Celebrity Homes

Mindy Kaling’s Poolside Oasis

Mindy Kaling’s Poolside Oasis
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The backyard of Mindy Kaling’s new Los Angeles home is geared for entertaining. Rows of mature arborvitaes screen a stone terrace, grassy lawn, and swimming pool from the rest of its Hancock Park locale, giving Kaling just the right amount of privacy to live uninhibited en plein air. And since this is her first yard of this size and, dare we say, caliber, she admits she has a bit of work to do in order to fully embrace what she calls “the new Mindy Kaling outdoor lifestyle.” Whereas once she merely RSVP’d to poolside fetes, she’ll now actually have to throw a few herself. “I can’t be this misanthropic comedy writer who doesn’t invite people over,” she says, “so I’ll have to turn a new leaf in terms of how I socialize.” And as with any other new lifestyle worth embracing, the first step toward success was new decor.

Cue Katie Ridder, the top-notch interior designer who was enlisted (via Instagram) to get the grounds into tip-top shape. “Knowing things like where the seating area should be and the dining area should be is challenging for me, so I was happy that someone else made those decisions,” Kaling says. To avoid bad spatial flow (which any seasoned hostess will tell you is a buzzkill), Ridder created distinct zones for lounging and dining with an assortment of teak furniture and accessories sourced from One Kings Lane. Below, see how it all came together and hear more from Kaling on her poolside plans (Reese Witherspoon, she’s expecting you).

On the terrace, Ridder arranged the dining and seating areas parallel to one another. “Mindy wanted the space to function in a lot of different ways,” she says, and arranging furniture into distinct “zones” allowed for guests to do various things at once. Colorful outdoor accessories such as pillows and garden stools keep the outside as polished as the rooms indoors, which Ridder also designed.

On the terrace, Ridder arranged the dining and seating areas parallel to one another. “Mindy wanted the space to function in a lot of different ways,” she says, and arranging furniture into distinct “zones” allowed for guests to do various things at once. Colorful outdoor accessories such as pillows and garden stools keep the outside as polished as the rooms indoors, which Ridder also designed.

The choice of teak for the dining and seating areas was intentional. The wood’s natural oils make it resistant to weather, rot, and parasites. As it ages, it will fade to a signature shade of gray, tying in with the surrounding tones.

The choice of teak for the dining and seating areas was intentional. The wood’s natural oils make it resistant to weather, rot, and parasites. As it ages, it will fade to a signature shade of gray, tying in with the surrounding tones.

Blue ceramics and glassware brighten up the table, satisfying Kaling’s desire for a layered, colorful look.

Blue ceramics and glassware brighten up the table, satisfying Kaling’s desire for a layered, colorful look.

Beneath a pergola designed by Kaling’s father, Avu, sits another table surrounded by chairs backed with an updated chippendale motif. A console anchors the far end, serving as a bar or buffet alfresco.

Beneath a pergola designed by Kaling’s father, Avu, sits another table surrounded by chairs backed with an updated chippendale motif. A console anchors the far end, serving as a bar or buffet alfresco.

On the difference between her L.A. home and her Manhattan apartment:
“In my New York apartment I have a cleaner aesthetic—cream as the base with pops of color, which is typically what people do in L.A. And my L.A. home is just full of color and really gilded inside and out, so I kind of swapped coasts. In New York I needed to have a more sophisticated feel, which I think the apartment reflects, but out here, my style is more maximalist and full of colors and prints.”

On working with Katie Ridder:
“Katie and I met through me stalking her on Instagram. Initially I was looking for an L.A.-based designer, but I kept going back to her feed, even though I knew she was based in New York. There was just something about the way she used color and scale in her homes. They’re formal but also very welcoming at the same time. And the best thing about the process was not having to do it myself but instead having this incredibly talented artist show me things and then letting me decide what to buy. It was fun… like shopping, but without having to leave my house.”

Stairs lead to a lawn separating the pool from the terrace.

Stairs lead to a lawn separating the pool from the terrace.

Lanterns create instant ambience for evening affairs.

Lanterns create instant ambience for evening affairs.

Mindy’s Dream Guests

Reese Witherspoon: “She would be a great pool-party guest. Her entire Draper James line is basically made for being by the pool, she’s really fun, and she could drink margaritas with me.”

John Legend and Chrissy Teigen: “Maybe John would play music, and Chrissy could cook something from her Cravings cookbook… and let’s be honest, she looks great in a bathing suit.” 

I need to learn how to barbecue, swim better, and play croquet... those are just a few upcoming challenges for me in this new Mindy Kaling outdoor lifestyle I’ve decided to adopt.

— Mindy Kaling
Poolside, a striped and scalloped cabana provides shade for a row of loungers. A flamingo by SunnyLife drifts close by.

Poolside, a striped and scalloped cabana provides shade for a row of loungers. A flamingo by SunnyLife drifts close by.

Cushions upholstered in navy stripes add a nautical touch.

Cushions upholstered in navy stripes add a nautical touch.

I wanted the house to be a reflection of my personality and for people to feel relaxed while they’re here... to eat a lot, and drink a lot, and pass out if they need to.

— Mindy Kaling
Beach towels designed by Katie Ridder become an electric finishing touch (view them all here). 

Beach towels designed by Katie Ridder become an electric finishing touch (view them all here). 

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Shop Mindy’s Outdoor Look →

Related: Inside Mindy Kaling’s New York Pied-à-Terre

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