Gwyneth Paltrow’s Montecito neighbors think her planned McMansion is gauche

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One of the funniest things, to me, about Gwyneth Paltrow’s elitism and slavish devotion to her one-percenter brand is that Gwyneth is widely seen as a gauche new-money peasant by those true blue-blood aristocrats. Like, the people who are actually really rich and powerful and old-money don’t really give a crap about Gwyneth and her Goop. Here’s a perfect example: Gwyneth wants to build a huge, gauche mansion in Montecito, one of the wealthiest zip codes in America and home (or second-homed) to many old-money, seriously wealthy and elite people. Gwyneth bought two lots of land and she’s submitted her architectural plans several times to the Montecito Board of Architectural Review. They’ve made Gwyneth’s architect change the plans several times already because, oh right, Gwyneth is gauche and new-money and the house she wants sounds like a McMansion monstrosity which will destroy the neighborhood. So, before Gwyneth even starts building on the land, her neighbors already hate her.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s 14,000-square-foot plans to build a new home on two lots she bought last year in Montecito got a tentative green light from the Montecito Board of Architectural Review despite intense opposition from a neighbor who complained the new structure would block his views. It was the fourth time Paltrow’s Tollis Avenue proposal had gone before the board, and it won’t be the last.

Initially, the board appeared unanimously poised to send the design back to the drawing board for further modification, but after Paltrow’s architect Tony Spann ​— ​former chair of the Montecito Board of Architectural Review ​— ​spoke, three of the five boardmembers changed their minds. Spann argued vigorously that the elevations had already been reduced substantially. The designs ​— ​a two-story home with 12,000-square-feet of living space plus 2,100-square-feet of carport, gazebo, and guest house ​— ​secured conceptual approval last week, but the real detailed plans have yet to be submitted.

Opposing the project is neighbor Michael MacElhenny, son of the late Bernie MacElhenny, one of Santa Barbara’s more legendary and controversial developers. MacElhenny’s agents argued that the roofline of Paltrow’s 22-foot high structure will occlude his views, and they are pushing for further reductions.

[From the Santa Barbara Independent]

Michael MacElhenny’s spokesman Andrew Rice also went to Page Six (which is hysterical to me, that her neighbors are talking sh-t about her to Page Six) and said: “She’s created an uproar with neighbors on all three sides. Michael and the other neighbors have tried to work with her, and they’ve gotten nowhere.” The neighbors say the home is just “too big, too tall and incompatible with the adjacent houses, and it blocks their views.” Rice also points out that Gwyneth has left a “trail of tears” on two continents with her selfish architectural demands, like how she erected an enormous nine-foot-tall gate on her Brentwood property. I remember there were a lot of issues with her London home too. Anyway, Rice says that Gwyneth’s architect is lying about all of the changes that he’s made to the plans that the house will still be a huge f–king eyesore. How gauche. How déclassé.

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45 Responses to “Gwyneth Paltrow’s Montecito neighbors think her planned McMansion is gauche”

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  1. CTgirl says:

    Gwyneth and Goop are gauche so it stands to reason that her house fits in that category.

  2. grabbyhands says:

    It probably IS gauche. Everything else about her is.

    Cripes. 12,000 feet, Man, my dream is to retire to a tiny home that will be 500 square feet or less.

  3. Louise says:

    honestly just HOW is she this rich? its not from acting roles.

    • detritus says:

      Why by bilking money out of the hundreds of dissaffected and science illiterate moderately wealthy, that’s how.

      I truly hope people capitalize on how gauche she is, peddling snake oil to commoners is gauche for sure, as is her constant self promotion. She stills views herself as the classiest broad who ever did nepotism though, so I’m hoping it stings.

    • Lisa says:

      From what I understand no actors make their money from acting roles anymore (except of course the biggest ones, johnny depp, etc). They all say they get more from instagram and lifestyle sites & commercials now. So I guess her $ is from all the advertising her website does. Plus divorce from rock star husband -its 50/50 in California which she smartly moved to from England when they were on the rocks.

      • Algernon says:

        Endorsements sweeten the pot for sure, but the actors who make more on Instagram are the ones who don’t have impressive careers to begin with. I love Busy Phillips, but her career isn’t that hot, so of course she’s making more from Insta ads.

        I just can’t believe people actually think actors don’t make money acting, they make *so* much, it’s just more hidden than it used to be because so much more of it comes from back end bonuses. Used to be, you got paid up front, and only the very tippy top of actors got back end money. Now, everyone gets something off the back end, and those deals can pay out for years. An actor might take a cut to be in a prestigious film and hopefully get some awards for it (like Jonah Hill and Wolf Of Wall Street), but if they’re in a commercial film, they’re making plenty of money.

    • Algernon says:

      She was a highly paid actress back when actors *could* make a lot of money acting, she also was at the forefront of the celebrities-taking-over-fashion movement so she made a bunch of endorsement money, too, and now she makes money off goop (I bet the cookbooks are especially lucrative). Her father also made a fortune, so she’s probably inherited some as well, and as Lisa points out, she got a healthy divorce settlement from a rockstar. She’s not old money and she’s not a billionaire, but she’s undoubtedly very wealthy.

    • Originaltessa says:

      I always just assumed most of this money was Chris Martin’s. And she’s made some Marvel money too. Otherwise, no idea.

      • lucy2 says:

        I think you’re right, a lot of this has to be divorce money. He and his band are hugely commercially successful.

    • tracking says:

      Also her dad must have been very wealthy, and probably left her a nice trust fund.

    • Bananapanda says:

      She inherited some money from Dad – he was creator/producer of the White Shadow and St. Elsewhere. I think they both made it to syndication. Blythe is mainline Philadelphia but Gwyneth is too new agey.

  4. Esmom says:

    Good for the review board for being sticklers. So far, anyway. I wish our town would be more discriminating with their approvals. We have charming old homes on spacious lots being torn down and replaced with the most awful monstrosities that cover almost every inch of their property. So out of sync with the surroundings but the homeowners don’t seem to care about being good neighbors. A critic coined this type of stuff “architectural pollution.” I couldn’t say it better myself.

    Wow, between this and the Prince Harry phone story, I’m quite the curmudgeon today.

    • Liberty says:

      Architectural narcissism.

      • Alisha says:

        My in-laws had this happen to them. Someone bought all the lots behind them and erected several huge 3 story monstrosities (different HOA’s so they could do nothing about it). It blocked everyone’s view on their street. Their neighbor has been trying to sell and pulled their house because the value went down so much from not having a view anymore. Instead of mountains they now see their neighbor’s bathrooms.

    • Ms. Blake says:

      I live in Portland, OR and this is happening at an alarming rate in my neighborhood. Some of the houses needed to be torn down, like the 1920s kit houses that are basically falling apart, but these houses and as well as the salvageable ones are being replaced by over sized houses (WAY too big for the lots) that are selling for $700,00-$800,000 which is quite a bit above the average house value in our neighborhood. It’s so frustrating.

      • Sara says:

        I used to live in Florida and this has been happening in a lot of the more urban areas. They rip down a good quality, smaller home and put up a monstrosity that takes up the entire lot and must cost a fortune to cool because it’s both cheaply made and there are no trees left. In the old dredge and fill waterfront developments (with canals) most of the small houses are gone, and although there is water on both sides of the street, if you take a walk you can barely see it because the houses are looming overhead.

        In general real estate prices are pretty shocking, anywhere there’s a good quality of life. Not sure how people can actually afford it, much less manage a huge house on top of work and family life.

  5. Birdix says:

    In many places in CA, views aren’t protected. So one of the tactics to get a neighbor not to build up is to mount a pr campaign against them/the project in the hopes it’ll bring them to the table to negotiate a smaller home. This person clearly doesn’t realize he’s dealing with “any publicity is good publicity” Goop.

    • lucy2 says:

      They aren’t protected here either. Neighbors can complain if something is exceeding a zoning law, but that’s about it.

      • bunny ears says:

        actually not true. one of the ways an org or people can slow development or block it (which is pretty darn expensive) is through CEQA, California Environmental Quality Act. if people invoke this statute then environmental studies have to be done on how new buildings will affect shade/sunlight ratios on the streets, bird habitats, etc. it’s a HUGE amount of money to do these studies and a lot of people end up being deterred from building/or they have to compromise their plans if this occurs.

  6. ash says:

    i just brought a house last winter and its under 1100 sq ft. Just enough for me.

    • WTW says:

      My house is 1093 sq. ft. and is fine for my husband, dog and me. We do have a lot of outdoor space as well. It was built in 1924 and actually used to be even smaller.

      • ash says:

        your is like 13 sq ft more than mine and house was built 1941 completely reno-d tho…so cool i also have a doggie

        I thought to myself i could have atleast a husband and maybe 1 kid in this house lololol

  7. Liberty says:

    Maybe it includes a private 8000 sq foot Tracy Anderson workout space/shrine.

  8. Word says:

    Tacky woman

  9. Alix says:

    12,000 square feet of living space for a woman and her two kids. Gauche ain’t the half of it.

  10. Barbara says:

    Um, her neighbors aren’t that classy if they’re eager to share this with the NY Post.

  11. homeslice says:

    Plus how often will she even be in Montecito?? What a cow.

  12. velourazure says:

    No sympathy for Gywneth because I can’t stand her, but I have to laugh at all her rich neighbors with their panties in a twist. I am absolutely sure that when they built THEIR monstrosities they blocked out somebody else’s views. Everything always comes down to NIMBYism.

  13. annaloo. says:

    Nothing like rich rich people arguing over views. Especially in this day and age!

  14. CK3 says:

    I can’t stand GOOP, but I’m kind of team GOOP on this. 1) I too want to have my dream house built some day so I can empathize a bit there. 2) If you are super rich and don’t want the plot next to you “obstructing your views”, buy the dang plot. Now I’d have to see designs to judge whether it is a gaudy nightmare as they say, but frankly, people have different tastes and if your not paying for it and it’s not too destructive, I’m not sure you should have that much of a say in the design of someone’s house.

    • lucy2 says:

      That’s the way it goes here too. “if you want an unobstructed ocean view, you’d better buy the oceanfront.”

      As an architect myself, I think people should be able to have the style of house they want (conforming to zoning codes of course) even if I don’t personally like it. I’ve had to draw a lot of stuff I don’t care for, but it’s not my house. The only time I think style should be approved by committee is in a historic district, or anywhere like that which has a clear set of guidelines and required approval is known at the time of purchasing property or starting a project.

      • Algernon says:

        That’s the deal with Montecito, though. They want it to keep looking like an Italian hillside. The area became famous for the Italian migrants who settled there and built vineyards and farms, which in turn attracted wealthy Americans who wanted to summer in estates modeled to look like those vineyards and farms. I think they’ve had a mixed result (there are plenty of big ugly faux-Mediterrenean houses), but their building rules are about mainting the “authentic” look and feel of old Montecito.

    • Algernon says:

      Montecito has strict building and zoning rules to preserve an historic environment. If you want to go buckwild and build without restriction, a place like Montecito isn’t for you. There are plenty of other areas where you don’t need approval to build. If you can afford to build your dreamhouse, build your dreamhouse! Just don’t expect to build it in a place known for strict architectural standards.

      • AnneC says:

        Montecito and its citizens fought for 17 years about remodeling Miramar hotel in Montecito which has precious beachfront property. The old hotel ended up being torn down completely and they finally broke ground last winter. It’s a really hard place to remodel or build. I live on the hillside next to Montecito near the SB mission and I practically moved into the permit office to get approval for a 90 sq ft hallway we were building. It may take her years to build that mcMansion. It’s a tough town!

  15. Algernon says:

    Montecito is the most hilarious place. Look up “Montecito water war” for a good lunchtime read.

  16. Tallia says:

    I also find the Andrew Rice comment of “trail of tears” to be gauche and déclassé.
    The whole argument ? #firstworldproblems

  17. HK9 says:

    Hmmm, let’s see, people with equally high levels of pretension arguing over their mansions?? If I lived in that neighbourhood I’d have my chef start the popcorn and I’d pull up a chair to watch that sh-t go down. The levels of pettiness will be unprecedented.

  18. Wren says:

    It is a petty argiement, but She is gauche. How did she get that much money for 3 McMansions?

  19. BeachGirl says:

    I believe the total sq footage will be 14,000, and the house will be located in the lower hillside area on Tollis rd. I agree it’s sounds like a monstrosity. They recently sold a townhouse in NY for around 10mil and I believe Goop has joined forces with Vogue? or something so she’s got money to burn. Ellen D. has a house on the market for 14mil and Natalie P just bought one in the same area. This is what HW does; they come to SB, buy something, sink $ into it and flip it 4-5 yrs later and move on.

  20. Egla says:

    I don’t know about that place but my family (as in a lot of cousins together) owns a piece of land in the middle of the city. It is a very good place to build something for business, not for a quiet, family house as we would like. Well we tried to get permission to build something with the help of some investors, but one of the neighbors was also part of the building comity of our city and because he wanted that land for himself to build an extension to his house (which he couldn’t do because he would have to buy the land from us and it’s very very expensive,so he was just being mean) he blocked our project. We didn’t pursue that as many cousins lost interest and after a while the city council decided to invest there to turn that lot in a public space for business and started paving it. We heard about that and sent our lawyer. It turned out that the new guys in the council there THOUGHT that it was a state owned land and had approved millions to be spent there.
    Till now several people risk prison for that and are attempting to reposes the land from us but it’s to late as the project was approved while the land was privately owned. The investigator even checked us if we were in some way involved with that scam. Thank GOD we are so poor and transparent that the guy investigating told my father: Let my buy you a beer as I see I bothered you for nothing. LOL.
    Unless you have big money to back up something like this, going in construction is a big enterprise I think. It seems she may wait years to have her dream home and I would hate that. I’d rather buy an already ready house to enjoy while I can.

  21. Shannon says:

    LOLOL rich people are so funny! I live in a 750-sq-ft 2 bedroom with a kitchen the size of my thumb and I have a balcony and a view of a funeral home and a church LOL pretty damn gauche, but I prefer “bohemian.” If she’s pissing people off that much, I wonder why she doesn’t just find another place to build? *shrug*

  22. SM says:

    Who is taking healthy living advic from Goop anyway? Her skin feels dry and not well aged, her make-up usually looks crap and her hair feels damaged. Not so sure this what I want to see in a person who advocates wellness and health. She would not have her brand if it wasn’t for her fame