News Segment


January 11, 2007

BEVERLY HILLS — Paul Stanley likes to rock. But these days, this founding member of ’70s supergroup Kiss is also content to roll with the family at home.

When he’s not touring in support of his new solo disc, Live to Win, he’s at his Tuscan-style villa with wife Erin, their 4-month-old son, Colin, and 12-year-old Evan, his son from his first marriage.

“We enjoy entertaining, but we don’t go out, we don’t go to clubs,” says Stanley, 54. “There’s no Viper Room. For us, it’s the diaper room.”

“We’re homebodies,” says Erin, 34. “Paul has very traditional values. That may surprise people, but it’s what I was most taken with when I met him.”

The 9,000-square-foot home, built for Stanley in 1996, is perched high in the hills. The Italian-inspired design, with outdoor fountains and a column-lined loggia that looks west toward the Pacific, was dictated by the landscape. “We have all these mountains and unobstructed views to the ocean,” he says. “It looks so much like Europe that you’d be fighting what’s natural in the terrain to build something else.”

The old-world feeling permeates the interior as well, with its arched doorways and vaulted ceilings. Hand-painted frescoes abound, including one in the dining room depicting celestial gods and goddesses amid the clouds. Stanley calls it a “conglomeration of many of the works of Tiepolo,” an 18th-century Italian decorative painter.

What the couple wanted was “a casual, worn elegance,” he says. “There’s something comfortable about being in a place that has a soul.”

To make the spacious rooms feel cozier, they emphasized comfort over formality, combining dark carved woods with soft, inviting fabrics. “There’s nothing worse than being in a house where you’re afraid to sit or put your drink down,” says Erin, an attorney taking time off to be a full-time mom.

For the expansive family room, they chose sofas upholstered in sumptuous crimson velvet and clustered them together for conversation. “We’ve had 25 people in this room waiting for dinner,” Stanley says. “Everybody can find their own little place to hang out.”

A retractable screen descends from the ceiling for viewing parties. The room is decked with photos of family and Stanley with other celebrities, including Paul McCartney. When asked if the two are friends, Stanley looks vaguely astonished. “No! He’s Paul McCartney, for crying out loud. He’s the guy I saw up on stage and said, ‘I want to be like him.’ ” He laughs. “Except with high heels and makeup.”

There’s an abstract painting by Stanley, who was an art student before he became a musician. He returned to painting about six years ago and now shows and sells his work in galleries. Abstracts “appeal more to the visceral and the emotional without having to intellectualize so much. It can be very cathartic. You can find parts of yourself you’re not quite in touch with by going to the canvas.”

He also poured his creativity into designing some of the handcrafted furnishings, including the ornately carved bed in the master bedroom with a 10-foot-tall headboard. “I wanted a bed for royalty. But none showed up, so we got to keep it.”

With the arrival of their own little prince, Stanley’s art studio has been bumped to the 2,000-square-foot guest house. His old space is now a bright nursery for Colin, outfitted with a round crib and Disney characters on the walls. Although the cheery yellow and blue palette may seem a contrast to Stanley’s guitar-smashing persona, he just laughs. “C’mon, it’s a baby’s room, we want it to be happy!”

In fact, the only evidence of Kiss is in Evan’s bedroom, which has all manner of band paraphernalia, from Kiss posters to bobbleheads. (“He says he wants to be a musician. I’d like to take credit, but he’s already playing Hendrix,” Stanley says. “I could never have dreamed of doing that when I was his age.”)

Stanley is still friendly with the rest of the band, including Gene Simmons, who lives minutes away. He says Kiss will tour again. “We’re all members of this great club. It’s got a life of its own.”

One prized possession in the music room reminds Stanley of his beginnings. It’s a Tiffany lamp he bought in 1978 after his first taste of success. “I had just bought my first apartment in New York. I literally had no furniture, but I had that lamp, and I thought I was the luckiest guy in the world.”

Stanley says he still feels lucky, with his growing family and an upcoming international solo tour that will take him, plus wife and baby, to Japan and Australia.

He points to the phrase “Fedelta, Compassione, Integrita,” painted in Italian above an arched doorway leading to the family room.

“Be faithful, have compassion and have integrity,” he translates. “Good words to live by.”

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