When Ashley Benson initially saw her future home in LA’s Los Feliz neighborhood, it wasn’t entirely love at first sight. “It was very old, and I really had to be open-minded [about] the potential,” the Pretty Little Liars actor recalls of the abode, which was designed in 1930 by architect Arthur Kelly. But Benson couldn’t help but be drawn to the Spanish-style five-bedroom. “The outside felt like I was in Barcelona, or somewhere in Europe. And if I [did the work], I knew I would fall in love with it,” she adds.
She purchased the house in 2020 and moved in after renovating the interiors. Benson enlisted her friend, interior designer Nicole Gordon, as well as architect John Farrace to help with the updates. “She really wanted to respect the architecture and the integrity of the house,” Gordon says. “I think we both felt it was really special that she was [only] the third owner and that there hadn’t been a lot of bad additions.” For her own part, the designer also couldn’t help but notice the home’s natural assets. “The bones and all the interior architecture were amazing,” she says.
The house, built more than 90 years ago, was filled with stairwells, tiny rooms, and extra pockets of space nestled throughout. This warren-like quality may seem undesirable in an era in which open floor plans so often reign supreme, but for Benson it helped spark a larger idea: “I wanted to make each turn and each room—no matter the size—a unique experience,” she explains.
To achieve Benson’s overall vision, some of the oddball layouts had to go. Gordon and Farrace “tore out almost every wall in the house,” which allowed Benson to see where rooms could exist. A library was revamped as a hybrid guest room, while a former staff’s quarters and wine cellar were combined to make a moody speakeasy. Elsewhere, Benson was able to create a Carrie Bradshaw–inspired primary closet.