Sleep: it's really good for you when it's not slowly killing you. Anyone who has lingered in bed 'til 1 p.m. dramatically tossing the covers on and off of their exposed legs knows this dichotomy to be very real. We desperately crave more of it (except perhaps those acolytes of segmented sleep), even if it means the occasional rat takes up temporary residency on our face.
Newly-installed Uber employee Arianna Huffington is a true believer that sleep is the key to success—so much so that she's written a book about her sleep-positive philosophy ("The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time"). The NY Times Real Estate section talked to her today for, "Arianna Huffington’s Sleep Revolution Starts at Home," and it seems like this could be a really interesting piece that is as soothing as Huffington's voice.
“I want to rekindle our romance with sleep,” said Ms. Huffington, 65, in a lullaby voice as soothing as her floral perfume. “It’s a central part of life and a gateway to our dreams.”
We yawned (in a good way) just reading that. But then, with just a few words, we suddenly realized this was no regular puff piece on an absurdly rich woman's new (and very pleasant) hobby—this was prime Brunch Hate Reads territory. How does Ariana Huffington sleep at night?
If sleep is a gateway to her dreams, then her bedroom is the mother ship. It is one of four in a vast apartment she transformed a few years ago with the help of the designer Steven Gambrel.
Oh right, on top of a pile of money. We should all be so lucky to have four bedrooms to switch between whenever our R.E.M. is unbalanced. Something tells us that anybody who has the room for four bedrooms probably, somehow, can find a way to get a lot of uninterrupted, good sleep. So what is this piece really about?
“It was a minimalist loft,” she said. “But I wanted something that felt more lived-in and European.”
To achieve that, she hired Mr. Gambrel to add walls to break up the space, for which he also designed much of the furniture. Peter Mucek, the decorative painter, plastered the walls to emulate a golden Venetian glow. Michael S. Smith, who redecorated some rooms in the Obama White House and is a friend, suggested that she treat the loft’s concrete columns with metallic brown paint to give them an ancient bronze feel. Mr. Smith also designed some leather chairs and an ottoman. Her home now has a regal and romantic ambience that seems in perfect keeping with Ms. Huffington’s personality.
*Looks over list of signs that you have wandered into a NY Times hate read, checks off the box that reads, "perverse lifestyles of the filthy rich"*
We should have seen this coming in the very first sentence: "Arianna Huffington was sitting like a very relaxed queen in her SoHo bedroom on a thronelike bergère chair covered in brocade Fortuny fabric." This is lifestyle porn; this is humblebrag porn; this is mostly just a long list of all the absurdly expensive stuff that keeps Huffington's feng shui in balance.
It feels like there is some serious rich person shading happening here, almost like Huffington is Deirdre Robespierre using the Times as a platform to get under the skin of Jacqueline Voorhees. We're sure there's a handbag made of famous internet cats fashionably hanging off a flowery venetian doorknob in one of these bedrooms.
Everything in the decidedly low-tech bedroom is as carefully considered as a business move. On a bed surrounded with Fortuny curtains in a restful light blue, she sleeps on organic cotton sheets from a collection called Huffington. The Huffington line, carried by Coco-Mat, a nearby bedding shop, was designed by her daughter Isabella Huffington, 25, an artist who shares her home. Her pillows are stuffed with soporific hops and barley. Across the room are two Gordon Parks photographs, including the bucolic “Boy With June Bug.” Over her night stand is a photograph of her other daughter, Christina, now 27, at Isabella’s christening.
“I call it a joy trigger,” Ms. Huffington said, “and I like having it right by my bed.”
This story might not be a "joy trigger," but it's definitely triggering. I thought it was about a "sleep revolution" for regular people, not a backdoor pilot for a future lifestyle brand with a name like Huffingsleep.
At bedtime, her phone and electronic devices are relegated to the foyer outside the bedroom, to recharge under a wall of family photographs. Withdrawing from her machines, she said, is part of a half-hour “transition to sleep” ritual that includes writing down the many things she is grateful for; dimming the lights; taking a warm bath in Epsom salts by flickering candlelight; and changing into a silk nightgown to greet sleep with respect.
Can this get any more Goopy?
It also helps to have soundproofed windows, which required a complicated and expensive installation process that made her renovated home as quiet as a church. Indeed, her cellphone rings with the sound of cathedral chimes.
“I love church bells, don’t you?” she asked in a seductive purr.
Goddamnit. At least we've hit a nadir/peak with soundproofed windows and cathedral chimes smartphone rings...haven't we?
It was time for a tour of the rest of the apartment. It is one of her two homes and very different from the one she has in California.
“My other house is from the 1920s, in Brentwood, in L.A.,” she said as she swept into her living room. “When I step out the door there, it’s into a garden of entirely white flowers, where all I smell is gardenias and it feels like being in the country. Here, it’s children, dogs and people from all over the world on my street when I walk out, and my favorite shops and restaurants.”
If you are in desperate need of a good night's rest, you don't need a garden of entirely white flowers: just watch the video below. You're welcome.
PSA: The NY Times has a weakness for self-parodying trend-baiting, masochistic Millennial obsessing, and the perverse lifestyles of the filthy rich. If a reporter with the Real Estate, Style or Weekend sections approaches you about a story, just smile gently and run in the opposite direction. No one is forcing you to become representative of everything that everyone hates about New Yorkers.