At Home With TV Host Julie Chen

Best known as the host of Big Brother and The Talk, Julie tells us about her house, her favorite rooms on set, and how she makes her dressing room feel more like home.

Julie Chen

Photo by: Bill Inoshita, © 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Big Brother host Julie Chen

Julie Chen has a busy schedule: She’s hosted the reality TV series Big Brother for an impressive 16 seasons, and she’s one of the savvy gals on the Emmy-nominated daytime show The Talk. When she's not gracing your television screens, you can find Julie in her dressing room or at home with her husband, CBS president Leslie Moonves. We chatted with Julie about her home, her dressing room and her favorite space on the Big Brother set. Read our interview with Big Brother production designer Scott Storey >>

What drew you to your home?

My oldest stepson actually knew the house before my husband and I saw it. His friend's family, who had lived there, was going to sell that house. He told us, “You guys have to see it!” The minute we walked in, it really felt like home. It was very warm and inviting and cozy. It also felt secluded and private. It's hard for a man and a woman to agree on style a lot of the time, because the guy usually wants big and grand and the girl wants tiny and cozy and for some reason, this place worked for us – it's spacious but it didn't feel like a museum to me. It really felt like a home. So that checked off all the boxes for both of us!

What's your favorite room in the house?

I love the kitchen. The center island has three stools. My favorite thing is at the end of a busy day is to pull out one of them and raid the refrigerator with my husband and we just sit there. We do that instead of sitting in the formal dining room or the breakfast room, that's just a nice place where we can heat something up. Or in the mornings, have a bowl of cereal and have a green juice. And I love our family room, which has this beautiful pickled wood. The amber lighting in there feels very warm, like a cozy cave. We like to close the doors and watch movies really loud with our son. We just saw Madagascar there and he was dancing around! 

What are some of your favorite colors and textures?

I love a corduroy couch, chenille – really any soft fabrics really work for me. We have this one couch that is a little bit flannel-ly wool, which I really only like on a cold winter night! 

Each year, the Big Brother home is different. Do you have a favorite room?

Yea, it's always very cool architecturally. Interior design wise, I always love the Diary room. Remember I Dream of Jeannie? When she would go into her bottle? It kind of feels like a genie bottle in there, since you have padding on the walls, and you have privacy; you are able to say everything you want, with no one else able to hear. And at the same time, it's like a confessional; this is where the houseguests talk to the producers, and pour their souls out. No matter what season, I always love this room.

Is there one thing you wouldn't mind adding to the Big Brother home?

A bigger pool! But then you wouldn't have that close interaction that we need, to hear them talk to each other.

For CBS's The Talk, how do you make your dressing room feel more like home?

I use a coat of paint! I used this warm yellow paint that feels very nice. And lighting is important too. I bought some pillows from a catalogue that looked homey, and I have pictures with my son and husband there too. I also have some fun moments from the show. One wall has the family pictures, and another wall with highlights – like what we all wore for Halloween, when I was on Letterman, when ( The Talk co-host) Sharon (Osbourne) and I were on The Young and The Restless.

Any other tips on how one can make a room feel homier?

Sometimes it's just a matter of putting in a new light bulb. Or if you just stick a table or floor lamp in a room, that can really warm up the whole space. I have a corner lamp in my bedroom; anytime that's on, the whole room just feels more inviting. Lampshades in an off-white or ivory color create warmth too.

What do you love about the exterior of your home?

I love our roses. My son and I just picked a pink one to give to his teacher who got married. I was teaching him how to remove the thorns and how to cut them off the vine.

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