Oprah's Hawaiian adventure began a couple of years ago when her personal trainer turned property manager, Bob Greene, planted the idea that she might buy land on one of the islands. Besotted with the weather, the mountains, and the ocean, Bob had been visiting a certain part of Hawaii for 15 years, looking for "the perfect spot."
He found it in a remote up-country region, where the houses that dot the moss-covered rock hillside face the ocean. Bob then convinced Oprah to look at a nearby property for sale. "He was worried that some developer might swoop up the land and build condos," Oprah says.
Instead, she bought the land—and has no plan to build any condos.
After designing every room in her Santa Barbara home, Oprah was ready to turn the design reigns over to someone she trusted. So she called on her hairdresser and confidant of 20 years Andre Walker and his partner of 10 years David Simmons. Before they could say, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, it was time to shop. "We went to the finest place for furniture that a person can go to—Oprah's storage space," Andre says. "She has an amazing collection of heirloom quality furniture from the farm she used to own in Indiana. It was all just sitting there waiting for us to start reupholstering. We felt like kids at Christmas, and she was Oprah Claus," David says, sounding, well, like a kid at Christmas.
|"We fell for these landscapes by Colorado artist Paul K. Smith, and we grouped them together in the dining room. The colors are so vivid, and they change with the light of the day," Andre says.|
|"And we found Carlos Sanchez, this phenomenal painter who totally understood our vision," David adds. "When we couldn't find the right wallpaper, he came in and created those subtle stripes on the walls."|
|The sofas, upholstered in Scalamandré fabric, face each other across an ottoman covered in a floral from Bergamo Fabrics. The custom rug is from Atelier Lapchi; the chandelier is from Paul Ferrante Inc.|
Knowing Dan Bifano's reputation—he has designed a number of high-profile gardens, including several for Barbra Streisand—Oprah asked to meet him when she moved to Montecito.
After arriving with a bucketful of assorted roses to get a sense of Oprah's reaction to color, style, and texture, Dan created gardens that would complement the colors inside the main house. Then, he spent the next five years—with the help of hybridizer Tom Carruth—bringing an entirely new rose into being.
The Legends Rose, which will be available to the public beginning in December 2008, is one of the largest hybrid teas ever created. Oprah named the rose, which is red with black tips and ruffled petals (like "a Spanish dancer's dress," Bifano says) in honor of the 18 African-American women—the legends—she celebrated with a three-day festival in 2005. She has a photograph of these women hanging in her main house: giants of the arts like Maya Angelou, Tina Turner, and Ruby Dee, side by side with 36 "young'uns" like Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Alicia Keys. "All the young'uns paid tribute to the elders," Oprah says. "I had a ball'
As she continues along a cobblestone road that winds its way through her property, Oprah points out a path—Hallelujah Lane, she calls it—lined with thousands of white hydrangeas. She didn't have a garden when she was a child, she says. "All I had was the hydrangea bush that was in front of my grandmother's porch.
|In Oprah's library at her California home, an African-American doll takes pride of place on the sofa, and two paintings by Harry Roseland (Rent Day and The Writing Lesson) flank the doorway. |
Nate Decorates Oprah's Office:
Oprah Makes a Surprise Visit
"One of my favorite hobbies is decorating," says Oprah. "I love looking inside other people's homes!" And when she saw her neighbor Rob Lowe's home featured on the cover of Architectural Digest, she couldn't wait to get inside
|The View from the Patio |
The Lowes' backyard has a little something for everyone. When Oprah arrived, Rob was cooking pizza in the outdoor oven. There is also space to relax in the shade next to the hydrangea, take a dip in the pool or play football on their amazing lawn, like their sons do.
|The Veranda |
The tour doesn't stay inside long when Oprah catches a glimpse of the view outside!
|The Lowe's New Puppy |
The view...the company...and the newest member of the Lowe family, a sweet bullmastiff puppy, made this patio Oprah's favorite spot
7.George Michael Home In England
..Next up, George shows off the library. "It wasn't here when we bought [the house], but I think every house should have a library," he says. "I'd love to tell you that all the books in this library were Shakespeare or Wordsworth, but most of them are just antique books that we bought in bulk. But I think they're just beautiful, so they're kind of furniture rather than cultural input'
The kitchen is modern, but it has some vintage touches like an Aga cooker. "It's an essential ingredient to any British, old-fashioned kitchen—and for people like me and Kenny who indeed are extremely absent-minded," explains George. "The great thing about this is you can stick something in there, like a chicken or whatever, and if you forget that it 's there, you're not gonna burn the house down; you just get a lump of coal for dinner!"
George and Kenny's garden is next to a beautiful 10th century church. Along with a gorgeous garden, their backyard sports a swimming pool and pool house "It's actually lovely to come out here on a summer's evening when it's light, about ten o'clock, and just sit here with all the doors open. It's wonderful," says George.
For George's 40th birthday, Kenny gave him this sundial, which also acts as a compass. It points to the cities where they own other homes.
8.Mindy Grossman Home
It took two seconds for Mindy Grossman to fall in love with the rambling old house and another nine years of gleeful collecting and fearless renovating to make it completely her own. What she's discovered along the way—about honoring the past, embracing the new, and staying true to your vision—could serve as a blueprint for living.
"My husband jokes that this is the only place I can do the movie version of relaxing—which is, you don't sit and relax, you're just in a different environment," says Mindy Grossman. The photograph behind Mindy is by Henri Cartier-Bresson.