It seems fitting that Sharon Stone first crossed paths with her interior designer, Douglas Truesdale, in a meet-cute worthy of a Hollywood rom-com. “I was waiting in line for a protein shake when I heard someone behind me say, ‘Jeez, buddy, do you work out much?’ I turned around and it was Sharon Stone,” Truesdale recalls. Over the following weeks, the pair continued to bump into each other at their health club. Buoyed by the amiability of their exchanges, the designer decided to pass along his business card. Then came a phone call followed by a nearly four-hour dinner at a fashionable bar. Cue the lights on dimmers and Gypsy violins. “I felt like I’d found my long-lost sister. There was a real connection,” Truesdale says of that fateful evening. Asked why she’d spoken to him in the first place, Stone offers a perfectly rational reply: “He looked like he knew his way around a gym.”
Act Two of this platonic romance began with Stone seeking her new friend’s input on fabric samples. “I was redoing my guesthouse and pool at the time, and I asked Douglas’s opinion about some of the materials. We worked so well together and had so much fun that I decided we should do the rest of the house,” says the actor, who recently appeared in Steven Soderbergh’s HBO series Mosaic. And so they did, beginning with the pool area, for the next four years. “The pace was slow but deliberate. Nothing is haphazard with Sharon,” Truesdale notes.
Stone purchased the property 25 years ago. At the time, she was living in a relatively modest home without much in the way of security. “All of a sudden, there were crazy stalkers trying to get into my house. The police were there all the time, until they finally had enough,” she explains. “They told me to pack a suitcase because they were taking me to a hotel. I had to find a new home that had proper gates.” Although it looks as if it might have been the abode of some screen siren from Hollywood’s Golden Age, the current house was still in construction when Stone acquired it, allowing the actor to put her imprint on the architecture. “I worked with a château restorer to give the place texture and a sense of history. We installed an antique tile floor from Agra in the powder room off the foyer and brought in the dining room floor from a château in Switzerland. I also put in the moldings, mantels, and other architectural details that are so essential to the integrity of the space,” Stone says.
In this latest renovation, Truesdale and his client focused on everything from paint colors and fabrics to room layouts. On the main floor, they added a partial wall with mirrored pocket doors to divide the cavernous living room into two distinct zones. “This house has its own voice,” Stone says, “and once we began to understand that language, the design process became much easier.” Now Stone can entertain friends on the more formal side of the space while her three sons – Roan, Laird, and Quinn – watch television and play games on the other. She and Truesdale also completely rebuilt the kitchen and revitalized the dining room with snappy contemporary lights by Moooi and a hair-on-hide rug the color of a traffic cone. “Renovating a home takes you on a weird journey,” Stone says. Unexpected things happen along the way, and you adapt.”
“Sharon is an artist with a capital A. Whether it’s acting or photography or decorating, she always brings incredible energy and creativity to the table,” Truesdale notes. “She’s been all over the world – palaces, yachts, the White House, you name it. She’s a sponge of visual information, and she can tap into all of it when we’re designing.” Stone is quick to return the compliment. “Douglas has great instincts. It’s not that we have the same taste, but we work incredibly well together. We’re always challenging each other,” she says. The fruits of their labors come to life with particular brio in the actor’s master suite, which functions like a self-contained pied-à-terre. There glamour and comfort go hand in hand, very much like Stone’s famous Oscar fashion pairing of a designer skirt with a modest white shirt. Silk rugs, chairs covered in shaggy white Mongolian lamb hides, linen sofa upholstery that shimmers like burnished metal, gilded moldings, and a seriously sybaritic bathroom – all of it seems tailor-made for a Tinseltown legend.
In the end, the renovation went so swimmingly that Truesdale and Stone teamed up again to help a couple of the actor’s friends with their own home-design projects. Although Stone has no plans to let her Screen Actors Guild card lapse anytime soon, decorating has proven to be a welcome diversion from the Hollywood grind. “Douglas and I were born collaborators. We have a blast together,” she enthuses. “We like to call ourselves the Wonder Twins.”
Originally printed in the May 2018 issue of Vogue Arabia. Words by Mayer Rus.