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A masterclass in maximalism: Take a tour of Lena Dunham’s colourful Connecticut home


By Sarah Gill
03rd Nov 2022

Architectural Digest/Lelanie Foster

A masterclass in maximalism: Take a tour of Lena Dunham’s colourful Connecticut home

Writer, director and actress Lena Dunham has opened up the doors of her forever home in the backyard of her parents’ New England retreat and it’s complete with just about every colour under the sun.

When Lena Dunham was growing up, she always dreaded the thought of leaving her parents’ home. Now, at the age of 35, she’s made her own forever home ten feet behind that of her parents — just like she always wanted.

In a new celebrity homes feature from Architectural Digest, the actress, director and writer has thrown open the doors of her new home. Currently living between London and Connecticut, the property was built while Dunham was overseas, and came together just in time for her first post-pandemic Christmas with family.

Lena Dunham

As an immunocompromised person, Lena Dunham was restricted from travelling during the height of lockdown, receiving many updates over text messages, including a photo of topless construction workers from her fathers captioned, “hot guys on your roof”.

Lena Dunham

Entrusting friend and longtime architect David Bers, skilled contractor Rick McCue, and her own parents with the task of bringing her vision to life, and they certainly understood the assignment. While the exterior of the unimposing house — one and a half bedrooms, one full bath — fit in with the minimalist taste of her parents’ home a mere ten feet away, the interiors speak to Dunham’s innate vibrancy and eye for eccentricity.

Lena Dunham

As a child, Dunham sought permanence and couldn’t wrap her head around her mother’s lack of sentimentality when moving between houses from Broadway to Brooklyn. So, when they found this building in northwest Connecticut, it would go on to become the most lasting landmark of their family, as Lena puts it, “an ode to our eccentricities and to our bonds, which are packed as tight as we were in that loft on lower Broadway.”

Lena Dunham

“I wanted permanence, a sense that I lived in a monument — if not to the family I hadn’t yet made, then to the one that had made me,” Dunham tells AD. “And so, my family undertook their most maddening real estate project yet: building my house in their Connecticut backyard.”

The build made a conscious effort to take Dunham’s chronically ill body into consideration. “The low staircase is perfect for the days my arthritic hips give me trouble, with a custom carved banister that is rounded like the corners of a marshmallow, and the bathtub has a pull-up bar in case I get dizzy,” she says.

Lena Dunham

Speaking on her love languages of productivity and cosiness, Dunham points to the details that spark joy within her each and every day. “The headboard is upholstered all the way to the ceiling in pink wool, with a white metal work light on either side for reading scripts into the wee hours.”

When the bones of the home were intact, Dunham recalls her mother setting about waiting patiently for her boxes to arrive from storage, a delivery that totalled 112 boxes. She then set about making this house a home just in time for her daughter’s arrival, and when Dunham finally set foot over the threshold, she was in sheer awe.

Lena Dunham

“[I understood] that while my stoic mother hadn’t been overtaken with emotion when we’d packed a moving truck, she had shown me her deepest feelings by setting up this house, running her lean, silver-manicured fingers along every object I’d hauled through my 35 years, showing me just how well she knew me. At a moment of such widespread uncertainty, she had sought solace in making life more comfortable for me — something she had always done, but which was highlighted by the fact that we had been separated for the first time in our lives. I felt a shocking amount of gratitude — taking in the full blast of my good fortune—to have these parents and this home, to have a home at all.”

Read the full feature on Architectural Digest, or take a tour of Lena Dunham’s home through the gallery below.

Photography by Lelanie Foster

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