Early on a recent Wednesday afternoon, Tamron Hall opened the refrigerator in her blond wood kitchen and unapologetically poured herself a glass of cava. “It’s the end-of-my-workday cocktail,” said Ms. Hall, who leaves her downtown apartment in her pajamas at 4 a.m. for Rockefeller Center, where she is a host of the 9 a.m. hour of the “Today” show, and then shifts gears to anchor “MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall” from 11 to noon.
When she gets home to her two-bedroom in a converted loft building, Ms. Hall, 45, often unwinds by lying down on the black-and-white Minottiottoman in her living room. “It’s my sitting place, even though it doesn’t have a back or anything,” she said. “There are many days I curl up on the ottoman in the fetal position, given some of the horrid things I have seen.”
She tries to be in her actual bed by 11 p.m., keeping the television on all night long, she said, because she doesn’t want to miss a breaking news story.
Although she is known for her breezy banter with her fellow “Today” hosts Willie Geist, Natalie Morales and Al Roker, Ms. Hall is a seasoned journalist who has made reporting on unsolved murders something of a crusade. Her 10-episode series, “Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall,” began its fourth season on the Investigation Discovery channel last month.
The program is a labor of love. The 2004 murder of Renate Newton, her 48-year-old stepsister, who died of blunt-force trauma to the back of the head, remains unsolved. “Police named a person of interest,” she said, “but never arrested him.”
The series, Ms. Hall said, is cathartic for her and the survivors she interviews. “When I was a general assignment reporter early in my career, I was the one knocking on their door after a tragedy,” she said. “What I’ve learned is that people have a desire to talk after the first line of reporters go away, and they are no longer speaking out of shock.”
And she shares their pain on camera. “I let myself cry a lot,” she said. “I don’t think I could do the show if I couldn’t show my emotions.”
Despite a rigorous schedule that requires her to spend many weekends on the road taping interviews, Ms. Hall entertains at home frequently. “I picked this apartment because of the open kitchen,” she said. “I wanted people to talk to me while I cooked. It doesn’t work out when I burn things, but when they go right, the whole house smells good.”
The well-stocked 1950s brass-and-glass bar cart is an invitation for guests to serve themselves. “I bought it on 1stdibs, which is my obsession,” she said.
The round 1970s marble-topped table is from 1stdibs, too. She bought the polycarbonate Kartell Papyrus dining chairs in Chicago, where she was once a morning show host, although they baffled her mother: “She said, ‘Why do you have plastic chairs?’ And I said, ‘Mom, let me Google this for you.’ ”
Although the house is immaculate, Ms. Hall is not a fussbudget. She furnished it to be a place where her out-of-town relatives, especially her nieces and nephew, would feel at home. “They are the loves of my life. Believe it or not, we turn cartwheels in the living room. I didn’t want to be the aunt where you come over and can’t sit on the sofa,” said Ms. Hall, who has photographs of her family with the Obamas at the White House holiday press party on display in the living room. “I wanted somewhere that looks like family. I wanted the house to reflect the energy of who I am, but I didn’t want it to look like the single-woman-in-New-York-City apartment.”
She can tick off the origin of every item there. The white taxidermy peacock? It was a gift from the retailer and event designer Jung Lee when Ms. Hall became an official host on “Today,” since NBC is known as the Peacock Network. The Juliska glass candy jars on her kitchen counter? They are also from Ms. Lee’s Manhattan store. “They are elegant but strong, pretty but fierce,” Ms. Hall said. “I am a gummy bear fanatic, and they are always there.”
In case there’s any doubt, Ms. Hall offered evidence that she likes real food, too, pulling up pictures on her phone of a recent brunch she prepared that included yogurt parfaits and lemon ricotta pancakes. She taught herself to cook by working her way through Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa”cookbooks, she said, and one of her go-to dishes is chicken with 40 cloves of garlic. “I am happy to say, last year she invited me to her home,” she said of Ms. Garten. “It was like going to the Promised Land.”
In the living room, a mirror by Tapp Francke with the word “smile” written across it in yellow neon script “captures my entire ‘Today’ show experience,” she said. “I love morning television because it’s the most vulnerable time of day, when you are at your rawest, and if I have the ability to make viewers smile, that’s a gift from God.”
She always encourages visitors to look directly into the mirror. “I stand back and watch, and every person smiles — yes!”
But her favorite piece of artwork is a painting by Joshua Walsh of a Creole woman with an American flag draped on her shoulders, bought many years ago in New Orleans.
“She is the guardian of my house,” Ms. Hall said.