LaLa Vazquez and Carmelo Anthony welcome ESSENCE.com readers inside their Denver home
A house is not a home until family and loved ones fill its empty spaces. No one knows this better than Alani "LaLa" Vazquez, former MTV veejay and aspiring actress and film and television producer, who has made a safe haven for her and her family-fiancé Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets, and 21-month-old son Kiyan Carmelo.
As the lady of the house, LaLa has a huge undertaking. "When we first moved in-the house had an older feeling to it," she says. "So Melo and I wanted to give it a younger feeling because we're young and have fun personalities. I didn't want it to feel like we were staying at our grandparents, because the architecture alone can create that kind of atmosphere."
The sprawling estate includes the main house, a guesthouse and a music studio, which is great for when their artist friends come for a visit. Despite having a huge home, the Brooklyn native, who was raised in New Jersey and Atlanta, remains humble and modest. "I love my home and I'm happy here, but it gets a little overwhelming when it comes to decorating," says LaLa. "At night, when I'm home by myself, this big house gets kind of scary and I lock me and my son in my room." Although there are six bedrooms-one of which is reserved for Anthony's clothes-it's the couple's private quarters that LaLa considers her safe haven; she uses candles to create a serene ambience.
The couple entertains their guests with a nine-seater home theater and a pool table in the basement. Down below is also a wine cellar, where Anthony loves to hang out. There's also one room reserved only for her fiancé's sneakers.
One would expect to see maids running the household, but LaLa says, contrary to popular belief, she's pretty domesticated. "I clean my own house. I don't wait for the maid to come,'' she says. "And I cook for my family. It might not be a ten-course meal, but I have my specialties like mac ‘n' cheese, chicken and my world-famous lasagna."
LaLa continues to create a home for her and her boys and says that they will begin decorating their living room next. "We are doing all we can to make our house a home," says LaLa. "At the end of the day, when you're busy, all you have is your family and home to come home to and you want to make it the warmest and most welcoming place it can be."