Welcome to Moonlighting, a new Curbed column in which the talented Raina Cox of If the Lamp Shade Fits takes a look at design players whose first job may not have been design. Some triumph, some flop, and some should never, ever give up their day job.
Grammy piano hopper and Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow fancies herself an arbiter of good taste and a lifestyle guru, a Martha Stewart for the glam set. After her ingenue heyday of the 1990s had passed, Paltrow settled into married life in the UK with musician hubby Chris Martin of Coldplay. She had two children in quick succession and set about nesting by combining two London townhouses into a cozy 33-room mansion. She even persuaded her next-door neighbors to sell their backyard so she could enjoy an organic vegetable garden.
During this time, Paltrow struck upon the idea to share her luxe living wisdom with the world by jumping on the blogwagon with GOOP, a "lifestyle newsletter" filled with tips for frequent detoxing, where to stay should you find yourself in Hong Kong or Barcelona, and the best source for (relatively) inexpensive cashmere socks. Paltrow attempts to strike an every-woman tone, but her reality requires daily two-hour exercise sessions, a full household staff, and cooking lessons from names like Ina Garten and Mario Batali. In mid April, the actress will release her first cookbook co-written with Batali that's filled with "delicious easy recipes celebrating family and togetherness."
Paltrow's Hamptons home was the cover story of the penultimate issue of House & Garden. She tackled much of the decorating herself with resource assistance from then H&G editor Kim Gieske. According to the story, "Paltrow took charge of the house's design nearly from the beginning. The spec house was already under construction when she first came upon it, but she worked with Washington, D.C.-based architectural designer Michael Minkoff to tailor the house to her family and her taste." The end result reads like a primer for mid-Aughts interior design, with out-sized Baroque patterns, stacked crystal ball lamps, and a black-cabinet kitchen. For her Tribeca penthouse, the actress hired interior architects-of-the-moment Roman & Williams to imagine a nannies-on-high-alert pale scheme. The designing duo incorporated "fuzzy nap zones" and infused the space with "gravitas, care, and lllluuuuxury."
Paltrow holds her temporary living quarters to a similar high standard while espousing "green" living in GOOP. Rather than staying in a hotel during the filming of Country Strong, a Nashville loft was gutted, rebuilt and decorated for the actress in a record-breaking 10 days. Paltrow and her two children lived in the space for eight weeks.
In a recent Harper's Bazaar UK interview, Paltrow complained about the public's reaction to GOOP: "Any time you do anything with any degree of sincerity, people make fun of you. That's totally fine. I don't care. I don't read any of it. My thing with GOOP has always been, if you don't like it, then don't log onto it. There were a couple of times when I thought, 'I'm just gonna stop doing it. People are so mean to me. I don't want to do it.' But then I was like, 'Who cares what some lame person out there says?' I was in Italy once, and this old man came up to me and said, 'I had the best time in Nashville because of Goop.' And that is so worth it to me."
Here's a look at some of Paltrow's spaces:
· GOOP [official site]
· My Father's Daughter [Hachette Book Group]
· At Home with Gwyneth Paltrow - Part One [Habitually Chic]
· Gwyneth Paltrow's Fuzzy Nap Zones Exposed in Tribeca Penthouse [Curbed NY]
· Gwyneth Paltrow In Harper's Bazaar UK: 'People Are So Mean To Me' [The Huffington Post]
· If the Lamp Shade Fits [official site]