Mindy Kaling loves color. After revamping her New York apartment with bright, primary hues, the comedic star—and expectant mother—looked to give her West Coast backyard a summery punch. The Los Angeles home and garden was a collaboration with interior designer Katie Ridder and stylist Alyssa Lewis of The Studio at One Kings Lane—the group behind Kaling’s Manhattan makeover.
For this, the team carved out a cozy, eclectic, lush slice of California. A place where the artist could entertain and host writing sessions with her team. Immediately Kaling says she envisioned poolside fetes, barbecuing, lounging by the pool, swimming laps, and playing croquet. Put simply in her own words, she wanted to embrace “the new Mindy Kaling outdoor lifestyle.”
“I can’t be this misanthropic comedy writer who doesn’t invite people over,” she says, “so I’ll have to turn a new leaf in terms of how I socialize.”
Her Hancock Park property boasts lots of privacy with a natural screen, thanks to rows of mature arborvitaes and classic California hedges. The serene setting offers the ability of living uninhibited en plein air—something the star was looking forward to. Yet the stone terraces, sprawling lawn, and big swimming pool beckon parties and Kaling—vowing to no longer be the one who merely RSVPs but to actually start hosting herself—craved a place groomed and ready to throw a few herself.
After careful thought and lots of stalking on Instagram (her words), she enlisted Katie Ridder, falling for the way the designer worked with color and scale. Ridder found a way to give the grounds purpose with strategic spaces for different gatherings from cocktails to casual meetings, and of course, lots of colorful personality.
She created distinct, parallel zones for lounging and dining, promising the hostess there would be no buzzkill of bad spatial flow. Then she filled them with warm woods with lots of teak furniture (which she chose for its resistance to weather, rot, and parasites) that will turn grey with age, matching the tone of the house, along with cool blues from pillows and garden stools all pulled from One Kings Lane.
The team worked closely together to give the star a formal, but welcoming place to relax, surrounded by bright, happy accessories. “The best thing about the process was not having to do it myself but instead having this incredibly talented artist show me things and then letting me decide what to buy. It was fun, like shopping, but without having to leave my house.”
Color flows throughout from royal blue cushions to turquoise tables to teal throws. Raspberry hydrangeas fill vases while a hot pink flamingo floats in the water, ready for Kaling to start her laps. “In my New York apartment, I have a cleaner aesthetic—cream as the base with pops of color, which is typically what people do in LA. And my LA home is just full of color and really gilded inside and out, so I kind of swapped coasts,” Kaling says. With summer in full swing, cue the pool parties and creative jam sessions.
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Photos by Joe Schmelzer