Ellen DeGeneres: Why I’ve Bought More Than a Dozen Houses in the Past 20 Years

10/21/2015 at 02:27 PM ET

Ellen DeGeneres home
Courtesy Hachette

Award-winning talk show host. Dancer extraordinaire. Now Ellen DeGeneres is adding interior designer to her list of accomplishments as well.

Since the 1990s, she has bought and sold more than a dozen houses — all with a unique style. “When I’m in a room, I want everything I’m looking at to make me happy,” DeGeneres tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday. “I’ve gotten better over the years. This didn’t happen to me right away. I shop a lot and I study a lot and I look at a lot of books and magazines. I just learned what I like.”

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Now the star is sharing what she’s learned in a new book, Home (which arrives in stores Oct. 27), along with a peek inside some of her previous homes. From her spacious villa in Santa Barbara to a mid-century classic in L.A.’s Holmby Hills, DeGeneres, 57, hopes to inspire others in interior design as well.

“I’m actually a little nervous about how much I’m sharing. But it’s important for people to see that this really is a genuine passion of mine, not just a business venture. I think people were kind of really surprised, like ‘Ellen’s into design?!’ But everyone who knows me and who is in my life has known that for a long time,” DeGeneres says.

Ellen DeGeneres home
Courtesy Tim Street-Porter

Having moved around between various rental homes growing up in New Orleans, DeGeneres said she’s constantly on the search for that perfect house. “I had taste before money,” she insists. “But I just knew I had to get in the market. It’s like jumping into a moving jump rope. You’re kind of scared to death to do it but you have to get in there.”

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Now married to Portia de Rossi, DeGeneres is grateful the two share similar styles. “Portia’s into art deco more than I am, but she loves everything that we’re doing,” she adds. “We are having a hard time staying put. I keep trying to find a better home. But I’m happy. This is what I love to do.”

For more of DeGeneres’ interview — including exclusive photos of her previous homes and her tips for interior design — pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

Julie Jordan, @juliejordanc

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suzy on

She says she is happy. but someone that changes homes all the time.. is not happy. something is missing. whatever it is.. people make a house their home.. make memories in it.. moving that many times.. says red flags she could buy homes that she doesn’t move into.. and resale for a profit.. actually uprooting everything is another story. Thank God they didn’t have kids

sjs on

@suzy … everyone is different. Some people like moving. If she and her wife are happy, more power to them.

Missy on

I adore her….and I am so jealous lol

Just a Duck on

I have four homes and have had two of them for 30 years, one for 10 and one for 2. I love interior decorating and I understand the decorating bug. It’s so much fun. Of course all four of mine aren’t worth $30 million.

rubyovertherainbow* on

I think she’s happy. What all these moves say is that she’s not attached to material things.

Kathey on

@Suzy: Sounds like YOU are the one who’s not happy. Why talk bad about someone you don’t know at all?! They have money to be able to experience many different things in life and if living in different places makes them happy, why not?! As far as you dig on them not having kids, that’s just nasty of you.

Renee on

It sounds like she is always on the hunt (as she mentions). Having moved around so much as a child it probably doesn’t matter to her about making memories in a specific house. Some people live in their homes forever and some like change. We moved around a lot when I was little but now that I’m married we’ve been in our house 21 yrs AND SUZY WE DON’T HAVE CHILDREN!!!!

Tyler Gram on

I dated a realtor that sold her a few of her homes. He told me she was miserable to deal with and very rude to hired staff and workers. He told me a story of her not talking directly to another listing agent and instead telling her assistant to talk to her as she was standing right in front of her. She also refused to learn hired household staffs name. Her portrayal on TV is nothing like the community of West Hollywood/Bev Hills knows to well. He rarely speaks bad of people but she is definitely not a happy person.

bugsforever on

From other interview, it doesn’t sound like Portia is as enamored of moving every year and a half as Ellen is.

Longwalker144 on

..Ellen IS life, love, and living.

Charlotte on

Can someone tell me what shoes Ellen is wearing in the first pic? I’m thinking Clark’s chukka boots but I’m not sure. Thoughts?

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