In her spacious neo-colonial Los Angeles residence, Naya Rivera likes to play chief cook and party-thrower by welcoming friends and family alike into her neatly decorated space. "A house is a house, but family and friends make a house a home," Rivera tells David Keeps in our June issue. The triple threat designed her home in harmony with the way she lives now—hosting lavish dinners, sunbathing by the pool, and baking sweets in her kitchen, but her light-filled abode is also in line with whatever the future may bring. "The previous owner lived here for 50 years, which I think is amazing," she says. "This house has history, but it has been updated, so it's light, open, and airy. It's a real dream to live in and ideal for entertaining."
The 27-year-old triple threat is best known as Glee's Santana Lopez (a fan favorite!), the McKinley High mean-girl cheerleader who announced she's a lesbian in the show's third season and is now seeking stardom in New York City. Signed to Columbia Records, she has also released a sassy solo single, "Sorry," which debuted in the iTunes Top 10 pop chart last fall.
Rivera enjoys living large in the three-story, five-bedroom hillside home in L.A. that she happened upon online, and recalls the days when her personal space was more limited. "When I got the part on Glee, I was 21. A roommate and I were sharing a 500-square-foot studio with a kitchenette and two twin-size beds," she says. For decorating help, the actress enlisted HGTV alumnus Angelo Surmelis, who designed her previous residence in Beverly Hills as well as homes for Glee’s Dianna Agron and Lea Michele. With Rivera's input, Surmelis created a space that is traditional with a touch of romance and modernity. "She wanted a blend of old and new, distressed and vintage, feminine and masculine," Surmelis says.
With her ongoing recording sessions, dance rehearsals, and filming for Glee—which just ended its fifth season—Rivera rarely has time to sit still. Even after a long day on set, the hardworking actress often heads to her home office to enjoy the city and mountain views while mapping out an ambitious future, where she allows herself to get away from it all. "What does home mean to me? Peace," Rivera says. "When I walk through the door, I let it all go."
Tour Naya Rivera's stunning Los Angeles home in our gallery, and get a behind-the-scenes look at her InStyle photo shoot in the video below!
—Original story by David Keeps
For the full feature, pick up the June issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download May 16.