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Ariana Huffington's home offers family charm, top-secret office
Whether or not you agree with her politics, few pundits are as entertaining or well turned out as Arianna Huffington, whose latest book has the pull-no-punches title, "Right Is Wrong: How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution, and Made Us All Less Safe."
A native of Athens, Greece, the 57-year-old founder of the Huffington Post currently lives in Brentwood, Calif., where she shares a four-bedroom, five-bathroom Italianate home (built in the 1920s) with her two daughters, Christina and Isabella, 19 and 17 respectively. Huffington's sister, Agapi, lives with the family, as well.
"Actually I haven't changed much [in the house] since I decorated [it] when I moved in 11 years ago," Huffington said recently, chatting with us via e-mail. Daughter Isabella, however, has transformed her room with a unique twist on wallpaper. "The room is now covered from top to bottom with pictures from great photography books. Her godmother gives her Amazon gift cards, which she spends on these fabulous books that she tears up and puts on her walls."
The furnishings include a much-loved dining room table that was hand-painted to resemble marble, while the house itself is decorated "with an eye towards elegance, but also intimate and cozy."
Most luxurious feature in your home: My ornate Venetian mirror (actually bought in Florence) hanging in the dining room.
One thing on a wall in your living room: Paintings done by my friend Kimberly Brooks. I love her work, and I love having my friend's paintings around me.
Oldest thing in your fridge or freezer: There is probably something in the freezer left over from the Clinton years.
One thing on your nightstand: My meditation tapes.
If we came unexpectedly, would we find your bed made? It depends on what time you unexpectedly dropped by. But odds are the bed would be made.
Favorite household chore: Putting another log on the fire in the winter can be fun.
Most high-tech gadget or appliance in your home: The TiVo is pretty state of the art.
Fill in the blank: I can't live without my ... Blackberrys (I have two). This may seem excessive but I've actually scaled back from three. The 24/7 news cycle makes it hard to be out of touch. And since I use my Blackberrys for calls as well, there are service areas where Verizon is better than AT&T and vice-versa.
What reading material would we find in your bathroom? The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the London Times, and many, many magazines.
Biggest surprise we'd find in your closet: My daughters' baby dolls, which I'm keeping for their daughters.
What is your guilty pleasure, food-wise? Starbucks Venti Cafe Latte. And cheese.
Do you do any friendly snooping when visiting the homes of others? Actually, I always like to look in people's fridges to get ideas, preferably for new, healthy and organic drinks or snacks I may not know about.
Most recent purchase for your home: An espresso machine.
What would we find in your garage? Boxes and boxes of books. In terms of authors, I can never have enough of Shakespeare. No matter how many times I read one of his plays I always discover something new. And, of course, the Greeks.
What is your decorating nightmare? Making the WiFi port unobtrusive.
Where do you eat most of your meals? Wherever my daughters are.
Opinion of TVs in the bedroom: No, there has to be some escape from the 24/7 news cycle.
Weirdest thing about (or in) your home: The upstairs office, hidden behind a bookshelf. I had it installed since I work at home. ... If you close the wood-paneled door covered by a painting of two Venetian cardinals, you'd never guess there's an entire office behind the bookcase.
What aspect of your home is the epitome of your personality? The office. It's filled with books, computers, TVs turned to news, and jam-packed with ideas.