The singer opens up about family life, the joys of living in a small town and why he loves being a homebody
When he's not on tour, Harry Connick Jr. loves nothing better than to "cool out" in his Connecticut home - a converted barn that was originally built in 1890 - with his wife of 19 years, former Victoria's Secret model Jill Goodacre, 49, and their daughters Georgia, 17, Kate, 15, and Charlotte, 11. They'll gather in the den to watch movies on a drop-down TV screen or play a game of Bananagrams, or the singer will indulge a request to bang out a song on the Steinway piano his wife got him for his 30th birthday. "One of my daughters had some girlfriends over the other night, and they wanted me to play 'Don't Stop Believin" by Journey," says Connick, 45. "We like the fact that it's a pretty laid-back life here in Connecticut. We can just be home. There's no scene. We can just live our lives and not really deal with the industry."
These days Connick is on the road, touring for his latest album, Every Man Should Know
, which means "I miss doing stuff that the girls want to do," like taking his daughters to get their nails done or tossing a lacrosse ball around the yard. "There are always kids running around," he says. "The door's always open. Sometimes I'll wake up and there'll be six of their friends over here, and we'll go into town and get breakfast." The house - which is also home to three dogs and a cat - was designed to be elegant but comfortable. "We kept the barnlike appearance with the beams and the old wood floors," says Goodacre, who tackled the interior design herself. "And we filled the house with a mix of French, Italian and Swedish antiques," many of which Goodacre found in Connick's native New Orleans.
There was one piece of furniture that ultimately got the heave-ho out of the den. "I used to have a La-Z-Boy in here until my wife made me move it out," says Connick. "It had a New Orleans Saints logo on it and a cup holder. I think Jill got it for me as a joke, but I thought it was the greatest thing I'd ever seen."
1. The KITCHEN
"Jill and I both like to cook," says Connick. Adds Goodacre: "This is where we all hang out."
2. PIANO MAN
Connick with one of the "junky uprights" he keeps in a barn on his property.
3. DINNER TABLE
"We don't sit down for dinner at 6 o'clock every night," he says. "There's no routine."
4. THE POOL
Connick likes to swim "every day, if I can."
5. LIVING ROOM
Barn beams crisscross the space. "We tried to make it a new old house," says Connick.
6. THE DEN
For TV-watching nights, a screen descends from the ceiling in front of the fireplace.
Dita VON TEESE
The "Queen of Burlesque" shows off her eclectic home and proves that glamour doesn't always come with a high price tag
Having a one-of-a-kind style isn't for everybody. "People always say, 'Oh, she lives in another era,' " says burlesque dancer and fashion designer Dita Von Teese of the Hollywood home she's filled with antiques and vintage collectibles. "But it's not true. I just love to be surrounded by things of glamour and beauty." In fact for 25 years Von Teese (a self-proclaimed "aesthetic control freak") has painstakingly curated an array of curios: classic pinup art, rare burlesque memorabilia and ... stuffed birds? "I collect antique or ethical taxidermy—meaning the animals died naturally. I think they're beautiful." To properly house her extensive collection, Von Teese, 40, gave her five-bedroom pad a "complete makeover," converting two bedrooms into closets and wallpapering nearly the entire home. "I can't stand modern, white interiors," she says. "IKEA is my worst nightmare! I can't imagine living in one of those stark, modern, slick, cold homes." Mass-produced furniture she may abhor, but a good price she appreciates. A flea-marketing connoisseur, Von Teese also trolls the Internet for bygone bargains ($15 lounge chair, anyone?). "I'm a pretty savvy eBay shopper," she says. "I learned early on that creating a glamorous space has very little to do with money. That's why I started collecting vintage in the first place, because I couldn't afford new furniture!" Despite admitting that her taste can skew "grandmotherly," Von Teese (whose perfume collection and lingerie line sell on HSN) insists she's not all about nostalgia. "I'm a modern woman in a lot of ways," she says. "I don't wear vintage shoes; I love technology, and I love Twitter. But I also love the history of my things. When I discover something rare and wonderful, I feel like it's my responsibility to make sure it lives on."
1. THE KITCHEN
"I love entertaining, so my kitchen was a great opportunity to showcase my little knickknacks," says Von Teese.
2. DIVINE DREAMS
"I spend a lot of time in my bedroom," says the star of the touring revue Strip Strip Hooray. "I love the ritual of getting ready."
3. CURIOUS CHARM
Stuffed swans sit near a vintage chair Von Teese reupholstered. "My home is constantly in development," she says. "I'm always building."
My FAVORITE ROOM
STARS SHOW OFF THE SPACES THEY LOVE. FOR NEWLYWED KRISTIN CAVALLARI IT'S THE KITCHEN, AND FOR LA LA ANTHONY IT'S HER POOL CABANA
"I'm such a neat freak!" says the reality star turned shoe designer of her immaculate home in Winnetka, Ill. But with 11-month-old son Camden, it's tough to keep her all-white kitchen orderly. "His baby toys are everywhere!" she says. Cavallari, 26, recently started cooking "to kill time because Cam was always sleeping!" The room has become her retreat, where she whips up muffins from Gwyneth Paltrow
's cookbook or slow-roasts a chicken, one of the dishes her new husband, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, 30, craves. Standing by as sous-chefs? "My dogs Bardot and Brando are my vacuum cleaners," laughs Cavallari. "They pick up whatever I drop on the floor!"
La La ANTHONY
Reality star and actress La La Anthony, 34, has given "multifunctional" a whole new meaning with the outdoor living area of the L.A. pad she shares with her husband, New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, 29. "It's the man cave, the meditation room, the outdoor movie theater and a playroom," she laughs. "It's a great space. It was one of the selling points of the house!" The La La's Full Court Life
star decorated her "fun and comfortable" spot with shades of blue and green as well as surf-inspired decor. "I wanted it to feel peaceful, like you could be on an island vacation," she explains. One thing that occasionally jeopardizes the serene space: the couple's 6-year-old son Kiyan. "You can wipe down the couch pretty easily, but it is white," she says. "I always have to say, 'No jumping on the couch!'"
THE DESIGNER AND HGTV STAR SHARES SOME FUN ACCESSORIES THAT WILL BRIGHTEN UP YOUR HOME
"These seashell- shaped chairs remind me of summers at my grandparents'," she says.
Thunderbird Metal Lawn Chair, $69.99; retrometalchairs.com
"SUMMER SHOULD FEEL LUXURIOUSLY CASUAL"
"The glow this lamp creates is so soft and summery," says Gorder.
Ohm Marble Table Lamp, $79.95; cb2.com
"I love the geometry and bright color of this pouf for the outdoors."
Majestic Home Goods Zazzle Small Pouf, $57; atgstores.com
"I put herbs in this vase around my kitchen, flowers on my side tables—I can't get enough of this little guy."
Marina Vase, $16; jaysonhome.com
"Hand-woven and luxuriously large, I use these towels after a shower or as table coverings."
Turkish Hammam Towels, 40" × 72", $65; lavivahome.com