Close-Knit Crew

Lena Dunham Lives In Her Parents' Backyard Now

The "Girls" creator built her whimsical forever home 10 feet from her family's Connecticut house.

Lena Dunham lives right behind her parents -- where she's always wanted to be. Here, Laurie Simmons,...
Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Lena Dunham “always wanted” to live in close proximity to her parents, and now her dream has become a reality.

The Girls star and creator recently shared photos of her forever home with Architectural Digest — and it just so happens to be nestled in her family’s New England backyard.

After moving back and forth from Manhattan to Brooklyn for years on end, Dunham, 36, decided to finally settle down just “10 feet” away from her artist parents, Laurie Simmons and Caroll Dunham, on their former boarding school lot in Connecticut. With their help and guidance, she constructed and designed a whimsical Carriage house fit for an eccentric queen.

“It looks like a kindergartner drew a house,” Dunham’s father apparently told her of the rectangle with a peaked roof. “And I mean that as a compliment.”

“It was a veritable Suicide Squad of characters,” the film and TV producer wrote in AD of the home project. “Our friend and longtime architect David Bers, a subtle genius with swagger to spare; Rick McCue, the contractor of few words but many skills who had brought all our other Connecticut dreams to fruition; my father, himself an aesthete with his own way of doing things, working with David and Rick to project-manage; my mother, using her passion for color, texture, and — as she calls them — objets. And me, pulling up the rear, a.k.a. sending helpful texts like “CAN WE PAINT THE HOUSE PINK AND ADD CIRCULAR WINDOWS SO IT LOOKS LIKE I LIVE IN A STRAWBERRY!?” (The answer was a firm no.)”

Lena Dunham’s vibrant and colorful home.

Dunham’s cottage has a fairytale look, colorful wallpaper and bold decor throughout. But, best of all, it’s made particularly for her, with the designers considering Dunham’s “chronically ill body” and installing a low staircase for her “arthritic hips” and a bathtub with a pull-up bar “in case I get dizzy.” (Dunham is a longtime fighter of endometriosis and suffers from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a group of inherited disorders that affects connective tissues — primarily skin, joints and blood vessel walls — according to MayoClinic.)

In terms of her decision to live so close to her family, Dunham explained that, when she was a little girl, she used to dread the idea of ever moving out of her parents’ house.

“I hated leaving for the day to go to school, much less the idea of going to college or getting married,” Dunham, who married British-Peruvian musician Luis Felber in 2021, wrote. “I loved them, and I loved the culture of our family — the free-flowing dialogue about emotion and art and history and gossip and fashion. I couldn’t imagine a better set of pals. But I still wanted my own place.”

Dunham, who says she now goes back and forth between the East Coast and London, started planning her home during the COVID-19 pandemic as she was stuck aboard, unable to travel safely as an immunocompromised person.

“For a family that usually spends our whole lives together, we experienced something very new: We were separated for nearly two years. And so the house went from idea to construction site to reality. When it was finished, my mother waited patiently for my storage to arrive, counting 112 boxes,” Dunham said, explaining that her Simmons “unpacked every last item” and placed them throughout her house.

“My mismatched ceramic mugs hung from hooks, near a beaded mint green cake plate she had sourced, along with her treasured collection of jadeite china. She had fluffed pillows, put jewelry on little trays, and even fanned out all six of my copies of the book that became my most recent film, Catherine Called Birdy,” Dunham added of her mom’s devotion to curating her home.

Lena Dunham’s bold, beautiful home.

“I walked through the house in awe, understanding that while my stoic mother hadn’t been overtaken with emotion when we’d packed a moving truck, she had shown me her deepest feelings by setting up this house, running her lean, silver-manicured fingers along every object I’d hauled through my 35 years, showing me just how well she knew me,” Dunham concluded.

“At a moment of such widespread uncertainty, she had sought solace in making life more comfortable for me — something she had always done, but which was highlighted by the fact that we had been separated for the first time in our lives. I felt a shocking amount of gratitude — taking in the full blast of my good fortune — to have these parents and this home, to have a home at all.”

Backyard buddies for life.