Oprah has said yes to a half-dozen trends (sleek and modern? sure! English chintz? why not!) and always dressed her house to impress. The result? Decor that looked picture-perfect -- though somewhat impersonal. But recently she received some wise counsel: Where you live should reflect who you really are. Now -- finally -- she's turning her house into a home that's all her own.
Click through the slideshow to see "before" photos from Oprah's home makeover. (You can read the full story in the March issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, on newsstands now.)
On what prompted the redesign of her Santa Barbara home: "The gilded mirrors, marble urns, the lavish carpets and sherbet palette -- it was all very grand, but it wasn't very true to myself," says Oprah. "And there you have it: the thing that had been missing from all of the beautiful places I'd ever lived in was me!"
Says Oprah, "It's not easy to do an entire library that says, <em>Do not touch the books</em>, but somehow I managed. Words are precious to me, so I'm looking for ways to incorporate my love of them into every room in my home."
"Maya Angelou once told me you can become either an old female or a wise woman," says Oprah. "All I can tell you is that I'm evolving, my taste is, too, and someday soon this room will represent the person I've become." Rose Tarlow, the designer working with Oprah, on the feel of the redesign: "You will not have to put on heels just to walk into this house. Oprah is very elegant and sophisticated, but she is also warm and playful. She likes to put her feet up. One of the redo's key goals is a living room that can actually be lived in."
Want to see where Oprah gets away from it all? Check out the slideshow below.
Oprah's Hawaiian Farmhouse
Once an ordinary little gray ranch that Oprah saw "for less than 10 minutes" and considered a teardown, her Hawaiian home has been transformed into the perfect 21st-century farmhouse, with great pieces of folk art, beautifully embroidered curtains, comfortable furniture and inviting colors. <a href="http://www.oprah.com/home/Oprahs-Hawaiian-Home">Go inside Oprah's tropical getaway.</a> "The American farmhouse is an emotional concept, the idealization of what life was once like," says Elissa "Ellie" Cullman, the New York interior decorator who was in charge of the renovation. "In that spirit, Oprah's new house is filled with well-crafted objects and has warmth and a very positive energy."
What do you get when you combine three long-term relationships, six eyes for detail and a whole lot of passion? The fantastic 4,500-square-foot Santa Barbara guesthouse that Andre Walker and David Simmons created for Oprah. Both refined and rustic, sumptuous and kick-your-shoes-off cozy, there is absolutely no possibility that any guest she invites to stay is ever going to leave. <a href="http://www.oprah.com/home/Oprahs-Santa-Barbara-Guesthouse/1?cc=US">Get ready to make yourself at home!</a>
Where does the woman who got America reading curl up with a good novel? Decorated with soft, celadon-green walls, sage-colored chairs, fresh flowers and elegantly lit paintings, Oprah's library is the kind of place where a beloved dog is allowed to hop up onto the furniture. <a href="http://www.oprah.com/home/A-Tour-of-Oprahs-Library">Explore Oprah's book-filled haven at her California home.</a>
Surrounded by hundreds of rosebushes, thousands of hydrangeas and a sea of dahlias, Oprah's teahouse sits on the spot and faces the view, not any view, but <i>the</i> view, the reason Oprah bought her home in Montecito, California. Shadowed by the Santa Ynez Mountains, this is the place Oprah comes to read, meditate and enjoy a cup of tea. She could listen to music at the touch of a button, but doesn't: "I don't want to affect the mood here." She could transact business here, but doesn't: "No meetings, ever." <a href="http://www.oprah.com/home/Oprahs-Teahouse">Go inside Oprah's retreat.</a>
Oprah's Secret Rose Garden
Oprah doesn't consider her teahouse's rose garden a collection. "I don't think of flowers as something material," she says. "Flowers come, and then they go back to where they came from. You can't hold them for long." And yet, the 600 rosebushes she has planted come in enough varieties to impress any aficionado. <a href="http://www.oprah.com/oathome/Oprahs-Secret-Rose-Garden">Take a look at 7 varieties Oprah chose for her garden.</a>