Scandal’s Katie Lowes, the quintessential nice girl made good, savors the fruits of her success high up in her Hollywood Hills home
Steal a few pages from actress Katie Lowes’s makeover playbook
TAKE YOUR TIME
“When you buy a house, live in it before making big decorating decisions,” advises Lowes. “You don’t want your [decor] to look like it all came from one store—you want things to seem accumulated over time, from trips you went on and gifts that mean something to you.”
RAISE THE ROOF
When Lowes moved in, the walls were painted dark brown. To create the illusion of added height, she decided to lighten things up, paying special attention to the way the wall color changes throughout the day. “We considered cream, but when the sun came in the morning, it would look pink—like we lived in Boca Raton,” she explains. “The shade we mixed from Portola looks gray, cream, or taupe at different times of day.”
“This is a no-coaster house,” says Lowes, who shudders at the notion of anything too precious. She seeks out hard-wearing textiles and metallic finishes when selecting furniture.
GO FULL SERVICE
Lowes likes to give out-of-town guests the five-star treatment: “I set up everyone’s bathrooms with shampoo, conditioner, and a supply of towels; the fridge is stocked with coffee, milk, orange juice, and snacks; and I give everyone extra keys and little sheets with the wireless code,” she says.
WARM IT UP
Lowes stores a stack of Mexican blankets she picked up in San Diego by the door, ready to grab when guests want to take in the skyline from the outdoor porch after dinner.
SING, SING A SONG
To liven up gatherings, the couple have been known to bring out a karaoke machine gifted to Lowes by Ellen DeGeneres. That said, Lowes is careful not to have it to too readily available. “My husband is a night owl and is known to sing Meatloaf at 1 a.m.,” she says.
- The open-plan living and dining room is the heart of the home—and the feature that helped seal the deal. “Because I used to cater a lot of parties, I noticed that houses that have a big open floor plan are the ones you can fit a lot of people into,” Lowes explains. “Since we’re party throwers, a grand room is really important.” It’s also the spot where their family heirlooms live, from the intricately carved Costa Rican rocking chair that Shapiro grew up with to the richly textured Machu Picchu tapestry picked up on a trip to Peru. Above the fireplace, a gift from Lowes’s Irish grandmother is on display—a plaque emblazoned with a Gaelic proverb that translates to “there is no fireside like your own fireside.”
- Lowes admits there are still many items on her to-do list; for starters, figuring out what to do with the guest bathroom, which is tiled in an out-of-place Hollywood Regency lavender. “In one way it’s sassy and cute, but it’s also like, what the hell is that?” she says with a laugh. “Redheads love it. But I think that’s just because it goes well with their coloring.” Then she reveals that she’s quietly entertaining the idea of going full-on kitsch and wallpapering the room in a pattern featuring animals smoking hookahs.
- Despite her admittedly limited patience for getting things just right, there’s a sense that she’s savoring every last detail, tweaking the space until it’s unmistakably hers, down to the custom-mixed interior color: a gray, cream, and taupe hue she refined with her close friend Jamie Davis, owner of Portola Paints. It’s evidently less about making it perfect than it is about just Making It, with all that represents—sharing the realization of a dream with her inner circle, her ultimate signpost for success. “We hosted my husband’s entire family this year, and that was a huge moment,” she says. “For us to be able to have everyone stay here and not be in hotels… because we have our own little slice of Hollywood? That. Is. Insane.”