His Home + Heritage
Many accomplished designers, and quite a few visionary home owners, would agree that blending modern furnishings into a traditional home can at times seem a daunting task. For actor and television personality Mario Lopez, the dichotomy of the two styles coming together and creating an astonishing aesthetic and immaculate home proved to be an easy assignment. For years Mario has straddled the public’s perception of him as an all-American good boy, (hosting Extra! and the Miss America Pageant) , and the infamous chiseled, sex-drenched images of him naked in shower scenes for his role as Dr. Mike Hamoui on TNT’s provocative plastic surgery series Nip/Tuck.
Designing the interior of his home without the assistance of a professional, (but with a wink-wink, little bit of help from his friend Gary Andrews) personifies how Lopez transcends stereotypes and proves once again that a little dash of modern can personalize a large (over 5,000 square feet!) traditional Spanish home from cold and soulless to warm and inviting. “The house was built in 1928 but has had a remodel without losing the charm and simplicity of the original design. I wanted the home to feel classic and sophisticated but still comfortable,” Lopez states while reclining in his custom-made raw oak chair.
His interior needs have certainly changed from his days as a 20-something bachelor living the good life in Hollywood. “It’s so funny; my style has grown so much since I was in my twenties. It was cheesy back then! I’m talking black leather couches and IKEA showroom style. I didn’t know any better back then. As I’ve grown and matured, I have really begun to appreciate architecture and design. I think I really found out what I like and what works for me.”
What works for Lopez is decorating his home with key pieces that speak to his past, present, and future. The heirloom cross in the living room anchors the antique furniture that Lopez has collected at upscale vintage retailers and/or luxury auctions. The massive amounts of photos of family and friends throughout the years impress upon guests homage to traditional values and upbringing. “My family and friends are always staying over and I love to entertain. I think one of my favorite things about the house is all of the guest bedrooms. People can come over and not worry about drinking and driving or wearing out their welcome. I like to be surrounded by loved ones.”
“The essential things for making a house a home is quality friends and quality music. Cocktails don’t hurt either…”
Contrasting red walls surround Lopez as he saunters through the home. Most designers agree that red is a bold color choice for any house. The color is widely known to conjure up conflicting emotions ranging from passion and love to violence and warfare, but as it dances along Lopez’s interior one cannot imagine a single negative vibe in his house. It’s fitting that when asked what color walls he could not imagine in his house, he stated “green” without missing a beat.
“I wanted the home to feel classic and sophisticated but still comfortable.”
Green is often associated with balance and/or
a desire to expand...something that Lopez has little interest in doing. “I have no renovation plans or any major home improvement projects at all. I am perfectly content, although, I wouldn’t mind organizing my closet. I’ve kind of become like a Marine in the sense that I want everything in its place. I have been traveling so much that my closet definitely needs some updating.”
The same thing cannot be said about the rest of his abode especially his kitchen. Sleek appliances including a Sub-Zero stainless steel fridge, Viking hood and range, and an Avanti Thermoelectric wine fridge add that important layer of modern design in the traditional kitchen. The richness of the designer wood cabinets softens the Keidel granite counter, making the kitchen a perfect place for assembling comfort food including his famous, carne asada dinners.
Whether it be the neighborhood children knocking on his door or Lopez having the guys over for fight night (he has to utilize the numerous flat screen televisions) or having his renowned dinner parties with 80’s music heartbreak beating in the background, Lopez has made this traditional house a home.
To pull that feat off while straddling different styles and aesthetics is a skill that Lopez has proven he has had over the years. Now how do I manage to secure myself an invite to his next dinner party?