Actor Sean Hayes' Hollywood Home Went from Dark and Drab to Bright and Cozy

sean hayes and scott icenogle sitting on outdoor couch
Photo: Michael Garland

There's no acting involved for a Hollywood couple who play themselves perfectly in their updated home.

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Creating a Laid-Back Space

exterior view of tudor style home
Michael Garland

Sean Hayes is used to not being himself. As an actor and producer who creates and plays the roles of fictional characters (most notably Jack McFarland in the long-running sitcom Will & Grace), he spends lengthy days in someone else's shoes, channeling and perfecting someone else's personality.

So once Sean closes his script and hangs up his wardrobe for the night, he's ready to leave rehearsed dialogue and comedic timing behind for the laid-back, spontaneous life he enjoys with husband Scott Icenogle, a music producer and composer, in their Tudor-style home in Los Angeles's Hancock Park neighborhood.

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Before: Dark and Serious

before shot of dark carpeted stairway

But their home, which hadn't received an update in years, seemed to read more like a studio set for one of Sean's shows than an easygoing retreat that reflected their own style preferences. And neither was it ideal for spur-of-the-moment entertaining and fun with their friends.

"Its scheme and tone seemed too dark and serious," says Scott of the deep colors and heavy plaids that swathed the rooms before the design redo commenced. "This house needed to be comfortable, cozy, and fun, not only for us, but for all the people who we love to be around us. We wanted the update to be contemporary and classic, not too modern, and not museum-like. I think we got it."

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After: Bright and Light Foyer

white and neutral remodeled foyer
Michael Garland

Los Angeles-based interior designer Chris Barrett, who appreciated the couple's traditional sensibilities and desire to reduce the level of formality, was ready with a plan.

"The main objective was to brighten and lighten the look of the entire house," Barrett says. "Sean and Scott didn't intend for this project to endure major construction, but we did add some architectural elements. We also thought carefully about the original purpose of each room and assigned new functions to them as we saw fit so the house provided space for all of their needs."

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Enjoying the Natural Light

neutral tones naturally lit library
Michael Garland

Case in point: the library, which originally functioned as the formal dining room. Located in the front of the house, where natural light pours in through the windows during the daytime, the room was used primarily for evening dinners, so no one saw the sunshine. In addition, its buttoned-up ambiance wasn't conducive to the casual entertaining Sean and Scott prefer.

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Sitting Sunny Window Seat

sunny window seat
Michael Garland

Once a dining room, the space off the foyer now houses a library featuring floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and a cozy window seat.

"I wanted to take advantage of that daylight," Sean says. "So many people have light-filled rooms that are reserved for night. That's how the dining room was. We only saw it at night when it was dark and could never fully enjoy it with natural light."

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Ready to Entertain

slate blue billiards room
Michael Garland

With an eye toward the casual entertaining the couple favor, Barrett turned Sean's office into a billiards room with extra space where guests can linger. Blue-gray paint in a high-gloss finish covers the millwork and radiates a friendly disposition.

The new billiards room, located between the living room and the patio, which is accessed through French doors, helps establish an easy flow through these public areas. The arrangement makes for carefree entertaining when friends gather for activities such as game night, a rollicking, recurring event that's a nod to the Hollywood Game Night show Sean produces. Their guests often finish up the evening with an impromptu piano concert in the traditional living room, with either Scott or Sean at the keyboard (each can dazzle on the ivories).

"Sean and Scott don't take themselves too seriously," says Barrett. "This is where they house the well-deserved awards, but it's merely a representation of a good time in their lives, not up on pedestals."

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Chic Living Space

cream and terra-cotta living room with french doors
Michael Garland

Designer Chris Barrett lightened the previously dark and serious living room with a palette of cream and terra-cotta. Matching antique chests of drawers flank French doors. Sofas are covered in mohair, and a pair of chairs feature a hand-block print from Kerry Joyce Textiles.

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A Neutral and Warm Kitchen

gray and white bright kitchen with barstools
Michael Garland

Barrett carried the color scheme of the new billiards room into the kitchen, where an ever-so-slight shade of gray bathes the cabinetry, blending perfectly with Calacatta marble countertops and tile backsplash from Ann Sacks. The neutral shade brings a warmth that stark white cabinets often don't. Bar stools reference the spool chairs in the adjoining family room.

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Breakfast Room Bonus

neutral tones breakfast nook
Michael Garland

Anchored by a square table, the breakfast area features a banquette with a cotton-blend back and a pair of chairs upholstered in a hemp print. A vintage light fixture illuminates the area.

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Before: A Dull Family Room

green family room before remodel

The kitchen opens to the family room, where movies typically steal the spotlight when the couple entertains. Prior to the re-design, the style of the room was not in keeping with Scott and Sean's contemporary yet classic style.

Barrett added seating to the updated family room, all extra-comfortable for feature-film-length enjoyment, tripling the number of movie-watching guests that the room can accommodate.

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After: A Family-Friendly Space

neutral tones comfortable family room with modern art
Michael Garland

"The best way to maximize seating was to create a symmetrical arrangement with pairs of chairs and sofas," Barrett explains. "And because the family room was visible from the entry foyer, the chairs needed to be interesting and sculptural."

In addition to two sofas upholstered in light-blue wool, Barrett included a pair of spool chairs with embroidered linen cushions and two woven rope stools. They all surround an oak-top coffee table, generously oversized, that invites guests for that much-loved game night in addition to casual conversation.

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Sweet Accents

glass vases of candy in family room
Michael Garland

The classic family room shies away from any sort of formality with accessories such as oversize glass jars filled with movie theater candy.

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A Vibrant Master Bedroom

white vaulted ceiling master bedroom
Michael Garland

The master suite on the second floor has soaring vaulted ceilings that heighten the space. Walls and moldings are painted in a creamy white that provides a neutral backdrop for the colorful rug, which marries teal and turquoise for a peppy and vibrant take on tone-on-tone decorating. The four-poster, dressed in linens from Sferra, provides welcome volume for the vaulted architecture.

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Sitting Pretty

australian shepherd sitting on slipcovered chair
Michael Garland

Sean and Scott's Australian Shepherd, Buzz, basks in the sunlight on a slipcovered chair in the bedroom's seating area.

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A Fresh Master Bathroom

green wallpaper master bathroom
Michael Garland

Damask wallpaper in green and white brings a springlike vibe. Situated in front of a sunny window, the tub provides an ideal spot to relax.

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Attention to Detail

petite table and antique mirror in master bathroom
Michael Garland

A petite table sits beneath an antique mirror in the master bath, serving as a place to store extra linens.

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Welcoming Guest Room

earth tones guest bedroom
Michael Garland

The guest room welcomes in warm neutrals. A beautiful area rug from Mansour Modern brings subtle pattern to the space.

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Be Our Guest

sean hayes and scott icenogle sitting on outdoor couch
Michael Garland

Although there is no question that Sean and Scott are thrilled by the personal environment Barrett created for the two of them, they are especially pleased with the gracious comfort the update offers their guests.

"We love to experience the reactions from friends and family who visit," Scott says. "They always say how the design feels like a big, smiling 'hello.' We can't ask for a better compliment than that."

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