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Tour Actor Poorna Jagannathan’s Color-Happy Home in LA

She and her husband worked with designer Hema Persad on decorating the house to reflect the family’s past and future

poorna jagannathan dog shelves chairs plates cookbooksJagannathan with Echo in the kitchen of her family’s LA house, which was renovated and decorated by interior designer Hema Persad; dining chairs by Crate & Barrel and custom ceramic dishware by Carol Aronowsky. Fashion styling by Sarina Siddhanti.

By the time Poorna Jagannathan was 24, she had lived in 15 places. Born in Tunisia to an Indian diplomat, she spent her early years moving between homes in India, Ireland, Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil, and the United States, all pre-furnished. “We slipped into other people’s aesthetics,” reflects the actor, best known for her roles in Netflix’s Never Have I Ever and HBO’s The Night Of. “I never had the chance to figure out my own design sensibility.”

Nor did she have a chance to lay roots. In 2008, however, she and her husband, Azad Oommen, cofounder of the nonprofit Global School Leaders, purchased a home on the Westside of Los Angeles. “The minute we walked in, we knew it was ours,” she recalls. For her, its industrial vibe stirred happy memories of New York City, where she lived for much of her adulthood. For him, the U-shaped plan evoked his family’s nalukettu in Kerala, a traditional residence similarly oriented around a central courtyard. “It was so nostalgic,” says Jagannathan. “We just had this feeling that good things would come here.”

living room mural green walls furniture coffee tableThe living room’s custom mural shows houseboats in Kerala; lounge chair and coffee tables by CB2
living room green wall muralThe living room doubles as a workspace for Jagannathan’s husband, with the mural acting as a graphic zoom backdrop.

Design-wise, good things certainly did, albeit in time. Work swept the couple and their young son to New York and Mumbai for a number of years. But by the pandemic, the family was back in LA navigating the complexities of close quarters. The couple’s son needed more privacy, his bedroom having doubled as the laundry area. And the cramped galley kitchen fell far short of a welcoming gathering space. Reflects Jagannathan, “We needed the house to grow with us.”

kitchen tiles wood island butcher block sink window green cabinetIn the kitchen, the cabinets are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Minster Green, the backsplash is clad in Zia Tile, and the sink is by Native Trails.
bathroom tiles door sink mirrorZia Tile lines a bathroom, the door to which is painted in Behr’s Red Gerbera.

Through a mutual friend, she was introduced to Hema Persad, then a fashion stylist in the midst of a shift to interior design. The two connected over their shared love of color and culture, and together they tweaked the floor plan to suit the family’s daily rhythms. Out went the kitchen’s clunky peninsula and uppers that had blocked the dining room. In went a green-painted island and perimeter of cabinets, plus sylvan expanses of tile. The rear of the house, meanwhile, was reconfigured to accommodate a separate laundry room and a proper bedroom for the son, which they painted in two shades of blue.

courtyard outdoor furnitureThe U-shaped house centers on a plant-filled courtyard. 

“Poorna is open to ideas but she is very decisive,” says Persad, recalling her client’s instinctive reactions to color. “There was a very fluid exchange of ideas between us.” Notes Jagannathan: “Hema had to do a lot of heavy lifting to coax out our design aesthetic. The saving grace is that I know what I like and don’t like.”

Keepsakes that the actor gathered over decades are now layered throughout the home—pieces like a Pakistani rug she got when she was nine and a painting by the artist Monica Perez, whom Jagannathan met at prenatal yoga class. Persad built on that personal visual narrative. The new hallway riffs on rani pink, a shade beloved in India. Brass fixtures hark back to Jagannathan’s grandmother’s kitchen. And the living room’s statement mural depicts the backwaters of Oommen’s ancestral Kerala, where the couple got married, while reinforcing the home’s indoor-outdoor connection.

Jagannathan in the living room.Jagannathan in the living room.

“Hema recognized the courtyard as the centerpiece of the house,” says Jagannathan. “Her vision was to tie the rest of the house to it.” Today, that outdoor space is the home’s beating heart, where Jagannathan can be found doing yoga or sipping the fragrant chai that her husband, an avid chef, grinds from a blend of spices. The actor, long transitory, feels grounded. As she explains, “I didn’t realize how decorating a home, having it reflect your past and your present, can root you.”

bedroom lamp bed door artworkThe second bedroom is painted in two tones of blue, Benjamin Moore’s Dark Teal and Behr’s Deep Breath, while the hallway is in Behr’s Red Gerbera.

Via Architectural Digest

Joyce Rey
Joyce Rey
Joyce Rey

Joyce Rey is one of the most respected names in luxury real estate worldwide, having represented some of the most significant properties in the world.



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