Maggie Gyllenhaal on Brownstone Living

Maggie Gyllenhaal
Gyllenhaal with Housing Works CEO Charles King. Photo: Getty Images

We were in a house-y mood last night. No wonder! We were in Chelsea at the opening night of Design on a Dime. It's a Real Simple–presented event benefiting Housing Works where you can walk through endless "rooms" done up by interior designers and then buy anything you want out of them at cut rates.

So, when we got to chat with the evening's host, Maggie Gyllenhaal, who recently bought a brownstone in Park Slope, we wanted to talk shelter with her. Did the rooms in her 'stone, where she lives with her toddler, Ramona, and baby daddy, actor Peter Sarsgaard, look as good as the ones at the benefit? "We're still really in the process of — so far, most of the design things that we've chosen are not actually furniture choices as much as tiles and fixtures and that kind of thing," she said, eating a mini-burger. (She'd been shooting a Marie Claire Batman cover all day, and girlfriend was tired and hungry.) "I kind of need to get another movie before I furnish it."

Good Lord, all those rooms and floors must be overwhelming, we said in that faux-concerned tone that people who rent studios and junior 1BRs use to mask their brute, molten envy when talking to the heavily landed. "It was," she admitted, "but it's incredible how quickly you spread out when you have room."

So what does Gyllenhaal think about her fellow Brooklyn celebs, Jennifer Connelly and hubby Paul Bettany, fleeing the borough? "I don't know her" — we found that a little suspect, because we know all about that SlopeCelebs Yahoo group where they all conspire about the best times to hit the food co-op without being spotted — "but everyone's telling me that she's leaving, she's leaving. But she lives in a mansion, like a huge house, and we don't…"

Our eyebrow involuntarily took flight.

"I mean, we live in a brownstone, it's huge, it's big, believe me, I'm grateful for all the space we have. But I think [Connelly] was saying that her house was kind of too much. Our house, like, it doesn't feel like too much."

She then reiterated that she was glad to be out of Manhattan. And then she dropped the bomb, one in a string that may eventually restore Park Slope fully to the unboldfaced, if not the unfinanced: "To be honest, I'm thinking in the next few years of moving even further away." Like … to Gowanus? we asked. "To the country," she said, just before her publicist told us that the house tour was over. —Tim Murphy