Credit: David Miller
Inside 'American Horror Story' creator's LA and NYC homes
Writer and director Ryan Murphy was 8 years old when his parents first let him decorate his room. "I decided to buck the bland and go bold: olive-green walls, chocolate-brown shag carpeting -- and a gold disco ball," he recalled in the latest issue of Architectural Digest, as he opened the doors to his quietly luxurious LA and New York homes.
The creator of "American Horror Story," the high school musical series "Glee" and successful dramas including "Nip/Tuck," "Pose" and "Hollywood," has offered a rare glimpse inside the houses he shares with husband David Miller and their two sons.
While Murphy described his TV shows as "colorful and baroque," his approach to home design has become comparatively understated. Writing in the magazine's June issue, he traces a preference for toned-down interiors to around 2012, when his career started taking off and the couple's first son, Logan, was born.
"It suddenly dawned on me that I wanted to live with less: less color, less clutter, fewer things. An edited life," Murphy wrote. In other words, he wanted to live in "a monastery," as he told a friend who had called to inform him about a dilapidated property he had found in LA.
The house "was a wreck," continued Murphy, who said it even included a "fake-turf putting green" in the backyard. But the screenwriter nonetheless saw potential in the high ceilings and vast rooms. To help realize his vision, Murphy and Miller enlisted the help of interior designers Pamela Shamshiri and the Diane Keaton-approved Stephen Shadley, to facilitate a new pared-down approach.
"Out of that process came three rules of what I call 'minimalist luxury'" Murphy said, naming his golden rules as: "Repeat, repeat, repeat" (choosing three main materials and using them over and again), "make it big" (creating a regal and de-cluttered feel with grandiose objects) and "don't use color."
Today, the family's stunning LA home features muted white chalk plaster walls (which, Murphy points out, were popular in Spanish monasteries), an outdoor swimming pool lined with olive trees and an al fresco bathtub, as well as sculptures by François-Xavier Lalanne and the Haas Brothers. Photos in Architectural Digest also show furniture by renowned designers including Joaquim Tenreiro, Rick Owns and Axel Einar.
Heading out east
While in the middle of renovating his California dream home, Murphy got a call about another house in New York, where he'd always dreamed of living. It, too, had the monastic feel he was looking for.
"It was exactly the same vibe we were going for in Los Angeles, only... done!" he wrote. "No fireplaces to redo and obsess over. Everything was warmth and wood and air."
Like the family's other residence, Murphy and Miller's New York property is minimalist but far from bland. This time aided by designer David Cafiero and art consultant Joe Sheftel, the couple incorporated their sons' Swedish heritage into the interiors, while adding grand touches like a weighty stone soaking tub.
Murphy said they also "specifically sought out pieces from artists taken too soon by the AIDS plague," decorating the home with works by the likes of Hugh Steers, Robert Mapplethorpe and David Wojnarowicz.
But while the family has spent the past year in monochromatic luxury, more color may be on the way as the couple prepare to welcome their third child.
"I feel an attack of color and Legos and bright Magna-Tiles coming on," Murphy wrote. "We are expecting another baby, a boy, in August."