With fans like actress Julianne Moore and fashion creative director Jenna Lyons, Sunrise Ruffalo—a former actress who is married to Hollywood A-lister Mark Ruffalo—is making her mark in the home decor world with her online and brick-and-mortar shop . The store—with a seasonal boutique she opened in 2017 in Narrowsburg, New York, near the Delaware River weekend home she shares with her husband and three kids—is filled with objects that combine form and function, from the perfect stapler or fire engine–red dustpan to handmade ceramics and blankets she sources from a monastery outside of Madrid. “I love a good chair, a good lamp, a cup I can really grasp, or a plate that isn’t too heavy,” Ruffalo says. “I pay really close attention to those kinds of things.”
Another Sunny’s Pop devotee is Ruffalo’s friend, the fashion designer Maria Cornejo. From April 18 through May 19, Ruffalo will be bringing her colorful aesthetic to the West Coast with a pop-up shop inside the boutique on Melrose. “I really admire her taste both in her homes and her store in upstate New York,” Cornejo says. “I love that she supports local artisans. She has an incredible eye for putting things together.”
On the occasion of the pop-up, Siweb asked Ruffalo about her interest in home design.
Siweb: What gave you the idea to open a home-goods shop?
Sunrise Ruffalo: I come from a family of women who are decorators and have always been around beautiful homes with a singular vision. Plus, I’m a homebody. As you get older, your priorities change—you redefine where you want to spend your money and time. As I began to build my family, I tended to be at home more, so my interior life became more important. It just felt right.
ED: Where did you grow up?
Ruffalo: Between New Orleans and Paris. My father is French, and my mother is American. My maternal grandmother was a decorator in San Francisco. I would often go to her apartment in Nob Hill, which had a great view of the whole city. She lived in a very modern apartment building, but the inside of her apartment looked like a mini Versailles. She had impeccable taste—a society lady. And in France, my relatives were chic women who lived in classic Parisian apartments. I was very blessed.
ED: But your own household was nothing like that, right?
Ruffalo: Yes. I come from a bohemian hippie background. For a while, my dad and I lived in a van, first in New Orleans and then we spent a year on the road. He was very anti-bourgeoisie. And even when we moved to New York and had a home, my dad didn’t like having any furniture—we had just the essentials: a plate, tablesetting, and bed for each of us. He loved roller skating in the house. I think that’s why I am drawn to making interiors, because I didn’t have that growing up as a kid. I now probably overcompensate and have a lot of stuff.
ED: What are you planning for your Los Angeles pop-up shop at Zero + Maria Cornejo?
Ruffalo: I’m looking forward to bringing a taste of what we do at Sunny’s Pop to the West Coast. I haven’t lived in L.A. in over a decade, but I used to have a jewelry store there, Kaviar and Kind. Maria and I have a similar approach: We like things that are timeless. She makes such intellectually challenging pieces. I hope to house the woman that wears those clothes.
ED: What are some standout pieces from the collection you are planning to bring west?
Ruffalo: I’ve got beautiful metal boxes from Italy in a great hunter green and handmade ceramics from Felt+Fat in Philadelphia in incredible colors. I am drawn to darker colors, like periwinkle, olive, slate, and marigold, which are very popular in home goods. There are clay candlesticks by a young woman, Virginia Sin, who is really blowing up; wooden bowls made from fallen trees; blankets woven in Kashmir by a family of weavers, that I order in custom colors like raspberry and beige.
ED: How do you discover these great finds?
Ruffalo: I trust my gut and travel and shop a lot. I’ve searched in places like Marfa, Texas; New Orleans; and more recently, Philadelphia. That town is happening! There is a youthquake there. I am also mining my personal collections for vintage pieces. In California, I am hoping to meet additional crafters and creators whose work I can showcase.
ED: What most influences your design style?
Ruffalo: I definitely love color and thrive on it. My style is somewhere in between city and country. I love living in New York City—it’s everything—but I am also drawn to nature. I love the Catskills, where our country house is near the great Delaware River. There are bald eagles nesting outside our store window, and the sound of crickets and cicadas all summer. The yellow tote bags I sell remind me of the color of forsythia. The brown dishes are like the bark on Norwegian spruce.
ED: As a former actress and the wife of a successful actor, how much do you care about having a glamorous “Hollywood” lifestyle?
Ruffalo: Not at all! Look, I live with three kids, a really messy husband who likes to garden, and five pets—two cats, a dog, a guinea pig, and a bunny. We also have about a dozen chickens. My lifestyle is messy and chaotic. I always have stacks of books near my bed. There is always life in our house. I know I’m not for everybody and that’s OK, but I must be for some people because I am still in business. Maybe it’s the French side of my family: I am drawn to patina. I’m dancing to the beat of my own drum.