In the years that Sandra Bullock has spent acting less and less – her last on-screen appearance was a minor role in 2022's Bullet Train – she has been busy with an entirely different passion, one far away from acting.
Years before her breakthrough role in 1994's Speed, which she followed with hits such as Miss Congeniality, Two Weeks Notice, The Proposal and her Oscar-winning The Blind Side, she was prepared for acting to not be a forever thing.
She had both a back-up plan and a passion for all things architecture and design, an area she long believed she would dedicate herself to regardless of whether her acting career panned out.
Of course, her acting career was more than successful, but, in a new interview with Architectural Digest, she reveals her latest project: a 19th-century Manhattan townhouse she restored. "Since being an actress was not something I thought I would be allowed to do past a certain time, every penny I made I would invest into real estate," she tells the outlet.
The actress, who is a mom to Louis, 12, and Laila, ten, owns upwards of 15 properties throughout the country, including in Malibu and Beverly Hills, California, in Austin, in Georgia, and New York, some of which are for herself, others she purchases and sells as business-minded passion projects.
"Each place is different and each place has its own history and memories layered into it," she tells AD, describing her latest, the town house, as "the big one," and sharing that it required "so much needed restoration and love."
She bought it over twenty years ago at a time of uncertainty in her life, and says: "I think taking on the brownstone restoration was me attempting to find my footing into adulthood." Now 58, though she admits she is "no fine artist," she maintains: "I can walk into a building, and I can feel what the space wants to be. I just need to find the fine artists that can execute what's in my head."
She credits her love of design to her father, John W. Bullock (he passed away in 2018) after she grew up seeing him buying and restoring houses into the vocal studios where he taught opera. She says: "I was his sidekick and loved being in the old homes," adding: "I was that kid that skipped the 'how to apply my makeup properly' phase, but did learn where the wax ring goes when installing a toilet."
Further detailing what kind of projects she's drawn to now, she points out the similarities between choosing an acting role and choosing a home to restore (or live in), saying: "They both require everyone working toward the same story," of both the design and acting process.
"I fall in love with the places that others scrunch their faces at," she shares, before joking: "My family thinks I'm nuts." Since 2015, she has been in a relationship with photographer Bryan Randall.
"Architecture was supposed to be the back-up plan, but thankfully times have changed and we are now allowed to have more than one 'thing' we do in life," she finally adds, noting: "I get to have two passions."
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