In the world of celebrity real estate, where stars are constantly rotating in and out of multi-million-dollar homes, Julianne Moore‘s New York City townhouse is an anomaly.
Not only has the Oscar-winning actress, 56, lived in the stately home in lower Manhattan for 15 years, when she recently decided it was no longer suiting her family’s needs, she chose to renovate it instead of moving up and out.
“For years I dreamed about living in a townhouse in the West Village,” Moore tells Architectural Digest in the magazine’s November cover story. “The first time I walked into this one, I knew this was it—I fell in love.”
When she found the property, it was split up into run-down apartments, but, she says, “There was enough character left that we could bring the house back to its Greek Revival roots without destroying the soul and texture of the building.”
She and longtime partner, writer-director Bart Freundlich, whom she married in the backyard, embarked on a year-and-a-half-long renovation that would respect the history of the building while readying it for a new life with the couple and their children, Cal and Liv, now 19 and 15, respectively.
Of her remodeling ethos, Moore notes, “I like things that have real personality and authenticity. I hate a knockoff.” Adding, “I like things that feel human, things that tell a story. If it’s coming into my home, it has to have real meaning.”
Her recent redo made one major change in the house: swapping the basement kitchen for the light-filled living room. “We originally put the kitchen downstairs, where it’s supposed to be. That’s where we always ended up, crammed on a love seat, watching television. We never gathered in the living room on the parlor floor,” says Moore, who has a trio of films coming out this fall: Wonderstruck, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, and George Clooney’s Suburbicon.
Now the kitchen is at the rear of the first floor, right off a formal parlor. “I cannot recommend more strongly putting your kitchen somewhere with lots of natural light. It changed everything. Now we use the whole house,” Moore says.
The new cook space features a galley-style setup with all the appliances along one wall and a big dining table in the center. The actress admits its not for everyone: “Ultimately, this is probably not the ideal cook’s kitchen,” she says, “but then again I’m not the ideal cook.”