Rolling Hills’ Nicole Tangen is Happiest in Her Abundant Home Garden

More than a green thumb.

  • Category
    Homes, People
  • Photographed by
    Lauren Pressey
  • Styled by
    Tanya Monaghan


We live in Rolling Hills. It represents the best of “town and country” living with a coastal, equestrian community that is still near all of the amenities that Los Angeles has to offer.

How long at this current home?

My husband, Darren, and I both originally hail from Vancouver, British Columbia. Shortly after we were married, we both moved to Southern California where we spent 15 years living in Manhattan Beach. Then we moved “up the hill” to Rolling Hills in 2018. We were looking for an environment for our girls and dogs that felt a little bit more like how we were both raised in Canada: a backyard with ample space to play sports, adorned with an abundance of trees, vegetable garden, swimming pool and surrounding open space to hike, mountain bike and ride horses.

Who lives here?

Darren, our “four” daughters (Gabrielle, Emme, our Labrador retriever Akela and our Labahoula Lulu) and myself.

How would you describe the style of your home?

Originally built in 1952, the exterior of our home is traditional, California ranch-style architecture. Upon moving in, Timme G. Designs, Inc. updated the interior to reflect a modern farmhouse décor and design.

Do you favor any particular color palettes?

We favor generally neutral colors but with a preference for navy blue.

What will never make its way into your home?

Sadly, a cat. Not because of the dogs, but because I’m allergic to cats.

“Not only do the trees provide us with delicious fruit but also much-needed, unexpected, calming therapy.”

What do you love about your outdoor space?

We love our whole property. These 2.8 acres bring us so much peace, tranquility and privacy. We have over 12 species of fruit trees, a vegetable garden, a large swimming pool, sprawling lawn, trellised patios, an outdoor fireplace, barbecue, pizza oven and riding ring.

Did you employ any design help with your landscaping?

We were lucky enough to move into our home with a beautifully landscaped property that is currently maintained by Mike Forsberg Landscape & Maintenance. The property’s fruit trees and vegetable garden needed some TLC, so we hired Farmscape Gardens—the largest urban farming venture in the country—to help redesign and manage our vegetable garden.

Do you have a favorite feature of your garden?

The trees! There are kumquats, loquats, peaches, plums, lemons, limes, oranges, mandarins, apple, mango, guava, passion fruit, figs, grapefruit and avocado trees. Not only do the trees provide us with delicious fruit but also much-needed, unexpected, calming therapy—getting your hands dirty, time to think while harvesting the fruit, being outdoors in nature and nurturing your garden. There is too much fruit to eat on our own, so we pass along the vitamin C love to others by giving away most of the fruit.

Do you like to entertain at home or prefer to enjoy it on your own?

We love giving our guests a relaxed escape from busy Los Angeles. You can actually find a free place to park with no time limit! We also can happily and easily accommodate our out-of-town guests since we have a detached guesthouse, gym, craft cottage (displaying Emme’s and Gabrielle’s artwork and Nicole’s grandmother’s framed needlepoint projects), barn game room and wine cellar. Our barn and riding arena round out the remainder of the property, bringing happiness to all who visit our current guest horse, Tinka.

If you could change one thing at your home, what would it be?

One thing that we miss after moving away from Manhattan Beach is having more healthier café choices.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

We enjoy spending time in Whistler, Fiji and Cabo San Lucas, but you can’t beat Southern California.

What should every home have and why?

Every home should have a mini-garden planter. Growing one is challenging and requires patience, but there is so much joy you receive from eating fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables. Alfred Austin says, “To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body but the soul.”