The hat her dad, actor Bruce Dern, wins at the end of Nebraska lives in her daughter, Jaya’s room. In her closet—which went from a typical 1950s-style miniscule wardrobe to a walk-in upon renovation—hangs the dress Lucille Ball wore in I Love Lucy’s iconic “Vitameatavegamin” episode. And in the room of her 15-year-old son, Ellery, is the exact Ralph Lauren–designed suit donned by her dad in 1974’s The Great Gatsby. It was a gift from a dear friend, Eddie Vedder, who happens to be as rabid a collector as Dern.
As a self-proclaimed collector of things, she buys “art, photography, pottery, things from around the world, movie posters and lunch boxes.” Los Angeles’ Modernica and Blackman Cruz are personal go-tos for shopping, inspiration and advice; while foreign markets are a major source of her collectibles, she’s even snagged discarded instruments and pottery from curbsides. Tea cups—from earthen to modern to English china—and salt and pepper shakers are other items of which she has dozens, even hundreds, along with the vintage TV show lunch boxes. When she wrapped Citizen Ruth, Burt Reynolds gave her a Welcome Back Kotter one, which John Travolta was conveniently on set to sign (his wife, Kelly Preston, acted in the film, too).
She calls the living room “one of her favorite spaces in the world.” Made up of a 1970s Mario Bellini leather sofa, Marc Phillips rug, Hollywood at Home pillows, collected ceramics and musical instruments, it has Dern’s touch with Haenisch’s influence – he added pieces she never would have introduced herself. A vintage Vladimir Kagan sofa, reupholstered in faux white fur, is “a very beloved piece but something you would never think of ever having with your children and black dog.” He also facilitated certain wishlist items. One was an Alexandra Hedison triptych of emerald-hued trees, which infuses the saturated dining room—where a giant claro walnut slab table is surrounded by George Nakashima seating—with leafy life and wraps the backyard into the house, enhancing its treehouse vibes. The other is Dern’s prized “Umbrella Girl” by Banksy, which hangs off-center above her bed.