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Ellen Pompeo opens the doors to her weekend home in Malibu


Written by Faith Karimi, CNN

Ellen Pompeo still remembers passing out in front of the beach house the first time she saw it. There was something special about the modernist structure, perched on a bluff overlooking the ocean in Malibu, California.

But there was a major hurdle: cost. At the time, “Grey’s Anatomy” — ABC’s medical drama series in which Pompeo played lead character Meredith Gray for nearly two decades — was still a new show and the house was too expensive. She reluctantly gave up her dream of owning it.

But not too long.

“I like to say I manifested this house,” Pompeo told Architectural Digest in an exclusive interview for the magazine’s January 2023 cover story.

Finely veined black marble covers accent walls throughout the home, including the living room. Credit: Douglas Friedman/Architectural Digest

Fast forward to 2013, and the house was on the market again. At the time, Pompeo was one of TV’s highest paid actors and jumped at the chance to add him to his real estate portfolio. (His family’s primary residence remains a 1920s Mediterranean-style house in Los Angeles.)

“I really love the craftsmanship and the art of the houses,” she told the magazine. “He exercises a different creative muscle.”

A classic property with modern touches


The 3,000 square foot property, designed by mid-century architects Conrad Buff and Donald Hensman, is the perfect spot for weekend getaways. Originally built in 1979, it wraps around a central courtyard lined with grass, palm trees and a swimming pool lined with pristine white marble.

The property's interior courtyard juxtaposes clean lines and crisp marble with lush greenery and pops of color on poolside furniture.

The property’s interior courtyard juxtaposes clean lines and crisp marble with lush greenery and pops of color on poolside furniture. Credit: Douglas Friedman/Architectural Digest

To help with renovations to the teak-clad home, Pompeo and her husband, Chris Ivery, tapped designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard, who this year is among those on Architectural Digest’s annual “AD100” list of the best. talents in design, decoration and architecture, alongside Nate Berkus, Hadley Wiggins, Andre Mellone, Young Huh and Justina Blakeney among others.
“Some people want a sterile home that makes them feel like they’re in a spa. But I like design that tells a story,” Pompeo told AD.

Throughout the house, subtle nods to this decorative principle add personality to its living spaces. The home also reflects “the sexy swagger of ’70s fashion,” as the magazine puts it — vintage patio chairs and a leather couch in the living room; a 1970s cutting table from Yves Saint Laurent’s studio in the lobby – and Pompeo’s appreciation for fashion icons of the era, with framed photographs of Diana Ross and Grace Jones on display.

Surf!  The January 2023 issue of AD features a tour of Ellen Pompeo's Malibu retreat.

Surf! The January 2023 issue of AD features a tour of Ellen Pompeo’s Malibu retreat. Credit: Douglas Friedman/Architectural Digest

As someone the magazine describes as having “a soft spot for real estate,” this isn’t Pompeo’s first renovation. She has already done up several properties, including a modern barn in Sag Harbor, New York. This is even his fourth project with Bullard, and there are more on the horizon. Pompeo and Ivery have purchased the property behind their beach house and plan to build what Bullard describes as a “true Malibu estate.”

A new home marks a new chapter

Pompeo is now taking a step back from the role she played for 19 seasons. His character says goodbye to the fictional Gray Sloan Memorial Hospital when the series returns in February; a promo teases the episode in which Meredith Gray will leave Seattle for a fresh start in Boston.
Going forward, Pompeo told AD that she’s preparing to embark on a new Hulu project and is otherwise reveling in both her newly found free time and her newly renovated home — and surroundings. That means long walks on the beach with her dogs and surfing sessions on her boogie board alongside her three children.

“I’m entering a very exciting phase of my life, if I do say so myself,” Pompeo said.