Step Inside Gus Kenworthy’s California Home
Since I don’t have many friends who’ve won an Olympic medal, the first thing I do when I get to Gus Kenworthy’s apartment in West Hollywood is ask where he keeps his hardware. The professional skier leads me to an antique trophy case tucked in a foyer between the living room and the dining area. Inside are animal fossils, skulls he picked up on desert hikes, a carved ostrich egg, and, finally, hidden on the bottom shelf, a silver medal for ski slopestyle at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Why is it hidden under a ram head? And where are all the other honors from Kenworthy’s 12-year career? “I don’t want a shrine to myself, so I gave all the other trophies to my high school,” he says with a shrug. “I only kept this one because friends ask to see it all the time.” (Guilty as charged.) In an extra bedroom, which seems to be used primarily as ski equipment storage, I dug up a framed print of his Nike ad, and the 2015 cover of ESPN magazine in which he came out of the closet and became one of the first openly gay American athletes at the Olympics.
Kenworthy, 29, was born in Chelmsford, England, and grew up in Telluride, Colorado. He’s a two-time Olympian, “hopefully about to be a three-time Olympian,” he says with a smile, referring to the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, and a five-time X-Games medalist. For most of his career, he lived in Colorado during ski season and New York in the off-season. However, in 2018, after fielding inbound requests for hosting gigs and acting offers from Hollywood (he made a splash in the ninth season of American Horror Story), he decided to make the move to L.A.
“I looked at this place online, and the day I flew in for the GLAAD Awards I went to see it and fell in love. I put in an offer on the spot,” he says of the three-bedroom apartment with two roof terraces he shares with Birdie, a Jindo mix that he adopted in Korea during the 2018 Olympics. “It’s a pretty quirky apartment with tons of weird angles and varying ceiling heights, which I found charming. There was nothing on the rooftop, but the [real estate agent] said the building approved plans to build a custom roof deck. I climbed a ladder and was blown away by the unobstructed views from downtown to Hollywood and all the way to Century City and beyond to the ocean. That sold me.”
Gus tapped Orlando Soria to help him navigate the ins and outs of remodeling in California and to design the finished space. Coincidentally, Orlando had lived in a very similar space at one point so he knew how to handle its quirks. Soria and Kenworthy worked together to create a chic and playful bachelor pad. “When you meet Gus, he’s inherently kind of mischievous,” Soria says. “He’s not afraid of things just being bold, so it was really fun to figure out how to do that in a way that was also sophisticated.”
The renovation, which took nearly a year, included built-in window benches, bookcases, crown moldings, and wainscoting in the bedrooms. Kenworthy’s ex-boyfriend, actor Matthew Wilkas, applied a hand-scraped plaster treatment to the walls. His favorite feature came unexpectedly: “There’s a little window behind the kitchen sink that looks out to an egress well. At first, I thought it was so strange to look out at a wall, but I ended up painting the well a pretty gray-blue and placed an eight-foot cactus [there]. It has become a fabulous focal point.”