Actress Wendie Malick's Beach House
So much of who I am can be traced to the house my grandfather built on Lake Erie, where we used to spend summers as a family. It was a place where you could be a kid without any supervision—to have real adventures and let your imagination go wild. I used to walk down to the beach every day, singing at the top of my lungs and pretending there was a huge orchestra around me. I would write these little plays and then direct and star in them all on my own. It's where I discovered I wanted to be an actress, and it's where I nurtured my love of animals, too.
Left: Malick relaxes outside her pool house in Topanga, California.
They say you spend your life trying to re-create the place where you were happiest growing up, so maybe that's how my husband, Richard Erickson, and I ended up here in our home in the Santa Monica Mountains perched above the ocean with our two dogs, five horses, and a donkey, to boot. Richard accounted for all of us: With help from an architect, he oversaw the design and construction of every inch of our house. It looks like a sprawling series of little farm buildings with two barns, and inside, nothing is hidden. There are exposed beams and lots of rusted steel—kind of like it was built from a really cool Erector set.
Left: The fireplace surround is sandstone. The counters are Brazilian soapstone.
Connection to Land
I think his vision was to create a house that wasn't a fortress but rather an integral part of the landscape, which was important for two people who love to be outdoors so much. When we first laid eyes on this land, we knew we were home. Watching the fog roll in, tasting the salt in the air, seeing the water, and enjoying the sea breeze are some of my favorite things.
Nature stirs my creativity. I think it helps free something in all of us. So every day after waking up I head out to the pool house to do Pilates before I go out to see the horses—Rosie, Jeb, Cassidy, Bo, and Stuart. They're equal members of our family. I feel fortunate to be able to have them in a place where they get to run and play and do what they were designed to do.
Left: The dining room walls are red cedar.
Living here helps me to reconnect, too. Sometimes, when I'm working, it feels impossible to divorce myself entirely from whatever character I'm inhabiting. As soon as I get back home, though, I can hit the off switch. I'm able to consciously disconnect from the chatter in my head, and I allow myself to be present—just the wild things and me. It's the best therapy I know.
Left: The iron bed was found in a downtown Manhattan shop.
Number of ranch acres: 50
Age range of animals:
Rosie the mare (pictured left) is the oldest at 27; the youngest is our red mustang, Bo, who is 4
Favorite summer song:
Surfer Girl by The Beach Boys
Always in the fridge:
Fresh greens and bread, goat cheese, and Chopin vodka
Cutest thing the dogs do:
Crash into each other with excitement when I put on my hat and riding boots