A 10-foot-tall crystal chandelier and a set of custom-made silver thrones might not scream “contemporary farmhouse.” But Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher have somehow made them feel at home in their opulent yet rustic hilltop house in Los Angeles.
Inviting Architectural Digest magazine into their six-acre property, the couple have delved into the design process behind what Kutcher describes as a “home, not an estate.”
“We wanted the house to look like an old barn, something that had been here for decades, that was then converted into a house,” Kutcher is quoted as saying in the magazine’s June cover story.
But there was one major barrier to their dream of creating an authentic barn-style home: They weren’t restoring an old farmhouse – they were building one from scratch.
“Building a house from the ground up is no small thing,” Kunis is quoted as saying. “This was either going to make us or break us.”
Tasked with making the property feel both homey and “modern and relevant,” as Kutcher put it, architectural firm Backen & Gillam Architects was hired to bring their vision to life.
The resulting design, which took five years to build, comprises a main house, guest barn, pool and a barbecue pavilion. The property features beams made from reclaimed timber, soaring glass-paneled sliding doors and concrete walls designed to mimic the texture of wood grain.
Architect Howard Backen said the couple was involved in even the smallest details. “We talked about everything from beam sizes to the details of the cross bracing to the junctures of the wood planks and concrete,” Backen told the magazine. “These are not the kinds of conversations we have with every client.”
Backen said his celebrity clients were particularly interested in sustainability. The solar panels hidden in the property’s porch roof produce “significantly more” energy than the household uses, according to Architectural Digest.
‘Something more contemporary’
When it came to the house’s interiors, Kutcher and Kunis enlisted the help of Vicky Charles, who was just about to leave a post as head of design at the exclusive members club, Soho House.
Kunis said that the pair were “obsessed” with Charles’ work, which includes fitting out Soho Farmhouse, a British country estate reportedly beloved by celebrities from Victoria and David Beckham to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
“We loved the way she mixed fabrics, patterns, textures – really her whole aesthetic,” Kunis is quoted as saying.
Charles said that, throughout their discussions, the actors prioritized creating a comfortable home for their family, which includes their two young children, Wyatt and Dimitri.
“We spent months looking at materials and colors to find the right visual language,” said Charles, who also spoke to the magazine. “Our conversations were not just about the land and the architecture but also about the future of their family.”
Charles balanced her clients’ desire for both sleek modernity and farmhouse warmth, combining dark woods with neutral grays and browns. Plush touches came via emerald velvet couches by designer Montauk and contemporary light fixtures crafted by Hector Finch.
“Over time, the design moved away from a traditional farmhouse aesthetic to something more contemporary,” Charles said.
A gigantic chandelier and a set of silver thrones, commissioned by Kutcher on a trip to India, meanwhile offered an opportunity for Charles to do something playful with the interiors. The thrones went into the main bathroom, while the chandelier was moved to the guest barn.
“We thought it would be funny to have this incredibly opulent (chandelier) hanging in a barn,” Charles explained.