While her roommates stared in disbelief, 21-year-old Miranda Kerr furiously scrubbed mold. “This is gross, girls. We need to keep it tidy,” she remembers telling them. At the time, the Australian beauty and self-described clean freak shared a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment in New York City with five other models. “I couldn’t stand to have any mess and wanted my space to be as Zen as possible,” explains Kerr, who tore down her roommates’ posters, gave the walls a fresh coat of paint and placed a bonsai tree in the window.
Seventeen years later, those same tendencies remain. Only now, instead of cramming into a tiny apartment with five other females, Kerr shares far more spacious living quarters with four males: her husband Evan Spiegel, her son Flynn, 10 (with ex-husband, actor Orlando Bloom), and the couple’s sons, Hart, 3, and Myles, 1. The supermodel and founder of skincare brand KORA Organics currently owns houses in Los Angeles, Malibu, Paris, and the Australian countryside.
When California’s stay-at-home order went into effect in March of 2020, her family’s situation wasn’t much different than most. Spiegel, the co-founder and CEO of Snap, Inc., made their Brentwood home his office, and Flynn transitioned from in-person school to distance-learning. Like many working moms, Kerr had her hands full with Myles, who was only five months old at the time, and Hart, who was still in diapers.
“That was the wildest part,” Kerr recalls. “Myles was breastfeeding, Hart was running everywhere—about to fall and hurt himself—and Flynn was like, ‘Mom, help me with the computer!’” Meanwhile, Kerr was cooking, cleaning, and trying to establish some kind of pandemic work-life balance. Fortunately, her mother was visiting from Australia, and was able to help care for the children.
Honestly, when I’m at home—wherever that home is at the time—that is the most relaxed and cozy place to me.
Truth be told, Kerr did not mind staying put. “I am a homebody and always have been, since I was a little girl,” she says. “Given all of my travels, people have asked me, ‘What is your favorite place?’ and I’m like, ‘Honestly, when I’m at home—wherever that home is at the time—that is the most relaxed and cozy place to me.’”
On weekends, Malibu is that place. “When I first visited the house, I fell in love with it instantly,” Kerr says of the four-bedroom cottage she purchased in 2014, before she and Spiegel were married.
“I loved the bones, the high ceilings, and the light that comes through the big windows.” Those windows provide nearly floor-to-ceiling views of the Pacific Ocean, peeking out from behind the treetops on the private, three-acre property.
“I loved climbing trees as a kid, and being amongst the trees, and that’s how I feel in this house,” she explains. “It feels like a treehouse.”
When Flynn was a toddler, she custom-built a small table and chairs for him by cutting their legs way down, not yet knowing she had a future in furniture design. “He and I would sit and have breakfast together, and then, if I was cooking or whatnot, he could be playing or drawing, and I was always there,” Kerr explains.
Kerr saw the potential for how she could improve the home, without eliminating the elements that made it so magical. With the help of Nan Meltzer Design, Kerr re-imagined the kitchen, bathrooms, and primary suite.
She went so far as to knock down the walls surrounding the primary bath so that the tub and shower became part of the bedroom. “I have always wanted a bathtub in my bedroom, and now I have it!” she says, giddily. “Before, when it was just Evan and me, there were so many bath nights,” she says. “Now, I take baths with the babies.”
On the nights she prefers not to join her boys in the clawfoot tub, Kerr sits beside them, on a blush pink pouf she designed for her eponymous line, Miranda Kerr Home. Her elegant furniture collection for Universal Furniture, entitled Love. Joy. Bliss., may surprise people who only know Kerr as a Victoria’s Secret Angel or Vogue cover girl. Sure, she gained international notice at 13 after winning a Dolly magazine modeling competition, but the reality is that she has moonlighted as a designer for years, starting with the product design and packaging for KORA.
“People assume that I just put my name on something, but actually, I am involved in every little detail, and I am very passionate and very specific,” she explains. Take KORA, which Kerr began developing fifteen years ago after discovering that there was no such thing as a certified organic skincare line. She had studied nutrition and health psychology at the Academy of Natural Living after high school, but her interest in the subject intensified when her mother was diagnosed with cancer of the spleen.
A friend gave her mom a book called The Chemical Maze, which outlines the food additives and cosmetic ingredients to avoid. “We were shocked to see how potentially carcinogenic so many ingredients could be that were so readily available on the market,” explains Kerr, who discovered what many people had yet to learn: that simply slapping the word “natural” or “organic” on a label meant nothing at all.
With the help of friends of friends—chemists who were already working with essential oils in an Australian lab—Kerr turned her passion project into a brand. “The skin is the largest organ, and what you put on your skin soaks in, so it’s really important that it be certified organic,” says Kerr, who is considered a pioneer of the clean beauty movement. She launched the company in Australia in 2009, and internationally, ten years later.
Initially, KORA was only available at Sephora, but is now online and in stores in 30 different countries. The oils, cleansers, moisturizers, and scrubs, which she uses on her whole family, have won 22 awards from Allure, Elle, Beauty Insider, and more. Despite her immense success, Kerr says, “It still feels like a start-up because it’s still 95% mine. I didn’t get other people to invest because I didn’t want to dilute the purity or power of the products.”
Kerr’s business acumen and fashion sense have led to other collaborations. She has created a capsule collection for denim brand Mother, jewelry for Swarovski, and tea sets for Royal Albert. “I feel like my travels around the world and my experiences in the industry have influenced me because I have been exposed to so many different textures, fabrics and materials, as well as different cultures and creative people,” she says.
Those influences come together in her Malibu home, which is well-appointed with beds, sofas, tables and chairs from her Love.Joy.Bliss collection. Kerr spent nearly two years designing the furniture, which features materials ranging from lacquer to leather, brass to glass, woodgrain to mother-of- pearl. Her desire for pieces that are both timeless and functional led her to choose a neutral palette with upholstered pieces made in performance-durable fabrics. She also incorporated numerous geometric elements inspired by her love of crystals.
At Kerr’s first brainstorm with Universal about the collection, she walked in with vision boards in hand. “They said they had never worked with someone who came so prepared to an introductory meeting,” Kerr recalls. “And I said, ‘Well, look. That’s who I am. I put my all into everything.’” Kerr was equally straightforward about the fact that she does not bow to market research.
“I’ve never followed any trends. I know what I like, and I work intuitively,” she says. “Everything I have ever created, from jewelry to skincare, has an intention and an uplifting concept behind it,” she says. She attaches words to all of her products for this reason: “The idea is that whoever comes into contact with these objects should feel feel uplifted because words are powerful,” she explains. “If we even glance at love, joy, and bliss on a tag, they can change our vibration and help us get into a more positive state.”
Her commitment to positivity is also evidenced by her Wellness Wednesday videos, which she began posting on Instagram during quarantine. There is a peace to Kerr that is evident on camera, as well as a gorgeous glow. She begins each episode by reading an affirmation and sharing a flower from her garden. Then, she conducts a live chat with a healthy living expert, such as life coach Raia Carey or Medical Medium Anthony William.
Even after the unprecedented year we have had, Kerr can identify the positives of the pandemic. “Evan has not had to travel as much, so we have spent so much more time together as a family,” she says. The majority of that time was spent in the kitchen, which is the center of their home. “That’s how it was when I was growing up as well,” she says.
Kerr fondly remembers her grandmother teaching her how to bake a cake—and letting her lick the bowl. “I have wanted to recreate those memories with my children and was able to in quarantine. We cooked together and baked cupcakes a lot,” she says. “We put music on and danced, played hide and seek and chased each other around the house. It was really nice.” Positively.