Crystal Hefner may have hung up her Playboy bunny suit, but her corset and ears are still close to her heart. “I recently brought out my costume. It makes me reflect on my time at the mansion,” says the former Playmate, 34, who since the passing of her husband and Playboy founder, Hugh Hefner, has spent the last three years traveling and building a new life in her recently-remodeled West Hollywood abode.
“It feels feminine and very pretty,” says the model of the renovation. “I lived in somebody else’s house for 10 years. It’s like, ‘Wow, this is mine!’” The house, built in 1937, is not your typical California mansion: “So many houses in L.A. are like modern boxes,” says Crystal. “I wanted to get away from that. I wanted an old, worldly and natural feel.”
Interior designer Suzy Kloner helped bring her vision to life: “I truly loved working with Crystal,” says Kloner. “We utilized rich linens, reclaimed woods, woven textures, greenery and a touch of California style to create this Spanish revival home.”
After living in the Playboy Mansion for a decade, Crystal wanted her own space to represent the woman she’s become. “I wanted to include as much of my personality as possible,” says Crystal. “At the mansion, I was fitting into someone else’s life. I wanted to make sure [the house] reflects my current life but also my past, which is the reason I have this beautiful home today.”
Crystal has included many tributes to her Playboy past — and, of course, Hugh — throughout the estate, whether it be in the form of photographs or an appropriate rabbit door knocker. “At the mansion, our bedroom had a door knocker on it. I saw a rabbit one at Anthropologie and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, bunny mansion!’ I think it just looks cool,” says the traveler (she’s visited 33 countries since Hugh’s passing in 2017).
Crystal undoubtedly misses her late husband and continues to keep his memory alive: “I’m still Vice President of the Hugh Hefner foundation, so I still feel really connected,” she says. “When I’m really missing him, we have a storage unit at Iron Mountain, so sometimes I’ll go there to look through Hef’s scrapbooks. There are, like, 3,000 of them! I love that he created all those memories. It helps me.”
It also helps that she has a new home to take care of while juggling jumping back in the dating pool. “I just started dating and it’s been going well,” she says. “I did have Hef’s blessing with that. He said, ‘You’ll move on, but just know I loved you very much.’ It’s so heartbreaking, but of course he realized the age difference. It was really important for me to have that talk with him. At first, I felt guilty, but now I’m like, ‘It’s OK.’”
As for remarrying and having kids of her own someday? Crystal is more focused on the present than the future for now. “I’m still working on myself. Possibly, I’ll have kids, but I’m not sure. Eventually, I would love to find my person and just have a life partner to experience things with.”
For more on Crystal’s life without Hef, watch the video above and pick up this week’s issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now.
Reporting by Kayley Stumpe