You already know what it’s like for a celebrity to buy a home. But what about the good stuff that comes after — the decorating, designing, painting, and primping? Cosmopolitan.com recently spoke with four interior designers whose clients range from musicians to movie producers. Speaking under the condition of anonymity (so the identity of the celebrity who requested to have a gold-leaf garage will forever remain a mystery), here’s what the experts revealed.
Designer A is based in Los Angeles, works mostly with musicians, and is not a fan of Restoration Hardware.
Designer B is based in Los Angeles and has a cliental that includes fashion designers, legendary divas, and actors.
Designer C is based in New York City and has over 20 years of experience. In her words, all her clients are “very sophisticated and have a very high taste level.”
Designer D is based in New York City, has been in the industry for 25 years, and recently renovated two bathrooms for a TV actress.
1. Celebrities are careful with their finances.
“Rarely do you get a real spender as big-name celebrities have their managers and advisors dealing with their finances,” says Designer A. “Many expect to get freebies and deals to tie into their celebrity appeal; however, I have encountered the emotional spender who will throw all to abandon to get their desired look.”
2. Even the young and the new.
“They’re cautious about spending their money. They’re not sure that although they’ve made it this far, where their next check is coming from,” according to Designer C. “One other thing I’ve noticed about younger celebrities is that they’re very concerned about what their peers and friends think.”
3. Not all celebs are billionaires, and not all billionaires are celebs.
Designer B says that she often forgets that “celebrities usually don’t have as much money to spend, or want to spend [as much as other clients]. They’re tight with their money and that makes it challenging to give them the lifestyle they’re looking for.”
4. But celebrities can still afford the most ridiculous things.
Designer B once had to rip out a pool three times because the tile did not match the color palette the celebrity had originally picked. “It turned out just fine,” she says. Designer D, meanwhile, once had a request to create an all-mirrored bathroom: “Every surface of the bathroom had to be mirrors, from floor to ceiling. It was very creepy.”
5. Celebrity pets are never left out of the designing process.
“I once had to design a special cabinet that was very expensive for a reptile so that it too would have a luxurious home,” Designer C says. Other weird things celebrities have requested from her: a shower for a dog and a custom-designed cabinet for a client’s yo-yo collection. “The dog shower was separate from the owner’s bathroom. It had a designated location in the mud room with a special tiled area with a hand shower.”
6. Being a celebrity doesn’t mean you have great taste.
“They’re a little more eccentric,” says Designer D. “I once had a celebrity want to gold-leaf the entire interior of their garage, stating they wanted to be surrounded in a golden glow upon exiting their car,” reveals Designer A. “I exited that job.” Designer C has run into similar problems: “People often will choose furniture that’s out of proportion, that’s too big or out of scale with the place they’re living in. Sometimes their ideas in color might sound great but in actuality, when you put it all together, it doesn’t work.”
7. Unless you’re a musician.
According to Designer B, “Musicians are incredibly creative. The ideas that come out of our work sessions are pretty brilliant … They haven’t become famous for just nothing, like a reality TV star. Musicians are so into their own magic in a good way. They really are creative from a music standpoint, which is very poetic; they take the time to hone their craft and it’s really respectable. I feel like we really share a parallel universe.”
8. There’s no place like home. Literally.
“As their lives are lived in public, home becomes a private sanctuary, and often a place to really expose who they are, where only their family and closest friends will get to meet the real them in real surroundings,” says Designer A. “Sometimes I have found the most glamorous stars on stage tend to be the simplest in real life, and while they may live in a large mansion, the interiors are humble, comfortable and very personal.”
9. There’s also no place like the kitchen. Or the bathroom.
“When we talk about special bathrooms, it’s using unusual and beautiful materials, or really gorgeous fittings,” Designer C says. “Having maybe a sauna, maybe a steam bath… a lot of people like ultra modern toilets that can perform lots of things, a bidet in a toilet, a heated seat.” (CC: Kris Jenner).
10. Some celebrities can be oblivious to their surroundings, even while at home.
“A big part of our job is being a referee. There’s a lot of titles—from the psychologist to the invisible person in the room—when there’s an argument between the husband and wife, you just kind of sit there and be the referee,” says Designer B.
11. Like the red carpet, Who Wore It Best also exists in the design world. And celebs will freak out.
As Designer A explains, “It’s a complete no-no to replicate something for one celeb to another design wise. I have been asked to create certain looks and pieces for different stars over the years by another and always try to sway that decision and tweak the look, citing that individuality within their home is as important as within the part they play or song they sing.”
Interviews have been edited and condensed.