Denver Post | Sep 20, 2007

Have a cow! “Simpsons” voice loves her country

For Cartwright, girly themes rule L.A. home
By David A. Keeps, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 09/20/2007 01:00:00 AM MDT

A fiberglass cow is a natural at Nancy Cartwright's Connecticut-style farmhouse. (Los Angeles Times / Anne Cusack)
A fiberglass cow is a natural at Nancy Cartwright's Connecticut-style farmhouse. (Los Angeles Times / Anne Cusack)

Los Angeles – Roses. Chandeliers. Whimsy. Country.

This isn’t a decorating mantra that Bart Simpson would chant. Well, not without his trademark smirk. But for Nancy Cartwright, the Emmy Award-winning voice actress who puts the sarcasm into the cartoon rascal’s mouth, those four girly-girl design elements are not open for discussion.

“These are my themes,” the pink-clad mom declares.

At here home in the San Fernando Valley, roses are freshly clipped blooms from her garden, set in a vase in the wildly wallpapered dining room. “Chandeliers,” she announces, standing underneath a gilt and jade-colored glass confection in the kitchen. Cartwright points out a figurine of Tinker Bell suspended on a beaded swag strung between the arms.”Whimsy,” she says.

The "tree" in Cartwright's kitchen actually is a bark-clad steel beam. Next to the range? A Bart Simpson cookie jar. (Los Angeles Times / Anne Cusack)

As for country? That river runs deep, from the whitewashed scalloped trim and shuttered windows outside the 1947 Connecticut-style farmhouse to the beamed ceilings inside. A gambrel-roofed red barn serves as her garage. On the front lawn, Cartwright has placed an appropriate sentinel: a life-size fiberglass cow she named Milk Dud.

The 1-acre spread also contains the property’s original pine-paneled guest apartment, now done up with Western cabin furnishings found at flea markets, as well as cottages housing a studio and offices for managing Cartwright’s speaking engagements, charitable activities, books on tape recordings and bulging roster of animation voice gigs.

In addition to portraying Bart and four other “Simpsons” scamps, Cartwright does voices for “The Replacements” and “Betsy’s Kindergarten Adventures,” produces a Web-based cartoon, “The Kellys,” and frequently is called upon to play yet one more role: hostess. At home, she presides over civic functions as honorary mayor of Northridge, holds get-togethers for the Church of Scientology and her own philanthropic group called Happy House.

Bart Simpson voice Nancy Cartwright loves roses, chandeliers and whimsy for her decorating themes. (Los Angeles Times / Anne Cusack)

great neighbors, but you go a quarter of a mile down the road, and there’s one of the highest concentrations of gangs in L.A. County,” she says. “I’m not scared living here, but it’s a little bit of an island in the middle of insanity.” Recently she and children Lucy, 17, and Jack, 15, jumped in a golf cart and delivered more than 600 invitations for a neighborhood “mingle,” she says.”I wanted them to know that I am accessible and to get them to volunteer at the youth center.” Hosting large groups required a re-evaluation of the house that began in 2002, around the time when Cartwright and her husband, Warren Murphy, divorced. Three years later, with her ideas fully formed, the actress sought out interior designer and landscape artist Melinda Brownstone to renovate the house for her role as a single mom and event planner.

“She probably had 50 magazines dog-eared and marked with Post-it notes,” Brownstone says. “For the most part, it was her own creative concept.”

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