It’s 10 o’clock in the morning in Los Angeles, and June Diane Raphael is wrapped up in an oversized, blanket-like robe, sitting on the most prized possession in her home. It’s a dreamy, deep olive-hued…sleeper sofa. The star of Grace and Frankie and the upcoming film The High Note (available to stream on Amazon and Apple TV on May 29) found the ABC Carpet & Home pick after shopping for months for something that would fit perfectly in her home office, which also functions as a guest room.
“It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” she says, on a call from her home in L.A. “People are so confused when they find out it’s a sleeper. It’s also incredibly comfortable so you get a restful night’s sleep on it. I’ve been up since 5:30am and I could take a nap right now.”
The office-slash-guest-room has become Raphael’s safe haven over the last two months — a place where she can hide out from the kids for a bit, while trading off homeschooling duties with her husband, fellow actor and writer Paul Scheer. “Every once in a while a child will run in, but for the most part they know to not come in when I’m in here,” she says with a laugh. When she’s not working, she enjoys people-watching: “The couch is next to a window, and I’m really loving seeing people walk by. I knocked on the window to say hello to a neighbor the other day, and I put my hand to the glass like, ‘When will I get out there?’ Sometimes I feel like people look up and they’re like, ‘Who’s that sad lady in a robe with giant headphones on staring at me, smiling?’”
In addition to using the office to write and prepare for auditions, Raphael, a co-founder of The Jane Club (a LA-based coworking space for mothers), is working hard with her team to make sure mothers and caretakers feel supported during this pandemic, building a “village of resources” online with a digital version of the club called Connected Jane.
Below, Raphael shares some of her other quarantine essentials, including the details on her favorite robe, a spontaneous backyard purchase that backfired, and the surprising exercise routine she learned from her son’s kindergarten class.
Family workout: Last year, we did a visit to my son’s kindergarten class, and all the kids got up and punched out the sounds of the alphabet. It was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen, and it was brilliant to give their bodies this muscle memory. As we started homeschool, I emailed asking where to find it. It’s “Lettercise” by Dr. Jean Feldman. When I played it, I started kind of grooving to it. And I was like, goddammit if I don’t want to join in. So I started doing it with the kids. And then I did it alone and started getting way too into it.
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Not Chef Raphael: I make food for the kids all the time, but I don’t consider that like, cooking. It’s just pasta with butter. I get really depressed about cooking because I’m like, “Oh, I got through this whole day, I’m a bit exhausted, and now my reward is to wash the dishes?” I’m finding I don’t have the bandwidth for it, and I would much prefer to give my children the gift of the sane mother rather than try to make elaborate meals and do something spectacular.
Cozy wardrobe: I got this UGG robe for myself right before I was going to give birth. I don’t know what I was thinking. I had a vaginal delivery and purchased like a bright, snow-white robe. I was like, “This will be perfect!” And I destroyed it immediately. That was not the right decision. But that’s part of the reason why I’ve purchased multiple robes. The one I have is tan now, and you just feel like you’re walking around in a giant blanket.
The perfect scent: The other thing that I’ve been really happy to have — and this is a real luxury item — is the Coqui Coqui diffuser in the Coco Coco scent. This thing is my whole life. And, again, this is a spa-lurge. I’ve been really intentional in the last year about buying gifts for myself, when I get a job or get something done that I wanted to do. Like, actually spending money on things just for me. I’m obsessed with it, and it makes me happy to smell the house this way, so it’s right in the entryway.
Impulsive quarantine purchase: I am proud to say that I haven’t gone crazy on myself. But I did, unfortunately, buy the kids a bouncy house because I was like, I need to occupy them. They had so much energy! And then like a week later one of them broke their arms in it. So that was a huge fail.
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How kids rule the house: We had a whiteboard in our office to write ideas and to have as a a writer’s board to break out stories. And now it’s, of course, keeping track of our Paw Patrol schedule and how long kids can use their iPads. But Paul and I both sort of lost our minds the other day when someone sent out an email about a Zoom call that said, “Take your children out of the room.” You had to hold me back, because I was just like, “Where would you like them to go? Is there a place that I could send them to?’” The kids have taken over the house, because the kids are never not here, and that’s the way it’s always been.
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