The Real Deal New York

The host with the most

Kimberly Guilfoyle, star of Fox News’ “The Five,” shows off her classic six
By Zachary Kussin | November 06, 2014 07:00AM

Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle kicks off her silver Jimmy Choo heels the moment she arrives at her spacious Upper West Side home, tucking them carefully under a custom-made Lucite bench in the entryway. It’s a hot late-summer day, and she’s come straight from her Midtown newsroom, where she co-hosts the talk/debate show “The Five” and serves as a co-panelist on the recently launched “Outnumbered.”

But instead of staying barefoot or kicking back in some flip-flops, she slips into a pair of black mesh Louboutins. After all, Guilfoyle’s heel collection — which includes roughly 50 styles from Manolo Blahnik, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino and Gucci — has its own Twitter account.

But as the adage goes, things are not always as they seem. Despite Guilfoyle’s glamorous appearance and very public presence — she appears before some 3 million viewers daily on both shows combined, according to Nielsen Media Research, which also pegs “The Five” as the highest-rated news program in its time slot — she’s a family-oriented person, she said, and her classic six apartment reflects this. The foremost piece of evidence: She chose this apartment on a house hunt a couple of years ago because it has a room big enough for family gatherings, something that her previous digs on the Upper East Side didn’t have.

“When I walked in and saw the dining room — the size and scale of it — it felt really grand, like I was living in a home, not just an apartment in New York City,” she said, adding that this is her most favorite place because she enjoys eating dinner here with her 8-year-old son, Ronan. “I love a place where a family can eat together and talk and share stories at the end of the day.”

This dining space provides a stunning setting for this daily event — “we love our family time,” she said — as well as for when she entertains guests. The focal point of the white-walled room hangs above the long wooden table (which sometimes doubles as a ping pong table for boys-versus-girls matches): A sparkling, vintage crystal constellation chandelier that was part of the Metropolitan Opera’s original collection. A large chest with a white exterior, stands at one end of the room. It holds china, books (“Hip Hotels,” “The Iconic Interior”) and had to be carried up 15 flights of stairs. On the other end of the room, wave-patterned blue and green window dressings drape in front of oversized windows that, this day, let in bright sunshine.  “Everything in the house sparkles,” Guilfoyle remarks with a smile.

True to her California roots, the home exudes a Hollywood Regency charm that’s immediately visible upon entry. In this roomy white-walled space, a spherical light fixture with glass flower petals hangs over a glass table upon which are collected glass trinkets in various sizes in a small glass bowl. A vintage, circular mirror makes a statement on the wall, as does a large, framed custom-painted scene of birds and flowers on silver silk by de Gournay in a chinoiserie style.

The shimmery, vintage vibes of the foyer are replicated throughout the apartment. In the living area, there’s another silk de Gournay on display, as well as a painting made by Rowann Villency, the artist and mother of Guilfoyle’s second husband, furniture heir Eric Villency (they divorced several years ago). This piece shows a floral pattern with vibrant purple and orange touches. Off to one side of the painting, a flat-screen television hangs on the white wall. On the other side, window dressings with sequin touches sparkle near the white-painted fireplace and the grey and blue upholstered furniture. This ranks as the second-most important room in her home: a warm and inviting gathering space for friends and family.

“I love the transformative process,” Guilfoyle, seated at a marble breakfast table in her kitchen, said of furnishing apartments — she’s lived in five since arriving in New York from California 10 years ago. “I like taking a space and creating a unique, different environment, [so] that someone would be surprised when they walk through the door. If they’ve been in [many] apartments, they haven’t been in one like this.”

Guilfoyle has resided in this three-bedroom rental for two years. Though she wasn’t specifically on the market for a rental, she knew this apartment felt right when she first saw it. “It was more dependent on whether or not I loved a space,” she explains. “You try to make a family-friendly atmosphere, and whether you own it or you’re renting it, then it’s your special place — your oasis.”

But beyond the layout and pre-war bones, location played another important factor in her search, mainly because of her growing son. Now a stone’s throw from Central Park, her boy has room to run around. The short distance to the American Museum of Natural History is another plus. Here, Guilfoyle and her son Ronan spend time together on the weekends going through the dinosaur exhibits. She also wanted a large bedroom for Ronan — one big enough for his bunk bed and collection of toys. Plus, her son’s school is in the neighborhood.

“Living in an apartment in New York, you make a transition,” she said. “I was used to having a backyard. But now Central Park is our backyard, which is pretty spectacular. It’s a beautiful canvas and every day you can have a unique experience.”

Guilfoyle is no stranger to transitions; she weathers them quite well. A San Francisco native who later married former San Francisco mayor (now lieutenant governor of California) Gavin Newsom, Guilfoyle grew up in the city’s Mission District to a Puerto Rican mother, who died of leukemia when Guilfoyle was 10, and an Irish father, who passed away several years ago. She’s a lawyer by training, having worked as an assistant district attorney for the district attorneys of San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Her journey to the television studio stemmed from her co-prosecution of a sensational second-degree murder case — one that involved a dog-mauling death and an imprisoned Aryan Brotherhood member. The case garnered international attention — which landed her television offers, as reporters and producers who covered the case thought she would be good on television as a legal analyst, Guilfoyle said. She came to New York in 2004 to host a program on Court TV and she also served as a legal analyst on CNN and ABC.

“It was a transition [and] I thought, ‘a door has opened,’” she said of her career change. “Let me seize the opportunity, be courageous and move to New York City.”

Of course, it helped that Guilfoyle had previous experience in front of the camera — she worked as a model during her college days at UC Davis and, later, the University of San Francisco School of Law. Her repertoire included modeling for local department stores and in a bridal magazine wearing lingerie from Victoria’s Secret. “I learned confidence and how to act in front of a camera,” she said.

Guilfoyle signed on with Fox in 2006, which she said was an exciting move. She went from covering legal topics to focusing on general news — politics, business, entertainment — though she still does regular legal analysis.

Not one to shy away from hard work, Guilfoyle took on an additional role at Fox by joining the panel on “Outnumbered” this past spring. She also has a book coming out next year called “Making the Case: How to Be Your Own Best Advocate,” in which she shares advice on getting hired, getting a promotion and managing personal finances, among other topics.

Though her roots are distinctly Californian, her embrace of such a demanding schedule makes her a New Yorker through and through. “It feels like New York City has always been in my blood,” said Guilfoyle, who’s bounced around since arriving in Manhattan, living in the Meatpacking District, Midtown, then to the Upper East Side — and even owning a home in the Hamptons. “It’s my pace, speed and level I operate on. When I came to New York, I felt at home.”

She has both owned and rented in the city, and she now has her sights set on owning again — this time on the Upper West Side. The aim is to buy a prewar home, which would have similar features to the one she lives in now: high ceilings, moldings and most important, a wood-burning fireplace, which brings back memories of lighting fires with her father.

“It feels so rich with history,” she says of the prewar aesthetic. “You can just feel the years that have come and passed before you.”

Plus, there are perks to being a parent here. “You can throw a stone and get a playdate — there are kids everywhere!” she said.