‘We Wanted a Home, Not an Estate’
Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher’s L.A. farmhouse is everything they’ve dreamed of and more.
The A-list couple, who married in 2015, worked for five years to create their ideal family home — designing and building it from the ground up with architect Howard Backen and interior designer Vicky Charles — and they recently opened it up to Architectural Digest for their June cover story.
“We wanted a home, not an estate,” Kunis, 37, told the publication of their six-acre, hilltop property, which they affectionately call KuKu Farms. The pair — who share daughter Wyatt, 6, and son Dimitri, 4 — actually do use the land for farming, even planting and harvesting a crop of corn during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We wanted the house to look like an old barn, something that had been here for decades, that was then converted into a house. But it also had to feel modern and relevant,” Kutcher, 43, added.
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Before they began building, the actors first created individual Pinterest boards to plot out their hopes for what they wanted to see in their home and soon determined that their tastes were almost perfectly aligned.
“When we looked at each other’s boards, 90 percent of the images we selected were the same, and most of the houses we pinned were designed by Howard,” Kutcher said, referring to their architect.
They were incredibly thankful that they saw eye to eye, because, as Kunis points out, “building a house from the ground up is no small thing. This was either going to make us or break us.”
They hired Backen, who is known for having perfected the “modern farmhouse” look, to help them bring their vision to life. Together with his team, the architect used rustic reclaimed wood, concrete and glass to build the main house, guesthouse/entertainment barn and barbeque pavilion in the backyard.
“Ashton and Mila are two of the smartest, most inquisitive people we’ve ever worked with,” Backen told the publication. “We talked about everything from beam sizes to the details of the cross bracing to the junctures of the wood planks and concrete. These are not the kinds of conversations we have with every client.”
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The couple also worked to create a home that would be sustainable, with their kids’ well-being and future in mind at every turn. The entire property is actually powered using photovoltaics (solar energy), and testing has been done to ensure the quality of the soil and water surrounding the home. Regenerative farming practices are also used to ensure sustainability.
When it came to designing, the couple tapped Vicky Charles of Charles & Co., who began working on the Kunis-Kutcher home after leaving her post as the global head of design for Soho House.
“We were obsessed with Soho Farmhouse and other projects Vicky spearheaded,” Kunis said. “We loved the way she mixed fabrics, patterns, textures — really her whole aesthetic.”
“Mila was pregnant with their first child when we began this journey,” Charles recalled. “We spent months looking at materials and colors to find the right visual language. Our conversations were not just about the land and the architecture but also about the future of their family.”
Though the bones of the home are rugged and rustic, Charles decided to go for something more contemporary when it came to the decor, complete with plenty of clean lines and modern finishes.
She also incorporated some of the couple’s favorite pieces from their past homes into the new space, including throne-style chairs Kutcher had commissioned in India, which are now featured in one of the bathrooms, and a jaw-dropping 10-foot crystal chandelier, which hangs in the entertainment barn.
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“We thought it would be funny to have this incredibly opulent thing hanging in a barn,” Kunis said. “It kind of takes the piss out of the property.”
Despite the luxe accents, the home was designed to be completely family-friendly and feel cozy and welcoming to all who enter. And for Kutcher and Kunis, it’s a place where they can feel at peace knowing everything is as it should be.
“To feel tranquility in a space, everything needs to be in order. If the world around you isn’t in order, it’s hard to get your brain in order,” Kutcher said. “When we’re in our home, the world just makes sense.”
Pick up the June issue of Architectural Digest or visit architecturaldigest.com to read the full story and see more photos.