Set Pieces: The 'Harry Loves Lisa' house
It's hard not to like "Harry Loves Lisa," the TV Land reality series about actors Harry Hamlin and wife Lisa Rinna. Though there is drama -- he blows auditions and she decides to have a lip reduction -- they are good parents and great friends who still remain easy on the eyes.
The couple's 5,000-square-foot hilltop home is equally attractive. With a lush Franco-Tuscan take on classic California decor that includes a romantic outdoor room, above, the house is so camera-ready it looks like a set decorator fluffed it.
"Absolutely not," said Hamlin, who once dreamed of being an architect or designer. "The only thing that might get fluffed around here is Lisa's hair."
In the mid-1980s, Hamlin bought the property, which was built in 1939 for James Roosevelt, brother of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. "It was kind of a dump," the actor said. Hamlin restored it, designing the outdoor living room around wisteria that was original to the property.
In the fourth episode of "Harry Loves Lisa," which airs at 10 p.m. Wednesday, the couple celebrate their anniversary by rekindling the same beeswax candles that Hamlin had made for their wedding reception. (Is that sweet or what?)
Hamlin furnished the outdoor space with a wicker sofa bought decades ago at Bountiful in Venice. New cushions were made at Rafael's on Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood using a striped Sunbrella design found at Diamond Foam & Fabric. He collected the rustic tables from visits to the Rose Bowl Flea Market. The brass and copper table lamp has been in his family for generations. "It was sitting on a table in the living room of the Pasadena Craftsman house where I grew up," he said.
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"My first love has always been design," said Hamlin, who got "sidetracked" by theater, which he recalls in the memoir "Full Frontal Nudity," his recently released literary debut.
"I have a certain love for creating living spaces that are comfortable and interesting."
He also designed the interior of Belle Gray, Rinna's Sherman Oaks retail store.
"I went to Home Depot and built it myself," Hamlin said.
Rinna, likewise, has the decorating gene. She designed the family room L-shaped chenille sectional, shown behind the couple.
"It's from Sofa U Love," Hamlin said.
He purchased the twine-bound pottery lamp in Orange County while filming "Laguna Heat."
The portrait above the lamp is of the stallion Mambrino King, a famous trotter. The artwork was commissioned by Hamlin's great-great grandfather, who owned the horse.
The phone is a land line. "I don't like cordless phones," Hamlin said. "They don't work."
When they are interviewed on camera, "Modern Family" style, Harry and Lisa often sit on an ornately carved bench camelback with a cane back and arms, which is another Hamlin heirloom.
So does he gravitate to things with a connection to his family's past?
"Well," Hamlin said, laughing. "They are cheap."
-- David A. Keeps
Photo credits: TV Land