Surrounded with trees in a sleepy cul-de-sac in Los Angeles is actress Dakota Johnson’s mid-century home, which was her first big buy using her salary from the Fifty Shades of Gray film trilogy. Right at the entrance to the house, an entire wall of oversized front doors lets you into a cozy abode that Johnson describes as a treehouse on a boat. On the opposite wall are floor-to-ceiling windows that lead to a lap pool. These are only two of the unique features that drew her into the home.
When Dakota was looking for a home to purchase, this was the second property her realtor showed her on the one day she looked into ones in L.A. She said that she was immediately attracted to the house’s mix of cleanliness and coziness. At that moment, she thought that she’ll never want to sell the place. Aside from that, she also liked the backstory of this masterpiece by architect Carl Maston.
Maston and his friends, Lautner and Neutra, frequent Musso & Franks because of a hostess they all fancied. Carl ended up married to the woman and this was the house they called home. After the couple, one of the more recent former owners is producer Ryan Murphy, who is known for shows like Glee and American Horror Story.
Johnson herself is no stranger to interesting Hollywood origins. She is the daughter of actor Don Johnson and actress Melanie Griffith, whose mother is famed Hitchcock heroine Tippi Hedren. Her parents got married twice, once in 1976 and then in 1989, before their final separation in 1996. When Dakota was six, she became the stepdaughter of another Hollywood name, Spanish actor Antonio Banderas. However, Griffith and Banderas had a divorce in 2015.
Dakota grew up on movie sets. She was born in 1986 in Austin, where her dad was making a film. After her parents split, she also split her time between homes. She was constantly on the road throughout her childhood.
As a child, she enjoyed her “gypsy lifestyle”. She still dips into it now that she’s already an in-demand actress. Her current beau, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, is all too familiar with being on the road too. However, she wanted to find a place to set up base and put down roots. This is one of the reasons why she bought this house; so that she can have one place where she knows where her stuff is.
She has accumulated a lot of stuff for someone who has just recently turned 30. Dakota guessed that she’s already had a big life, being from a celebrity family. She even has a shelf full of memorabilia in her ground-floor office.
These mementos include a seating card that Patti Smith gave her where she wrote her phone number; a photo of her dad’s close friend, writer Hunter S. Thompson; a note from her grandma, Tippi, where she signed “Love, Mormor”, Swedish for grandmother; and a portrait with her The Peanut Butter Falcon co-star Zack Gottsagen. But what she described as the craziest photo of all time is her photo with Taylor Swift, 50 Cent, Sarah Palin, Derek Jeter, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg that was taken during Saturday Night Live’s 40th-anniversary show in 2015.
L.A. and Nashville-based design firm Pierce & Ward, which was co-founded by Dakota’s friend Emily Ward, helped her realize her dream home. Ward noted that she enjoyed working with Johnson because she already had a clear vision of what she wants.
The biggest challenge in the renovation of the house was the second floor, which was entirely made of cork. It was cool, but it wasn’t salvageable. So, they decided to install wood flooring in the master suite and have the same concrete as the lower floor for the bathroom. A former owner had a urinal installed in the master bathroom, so Dakota had to redo the entire room.
Her clear vision was also evident in her particular preference for the color of the cabinets. She wanted a dusty-rose camel and even provided a The Row sweater as a color guide. To complete the master bathroom, Dakota had two other requirements: two separate vanities and a big tub. She thinks that having double sinks is the key to a healthy relationship. The actress also likes to draw a salt bath with candles to set the mood and a book at hand whenever she can.
Johnson believes that her roots are still growing in her home. She revealed that she constantly thinks about her tree house whenever she’s away. With the nature of her job and her hectic schedule, she thinks that it’s important for her to have a place that she can call her own. For Dakota who’s used to a jet-setting lifestyle, this Los Angeles home is her anchor.