At Home With Ryan Murphy
At Home With Ryan Murphy
While two Bernese Mountain dogs play in the courtyard where a white stucco fountain trickles in the sunlight, Ryan Murphy plunks down in a shadow-filled sitting room at his Beverly Hills house -- a space that was a kids' playroom when previous owner Diane Keaton lived there. He's eschewed his trademark cap, wearing a long-sleeved gray T-shirt and khakis. Even though he's overseeing an astonishing three primetime shows this fall, Murphy, 46, doesn't seem the slightest bit rushed, no iPhone or BlackBerry in sight over the course of nearly two hours during a visit that included a tour of his seven-bedroom, nine-bathroom house. The Spanish Colonial Revival residence -- where Murphy and designer Cliff Fong have created eclectic interiors mixing ranch-inspired, period-correct furniture, contemporary art and photography and American Horror Story-worthy objects -- was designed in 1927 by Ralph Flewelling, also the architect of the well-known fountain at the intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards.
The successful show creator -- whose Glee and American Horror Story have hauled in a combined 52 Emmy nominations and eight wins -- talks about how he almost bought this house 3½ years ago. In a rare bit of indecisiveness -- "I'm a really big yes/no person. There's no maybe with me" -- Murphy got cold feet. "I started escrow, but then I fell out. I was like, 'It's just too big,' " says Murphy, who was single at the time and in the middle of launching Glee.
Since then, he has created two more shows, AHS and The New Normal, and a little more than two years ago began a relationship with photographer and former location scout David Miller. "We started talking about family, and I had been haunted by the fact that I had not bought the house, so lo and behold, it was still available, and I bought it," says Murphy, who purchased the property in late 2010. The next year, the couple became engaged, and this year over the July 4th weekend wed on a Provincetown, Mass., beach, reportedly celebrating by catching a cabaret show by actress-singer and Glee guest star Patti Lupone. Murphy says that he and Miller had been friends for a dozen years before dating. "After years and years of dating people, we were like, 'What are we doing? We're the same age, we want kids, let's try it.' Thank God it worked."
The couple's house -- located in the flats below Sunset, a few blocks from the Beverly Hills Hotel -- had been faithfully restored by Keaton, L.A.'s most famous authority on indigenous Spanish Colonial architecture, documented in her 2007 book California Romantica. The actress bought it in 2007, adding archways and white plaster fireplaces to the two-story house, where four wings are arrayed around an interior courtyard. Murphy has been a fan of Keaton's taste for years. "When I first moved to L.A., a friend of mine was interested in buying a house of hers," says Murphy, who worked as a journalist for such outlets as The Miami Herald and Entertainment Weekly before breaking into TV. "It was 1992. We went to look at the house, and I remember going into the closet and seeing all her Annie Hall hats." (According to public records, he bought the house from Keaton for $10 million; he also owns a two-house compound in Laguna Beach, Calif.)