After a little drama, soap stars' lives mesh
Julie Pinson, Billy Warlock see their styles unite
By Diana McKeon Charkalis Special for USA TODAY July 6, 2007
LOS ANGELES If marriage is about compromise, Julie Pinson and Billy Warlock got a crash course after their wedding last summer. That's when the daytime TV stars decided to renovate part of the 1930 three-bedroom, Spanish-style house that Pinson purchased in 2001.
Pinson, who stars as femme fatale Billie Reed on NBC's Days of Our Lives, looked around her living room, with its floral sofa and pink accents, and realized the ultra-girly stuff had to go. "I wanted to have a front room where I could be proud to have a cocktail party and not be embarrassed about my furniture," says Pinson, 39.
Warlock, 46, who plays political campaign manager Ben Hollander on CBS' The Young and the Restless, also had his preferences like making sure he kept his oversized black leather massage chair. "My main criteria was that I wanted the house to be comfortable with a place for us to put our feet up."
To help them figure out how to make it work, they hired celebrity designer Kenneth Brown, whose reDesign airs on HGTV. "We decided to start with a clean slate and then bring in pieces they both agreed on," Brown says. "I think starting fresh allows people to see things with new eyes."
By switching from white walls to a warmer palette and adding details like crown molding, the house matured. "This was very much a single girl's house," Brown says. "Now it's a very sophisticated married celebrity couple's home."
Feminine elements still populate the kitchen, which remains the domain of Pinson, a highly skilled baker. She has a new cake-decorating station, a slab of counter Brown designed at a convenient height that allows Pinson to sit and work for hours. On this day she created a pink, three-layer cake adorned with 40 roses and "about 10 pounds of butter-cream frosting" for a family celebration.
"My cake decorating is where I get my artistry out," Pinson says. "It's very creative. And it tastes good after you're done."
Just off the kitchen is the den, a small room with a large TV where Warlock's massage chair found a home. "We put my stuff in the back of the house where nobody goes," Warlock says. "Each person has to have their own space. I have mine, and she has hers."
Pinson smiles and closes the door separating the kitchen from the den. "I can just put Billy back here with the Xbox or sports on TV, and I won't see him for hours."
Brown says clients most often experience "renovation breakdown" when work is being done on the kitchen. But for Pinson, it happened when the dining room walls were painted chocolate brown.
When Brown arrived at the house, he found Pinson in tears, clutching her Yorkie, Harry. "I never wanted to be one of those people I see on his show freaking out, but I became that person. I think I had a breakdown," Pinson says. "I like this color, and I appreciate it for what it is. It's just not my taste."
Warlock, meanwhile, approved of the paint, but he didn't press the point. "I like things more cozy; she likes them bright and airy. It's all about picking the battles. This room isn't that important to me. If she wants to change it, we'll change it."
Brown took it all in stride and suggested they take some time and live with it before making a decision.
In the living room, the couple most easily combined their senses of style. Brown replaced the white walls with a warm sandstone-colored paint and filled it with custom furniture accented by both masculine and feminine accessories.
For example, a pair of prints Brown chose to hang above a small table happily remind Pinson of her old floral sofa. "It's about finding that balance," Brown says. "We didn't want it to feel too flowery, but we didn't want it to have a billiards table."
Two new honey-colored leather chairs sit against one wall. They're beneath Warlock's colorful vintage French liquor poster that depicts a woman in a flowing dress. "He's had it for 24 years, and he's proud to say she's the only girl who's been in his life for that long besides his mom," Pinson says.
Pinson and Warlock themselves have a long history and were engaged once before, in 1999, but ended up calling off the wedding. They didn't see each other for years, but they reconnected when Warlock returned to Los Angeles for work. "Getting back together was a different feeling than the giddiness you have when you first meet someone," he says. "It's a much richer feeling."
Pinson says one reason she married Warlock is that he enjoys the feminine touches she adds to the home. Pinson suspected she'd met the man of her dreams the moment she laid eyes on his bedding. "I remember walking into his room and noticing the sheets were Ralph Lauren cabbage roses. All by himself he did that. I thought, 'This is a good sign.' "
Credit: USA Today