Homes of famous writers
Writers are known much more for their way with words than for their ability to put impressive roofs over their heads. Of course, there are many exceptions, and their names can be found on the bestseller lists.
One notable writer’s home came to the spotlight earlier this year when Truman Capote’s former townhouse, originally listed for $18 million, sold for $12 million to Dan Houser, creator of "Grand Theft Auto."
The 11-bedroom, seven-bath house is the most expensive single-family home ever sold in Brooklyn’s most exclusive neighborhood: Brooklyn Heights, where numerous famous writers have managed to find shelter: W.H. Auden, Thomas Wolfe, Walt Whitman, Carson McCullers and Arthur Miller.
Given that bit of real estate intrigue, it’s high time to investigate the digs of other writers. Using photos from Realtor.com and other sources, here are five homes of famous authors, both living and deceased.
Location: Bangor, Maine
Even if you didn’t know whom it belongs to, it wouldn’t be hard to guess that this 150-year-old Italianate mansion belongs to Bangor’s most famous resident, horror writer Stephen King, and his wife, novelist Tabitha King. It’s also known as the William Arnold House and is said to have been built for $7,000 in 1856.
The Kings have lived here since 1980. A car crashed into the emblematic spider web gates in 2010, nearly destroying them, but after an extensive repair job, they are back looking fresh as wrought iron spider webs can be.
Location: New Orleans
Price: $3 million
Square footage: 7,609
Some of bestselling novelist Rice’s stories are set in New Orleans, and the author herself is a native and long associated with the Crescent City. Her Uptown Victorian, which is currently on the market, certainly looks the part of a house owned by the writer of “Interview with the Vampire” and numerous other gothic tales.
Rice’s former house on First Street in New Orleans, the Brevard House, is said to be haunted, and it inspired the setting for her novel “The Witching Hour.”
Location: Amalfi Coast, Italy
Price: $17.87 million
When Vidal, who died July 31 of this year, could no longer easily navigate La Rondinaia (“Swallow’s Nest”) in his wheelchair, the essayist/novelist put his retreat on Italy’s Amalfi Coast on the market. It sold for nearly $18 million, according to reports, and it is now a luxury rental retreat .
It has 6 acres of gardens including olive trees, chestnut trees and lemon trees, and 20 terraces overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. Guests have included Sting, Bruce Springsteen and Mick Jagger.
Location: San Francisco
Square footage: 14,966
The French Baroque limestone chateau in Pacific Heights known as Spreckels Mansion was built in 1911 for the son of a sugar tycoon and appeared in the 1957 Frank Sinatra film “My Pal Joey” as a nightclub. It is now the home of Steel, the queen of romance novels, and not coincidentally the author of “The House,” a novel about a San Francisco woman restoring a mansion.
Steel also owns a more modest home elsewhere in San Francisco, a single-story house under 3,000 square feet.
Location: Barnard, Vt.
Price: $10,000 in 1928
Lewis’ wife, journalist Dorothy Thompson, was savvy enough to devise a prenup when he proposed. She said yes to his marriage proposal, but only if he would buy her a farm in Vermont. She even stipulated it must have sweeping lawns, orchards and “delicious air.” It worked.
The Nobel Prize-winning novelist, whose works include “Babbitt,” picked up this 1795 farmhouse and 300 acres in 1928 for just $10,000. The couple named it “Twin Farms,” and there they hosted legendary parties attended by politicians and literary guests. It changed hands after their deaths, eventually becoming a bed and breakfast in the 1980s, and it remains a small adults-only resort today.
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