There are probably plenty of reasons why Reese Witherspoon decided to have her wedding at her ranch in the pastoral town of Ojai, California, when she married talent agent Jim Toth last spring, but the fact it's 85 miles away from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood sounds like a big one.
"As soon as I drive through the gate, I relax. The air is fresh, the phone isn't ringing, you can't access e-mail. Time slows down," the Nashville native tells Elle Decor, which got to take a peek inside the home the actress bought five years ago. "Within an hour I'm lying on that couch taking a big fat nap."
Originally built as stables in 1923 for glassware magnate Edward Drummond Libbey, the estate now includes the main house, a swimming pool, barn, and horse paddock. Witherspoon — who is mom to 12-year-old Ava and 8-year-old Deacon with her first husband Ryan Phillippe and is expecting a baby with Toth — also shares the ranch with donkeys, pigs, goats, chickens, and four dogs, which help gives her kids that country life experience.
"It reminds me of growing up in Tennessee, where we spent all day outside," the Nashville native explains. "I wanted my children to have that experience, to get muddy and hang out with the animals."
After purchasing the house, which was featured in the 1937 film "Lost Horizon," Witherspoon, 36, hired a landscape designer to add a new gravel driveway and courtyard and plant plenty of lavender, jasmine, roses, and Mexican sage. She also enlisted an interior designer friend, Kristen Buckingham, to help come up with new ideas that were compatible with the house's original elements like Spanish tiles, exposed beams, and iron light fixtures.
The result is a mix of old and new — 19th century leather chairs sit near a Pottery Barn rug. The original, two-story great room has been split into two sections — a casual area with a bar and game table, often used for rounds of gin rummy, and a small sitting area around the massive stone fireplace that serves as a year-round gathering place. "We had 20 people here for Thanksgiving last year," the "Legally Blonde" actress tells the magazine, "so there has to be plenty of places to sit."
This year she can expect 21.
The latest issue of Elle Decor hits newsstands on August 7.
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