A frequent traveler, Nina Dobrev is always on the go. So it was when the pandemic hit that the actress buckled down and painted the outside of her Los Angeles home… by herself.
“I used to say that I lived most of my life on planes, because I’m constantly traveling for work and pleasure,” Dobrev told Architectural Digest. “But the pandemic was the first time that I was in my home for an extended period of time.”
Dobrev headed to Home Depot for a pressure washer and some paint, and coated the late-1920s Spanish-style home’s mustard-yellow exterior in a matte white tone.
“Maybe it’s the frugal side of me, the Eastern European Bulgarian girl that was like, I don’t want to pay a lot of money to have a bunch of people come and paint this, and I’m bored,” she shared.
Along with her boyfriend, snowboarder Shaun White, Dobrev painted the house, which “took forever.”
“Let’s just say on day one or two we were really excited, and then by day three or four and into the first month, I was like, ‘what have I gotten myself into?’” Luckily, it turned out well, so Dobrev is “happy she did it.”
Inside, Dobrev was determined to have the living room’s fireplace “be a statement.” She preserved its historic detailing, and consciously made sure it was the bold focal point that stood out in the light and airy home filled with soft fabrics. Over the mantle, a photograph of a baby lion Dobrev saw on a South African safari holds court.
The kitchen space underwent a significant renovation. The wall dividing it from the dining room was knocked down to create the open-concept space of Dobrev’s dreams. A large island with seating where Dobrev could entertain was installed, as were reclaimed terracotta tiles from Europe on the floor. Olive green cabinets, brass fixtures and kitchen countertops made from a maximum leathered Dolomite slab completed the space. Of course, don’t miss the high-tech refrigerator that opens with just a tap of Dobrev’s foot. The breakfast nook was also expanded, allowing the space to fit up to 10 people rather than four or five.
Dobrev wanted her bedroom to “feel very inviting, very jumpable.” A green-lacquered longhorn skull Dobrev found on the side of the road during a road trip was mounted over a black, chesterfield bed, while antique-style quilt and pillows made the space ultra-cozy. Dobrev chose to keep the bathroom as it was to preserve the unique Mission-style architecture. Tiled in a cornflower blue tone, there’s occasional cracks that can be spotted. However, Dobrev loves “the charm of it. I didn’t even want to re-do it. I wanted to keep it.”
Dobrev’s media room is where she spends plenty of time watching Netflix and HBO Max. Filled with plants, Buddhas and rich green walls, the space exudes serenity. Hanging over the cloud couch is a piece by Dobrev’s mother, a painter, made by hand with charcoal that depicts an X-ray of an old film camera.
Outside is Dobrev’s “little slice of heaven.” An entertaining area for “outdoor hangs with the girls,” sits next to the swimming pool and spa, as does the yard filled with vintage furniture. That area leads to the former pool house, which Dobrev converted into a gym during the pandemic.
“I started getting really antsy and ordered all this gym equipment cause I needed to work out somehow,” said Dobrev, who admits she actually uses the space a bunch now that it’s a gym than when it was a pool house. A bright red SMEG fridge, oversized television, and neon signs keep the space vibrant, as do mounted surfboards.