Our favorite actor, singer, songwriter, and producer has brought her elegant-yet-approachable style to Viyet. Shop Rita Wilson’s most-loved pieces — and learn more about what inspires her most.
You’re truly an artist — not just a gifted actor, but you’re also a gifted singer and songwriter. No matter how you channel your talents, we can pick up on the sensitivity and depth of emotion to bring to a project. Do you find that you can pick up on the “mood” or “feeling” within a room?
Thank you for such a nice compliment! Yes, I am sensitive to environment. Light is important to me, comfort, fragrance, and vibe. I really want to feel that a room “speaks” to me. I try to make guests feel comfortable. I love good design but never at the expense of comfort. I love flowers, so I try to have roses from my garden when they are in bloom. Sometimes, design is good even if it has nothing to do with a famous designer or architect. You can walk into a room of a person who has no design experience and still feel really good in that space.
As an actor, you have worked with directors who put an emphasis on production design — of course, we think of Nora Ephron. As a singer and songwriter, you’ve also been able to perform in a particularly stylish venue, the Cafe Carlyle. Has working around (and in) such thoughtfully designed places inspired you?
I have loved walking on sets like those of Nora’s and, also, of Nancy Meyers’. Those ladies have been able to create perfect spaces for their characters. It is fun to bring your character to life on a set that has been so well thought out. As for the Carlyle Hotel, the Cafe Carlyle is magic!! The original hand-painted murals on the walls by Marcel Vertes are so ethereal. That room envelopes you in a cozy, warm, Negroni fog. The lighting is so lovely…all candlelit. At the same time, it isn’t a stuffy room. We get pretty loose when I am performing there. That room is a perfect example of vibe. You know that you are in a special place where many artists have performed. I think it is seasoned with the souls of artists, and that is palpable.
One piece of writing that has stuck with us was when you wrote about the “empty nest of friendship” for The Huffington Post. Did making a conscious effort to reconnect with friends who influence you to create social spaces in your home?
We have always entertained family and friends. I am half Greek, so you can be sure there will be people, food, and music. Having guests feel like they can pick up a guitar or sit at the piano and play is important. Musical instruments lend themselves to spontaneous performances. We have had a few of those! Again, it comes down to creating a space of letting your guard down and being comfortable. It is so important to stay in touch with your friends and make time for them. We do that even with our schedules. It’s rejuvenating.
Your first album focused on songs from the ’60s and ’70s. Do you also look to these decades for décor inspiration?
Sometimes I wish I could create Laurel Canyon of the ’70s in my home! Paisley and velvet, Oriental carpets, lava lamps. I am very connected to that era for many reasons. Even on my most recent album, RITA WILSON, I went for a look of a velvet suit to create a ’70s-inspired album cover with a modern twist. I love working with this super talented and creative photographer/director, Steven Sebring, who always gets what I am going for.
Has living in California influenced the way you approach style, whether when it comes to fashion or interiors?
I am a native Hollywoodian. I grew up in Hollywood, went to Hollywood High School, and my first jobs were in Hollywood, including getting my Screen Actors Guild card by doing an episode of The Brady Bunch. Cars figured prominently, as they represented freedom. The beach was a constant presence. I drove a convertible Volkswagen to Malibu with girlfriends. Top down, music blaring. The ’70s really had such good style. It was relaxed, easy. My mom made a lot of my clothes, so I would show her something in a magazine and she could make it. My first concert was Led Zeppelin. My mom made me a crop top and bell bottoms out of a Hawaiian print material to wear to the Forum where they played. As for interiors, I am always attracted to natural light and open windows. You have to be able to smell the orange blossoms!
Describe your style in 6 words or less.
Comfortable, stylish, sparkly, denim, easy sexy.
How has your taste in décor evolved over the years?
I still love the things I have always loved. Your spaces dictate what works, though. Sometimes in a more contemporary space, you need a cleaner look. And in that cozy house, it is more about layers and a bit more detail.
What is your favorite place to browse for décor during your travels?
I like to read all the décor magazines whenever I travel. They inform so much about a country. I am a big window shopper. I take photos of things I see on a street or in a magazine, and then track them down if they’re something I love.
In your travels, what restaurants or hotels have stood out to you for their design?
The Lowell and of course, the Carlyle, in NYC are beautiful and intimate. The Park Hyatt in Tokyo is where they filmed Lost in Translation. Such a gorgeous view. I haven’t stayed in Le Crillon in Paris since they have reopened, but I love that building. Claridge’s in London is classic English, although I think the rooms could use some updating and cleaning.
What is your favorite room in your home and why?
This is impossible to answer! We love every room. We use every room. I think that is the sign of a good layout.
What inspired you to consign your items with Viyet?
We have such lovely pieces and I felt they needed to be out in the world, being used by people who appreciate nice things. They could stay in a storage vault, or be enjoyed by people who know that many beautiful memories were shared by us and that so many good times were enjoyed.
“These two Donghia sofas covered in white-on-white Fortuny were from our living room. I love how chic they are. These seem to be timeless. Many a good nap was taken on these couches!”
“This writing desk was in our bedroom. I kept all my personalized stationery in here and used the drawers to store it in boxes. The small drawers kept my pens, wax seals, and stamps. When I travel, I always look for a good stationery store. It’s the best souvenir.”
What piece is most important to you — and why?
I’d have to say the dining room table. We had family dinner every night. That was important to us. Stories were exchanged. Laughs shared. Celebrations had. We had a tradition called “High Low” which was to go around the table and ask each person what the high point and low point of their day was. So much insight can come from that one question. My parents were alive, so it reminds me of all the birthdays and all the candles extinguished with the breath of someone you love. Many a dinner party with friends like Nora Ephron and her husband Nick Pileggi made for stimulating conversation. Nora would always ask a controversial question that everyone would have to weigh in on. Most importantly, so many laughs. We laughed a lot around that table.
What piece have you had the longest — and is there an interesting story behind it?
This piece was in our living room. It was one of the first pieces we bought. I am an amateur watercolorist and this hand-painted Italian piece has beautiful detail. I kept some favorite Christmas ornaments in the drawers so they’d be protected when not on the tree. It was so elegant in our living room, a special sentry, observing the festivities with stoic elegance.
What do you love about Viyet?
It is good to know that there is a place that offers great pieces of excellent quality without having to travel the world. That’s already been done by the former owners. All you have to do is click, buy, and enjoy!