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office envy (starring Aisha Tyler, written by yours truly)

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With her jam-packed daily schedule, Aisha Tyler often finds herself in need of a place to unwind, recharge and get her creativity flowing. In addition to her daytime gig as cohost of the Emmy-nominated gabfest The Talk, Tyler, 44, serves up improv on The CW’s Whose Line Is It Anyway?, lends her voice to the animated FX series Archer and hosts the popular podcast Girl on Guy, which sparked her desire for an office to call her own. “For the first year of my podcast, I was working from a hotel bar,” she says. “The doors didn’t open until five o’clock, but someone would inevitably walk in and start talking, not realizing I was recording sound.”

After a lengthy search for the perfect spot for her own production office, Tyler found an 800-square-foot loft in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley, ten minutes from her house and the CBS lot where she tapes The Talk. “It’s a perfect triangle,” she says. “I almost rented an office in a beautiful, historic building in Hollywood, but there was no parking and no kitchen, and the bathroom had to be shared with everybody else on the floor. Then, at the last minute, my husband [Jeff Tietjens] said, ‘Let’s keep looking.’ “And she’s glad she did. Since securing an official home for her podcast, Tyler has expanded the utility of the space, using it to write, catch up on e-mails, watch screeners and even play Xbox on the flat screen. And when she’s gearing up for a big event, she’ll have a wardrobe fitting too. “My stylist will come by with racks of clothes and lay jewelry selects out on the table. This is definitely the female version of a man cave.”

Having gutted and remodeled both her home and her dressing room at The Talk, she was excited about getting to work on her office. “Finding this place was magical, so I took my time with decorating because I wanted it to feel personal,” Tyler notes. Her goal was to create a cozy, welcoming environment, but first there was the matter of the refrigerator. “Because I’m in hotels almost every weekend, I’ve come to appreciate a well-curated minibar. I stayed at a hotel that had beautiful Italian fridges and I said, ‘When I get an office, I’m getting one of those!’ ” Not surprisingly, a red Smeg refrigerator was her first purchase, but her better half, who oversees the finances, wasn’t so thrilled. “My husband was like, ‘You could get four refrigerators from Costco for that price,'” she says, laughing. (The Smeg, by the way, retails for $1,999.) “I’ve also got a full bar, so if a guest comes by and wants a drink, I can make them a cocktail,” says the self-proclaimed bourbon sipper.

For the walls she opted for gray, in varying shades. “I hate to be the person who says that gray is the new black, but I think it’s such a grown-up, sexy color,” she says. Adorning the walls are personal photos (some of which she took herself) as well as artwork that makes her laugh. “As a comedian I’m really into collecting art that has a sense of humor.” Another prized piece is her guns and roses vase. “I like the juxtaposition of feminine and masculine,” she states. “I’m kind of a guy’s girl and a little bit of a tomboy, so I think it’s indicative of who I am. Perhaps that’s why I love skulls, too.”

Just as the sun begins its descent behind the mountains, Tyler leans back and peers out of her window. “This is a place I created for myself, so at the end of the day, I feel like I’m climbing down from my tree house,” she says. “But there are also times when I think, I love my office and I’m never going to give it up; I’m never going to leave. They’ll have to drag me out of here!”

ESSENCE, September 2014