really on – will understand this. Home is sometimes a tricky place to define, isn’t it? Lucky for Laura, her Hollywood house also plays the role of home quite convincingly! I know you’re going to enjoy the Tremaine tour, Friends. And, action! (Also. No fish were harmed in the making of this tour. I promise.)
Q: Please tell us all about the family who makes this stunning house a home.
A: We’re a family of four who makes our home in the Hollywood hills of Los Angeles. I’m a blogger and a writer, and my husband Jeff is a producer and director for both television and film. Together we’ve created a spunky little girl who is three, and a hilarious little boy who is one.
Our life is unusually chaotic. We live in a beautiful area of a glamorous town, but our red carpet life has a hefty dose of kid vomit and toddler tantrums. We celebrate both the very surreal and the very normal parts of this season.
Q: How did the house become yours?
A: My husband owned a home directly under the Hollywood sign when we got married. We lived there until my daughter was born, but the house was just not family friendly. We discovered our home one weekend when we were hitting up open houses in the next neighborhood over. We immediately loved it and also decided it wasn’t for us. It was bigger than we needed, and the outside had zero character. It was just a big gray box – it looked like a compound! Also, it had been on the market for over a year and was in a little bit of disrepair.
But for weeks we just kept talking about it. We decorated it in our minds. “You know, if we bought that house, we could…”
It is a 1920s home designed by a well-known architect. There was no doubt that the house was beautiful and had lots of potential. We were wary of how long it had been unoccupied, but we weren’t scared of a fixer-upper. We got a great deal on it, and it is still our favorite place to be on earth. We have a long list of things we want to remodel, but we try to keep within the character of the Hollywood Regency style. We’ve done a ton of landscaping and redecorating, and last summer we completed a big kitchen remodel.
Q: When was the first moment you fell in love with the house?
A: I loved the house right away, even before we admitted to ourselves that it was The One. But I knew for sure it was calling to us when we went back with a realtor the second or third time. While on the market, the entire interior was painted a pale yellow that was not to my taste. My husband and I were standing in the empty living room and at the same time we said variations of, “This room would look great painted pink!” And that’s when I knew.
Q: You’ve got little ones and a lot of little lovely things. How do you mix the two without anything – or anyone! – getting broken?
A: Well…things do get broken. Recently I had a really cool whale platter that became a casualty of my son. We do have nice things in the house, and we also have a lot of plastic toys. We all live here, you know? We have no great strategy, just common sense. I try to keep the most precious items out of reach of little fingers, and the most priceless stuff – our art – is secured to the wall.
Q: That is an enormous fish tank!
A: It is! That 1,200 gallon fish tank is quite the attraction and did not come with the house. My husband is an avid animal lover, and had been bugging me to get a large tank for awhile when the opportunity fell into our lap. The Animal Planet show Tanked made an episode about our tank and its installation. (You can see some behind-the-scenes antics from the filming here!)
I was so resistant to that ginormous thing at first, but I have to admit that it’s become like part of the family. My kids love it, and yes…I’ve already thrown a party with a fish theme!
Q: Your blog is wonderful. What are your hopes for it?
A: Thank you! I am really passionate about blogging. It’s the perfect medium for me. I love how it can be serious one day and silly the next. It feels like you’re really taking a journey with the blogger.
Blogging has changed my life in many ways, introducing relationships and opportunities. I’ve met some of my very best friends on twitter, and have traveled as far as Sri Lanka thanks to the blog. But writing is my first love, so in my wildest dreams I would write a book.
Q: Your husband works in Hollywood! (Other peoples’ jobs always sound so romantic, don’t they?) Can you share the Hollywood moments of your day…and the not so Hollywood moments, too?
A: It’s true, my very un-Hollywood husband is successful in the entertainment industry. He’s a creative genius, a strong leader, and a workaholic. We met on the set of his first movie, where I was a production assistant. His job takes us around the world on press tours and red carpets, but we always joke that we’re a half-second away from getting kicked out of these events.
Currently, he is shooting a feature film and has two television shows airing on two different networks. What looks very glamorous on the surface – and does include a lot of fun – translates to a lot of time in the edit bay or planning re-shoots. Since having children, he has limited his travel as much as possible, and nine days out of ten he gets up with the kids and cooks breakfast.
Earlier this year we went on a winter trip. On the flight home we were that family with shrieking kids and dazed-looking parents. We barely arrived at our house before a car came to take us to a friend’s major movie premiere. I’m pretty sure I went with dried up cookie on my boots. So that fairly encapsulates our current stage of life.
Q: What do you hope the decor you’ve chosen is teaching your children?
A: My husband is an artist first and foremost. He paints the most amazing pieces. He painted the turtle and flamingo in the playroom, and the skateboards and snowboards in the man room are printed with his creations. I can barely draw a straight line, but love decorating a space. Between the two of us, we’ve filled our home with things we love, not worrying much about if they “go.”
The thing that visitors comment on most in our house is the artwork. Most of it is original and some of it is controversial. We put a lot of effort into displaying our art because it makes us happy. I was surprised when we moved to our current home and friends said that it had the same feel as our previous one, even though the two houses are very different. So I guess we do have a certain style, though I would be hard-pressed to define it.
My husband likes “worldly” or “cultural” pieces. You can see his taste in the statues and the dining room table, and especially the carved doors we’ve added to the living room.
My touch comes out in the rooms with bold wallpaper and the gold faucet and pulls in the kitchen. I like the drama. On paper, these things shouldn’t go together. But somehow they work. So I hope I’m teaching my kids that art and beauty isn’t formulaic.
Q: When does your home work best? And what is it missing, if anything?
A: I am in love with our old home, but I admit that when I visit open concept floor plans, I get a little jealous of their ease. With my kids so little, having the kitchen and living areas accessible to one another would be so convenient. The living areas and playroom are out of sight to the kitchen, which is the heart of our home. It’s not something that’s missing, just something we have to work around.
Our home works best on sunny California days, when we can throw open all the french doors and enjoy true indoor-outdoor living. We splash around in the pool, or have a picnic in the yard. I try never to take for granted the gorgeous Los Angeles weather.
Q: What has been your favorite part about living with your own kids? What has surprised you about it all? And what do you already miss?
A: I love being a mom and sharing this life with my family. It’s funny, when I was pregnant with my first child, all I heard was the negative parts about becoming a parent: loss of sleep, time, wrinkles, diapers. It’s like this generation of moms swung the taboo pendulum too far to the other side. It’s my mission to tell women how much joy and fulfillment comes with being a mother.
Secretly, though, I did dread the clutter and craziness that comes with adding kids to the house. But I just have to shrug my shoulders at it now. This is who we are. These little people – and their toys – have an equal share on our space. The time will come soon enough when I’ll miss stray crayons under my feet, when my house will look perfect. That time is not now.
Q: Please finish the sentence: I wish someone had told me…
A: …to start writing and creating when I was much younger. I had a grand ole time in my twenties, but I should have been selfish in a different way. I didn’t truly start down a creative path until I was already in the thick of motherhood, so my attention is now forever divided. Better late than never, though! My life mantra is Start Where You Are.
Laura, thank you so much for the celebrity treatment! You’re probably so accustomed to it all, but I have to tell you it’s always a bit of a thrill to see how families are living – especially when they’re living in a place so different from anywhere we’ve ever lived! (I get the same responses from others about our time in France, and remember how interesting Erin’s tour was to us all?)
I love mantras, don’t you? They can make any goal touchable. Every challenging moment a little easier to endure. Do you have a meaningful one of your own that’s whispered whenever you need it most? I’d love to hear it.