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Homes of the Stars: Julia Sweeney

51 / COMEDIAN, ACTRESS (“PAT” ON SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE), WRITER

Comedian/actress Julia Sweeney relaxing in her living room

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HOME An 1874 Queen Anne Victorian in Wilmette bought two years ago when Sweeney decided to relocate here after marrying the local biophysicist Michael Blum

OTHER RESIDENCE A house in Los Angeles, which she ceded to her mother-in-law when she moved here in December 2008

WHY THIS HOUSE? “It was the first one we saw, and I immediately knew we were going to move here. But it’s like meeting someone you know you’re going to marry a little too soon. You still have to date around, so we looked for two more months, then gave in.”

WHAT SPOKE TO HER “I love the location. It’s across the street from the Metra station, post office, and library, and near the lake. In L.A., I lived ten miles from the ocean and never got there, but now I walk my dog to the beach every day. I always worry about fresh water, but now I rest assured because 20 percent of the planet’s supply is right here in the Great Lakes.”

BESIDES THE LOCATION “I love all the curved, high ceilings, which make the walls really tall and the rooms so airy. I always think about all the effort it must have taken to make those curves. And the walls give us space for our art. Michael and I both have eclectic taste and love mixing things together, and we both collect Mexican and South American art. We also have a huge collection of handmade quilts and throws, many that were made by his grandmother. We have them all over the house. The one on the bed in the guest room won a contest at Macy’s in the 1930s and hung in their Manhattan window for weeks. So we call that the grandma room.”

FAVORITE ROOM “The laundry room, because I love to iron. Seriously. I love to turn on NPR, crank it up, and iron. And the dining room, which has the prettiest ceiling in the house. My big brilliant stroke was to hang this painting I had by Enrique Chagoya over the windows. I love how it looks, and we don’t open the blinds anyway because we’re too close to the house next door. And we really use the room a lot. We’re huge Scrabble players. My husband inherited his aunt’s fancy swivel set, and we play every Wednesday night with Mulan [Sweeney’s 11-year-old daughter].”

HOW THE HOME HAS CHANGED HER LIFE “I have a two-room office now but have developed all these hobbies since buying the house, like sewing, quilting, and knitting. I’m writing a book and a screenplay and trying to spend several hours a day writing, but that is now a herculean task. I should forget about the hobbies because I’m making my life frantic trying to do all this, but I love the nesting thing.”

FUTURE PLANS “I love it here, but it’s important for me to think I’m moving back to L.A. someday. So we’re planning on it when Mulan goes to college.”

 

Photograph: Bob Coscarelli

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