Monday, July 28, 2008

Sam and Jessica Still Selling Stillwater Estate

SELLERS: Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard
LOCATION: 4th Street. N., Stillwater, MN
PRICE: $1,950,000
SIZE: 5,500 square feet (approx.), 5 bedrooms, 3 full, 1 half and 1 quarter bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Historic estate on lush 2.5 acres in heart of Stillwater. 1892 Victorian w/ breathtaking St. Croix River Valley view. Spectacular home & landscape featured in Architectural Digest. Artistically inspired gardens, remarkable renovation & preservation.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Thanks to Sheila Shedsomelight way up in the lake filled hinterlands of Minnesota, Your Mama has learned that two-time Academy Award winning actress Jessica Lange and her Pulitzer Prize winning playwright/actor huzband Sam Shepard have listed their home in Stillwater, MN for sale with an asking price of $1,950,000.

It is certainly no secret among the real estate gossips of the world that the much lauded and applauded pair made a home and raised a couple of childrens in Stillwater, a teeny tiny town north and east of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

However, it seems that sometime back in 2004 (or sometime around 2004) the couple decided to bee-line it out of Stillwater at least in part because Miz Lange grew disenchanted with the increasing boojification of the area. In an interview with the New York Daily News in February of 2008, the tough talking ladee was quoted as saying, "When we first moved to Stillwater, it still felt like a real place...Now it's all gift shps and these terrible condominiums. It was a little town with a great deal of character. Everything gets yuppified, I guess." We don't know nuthin' from nuthin children, but we imagine the Stillwaterians were none too pleased to hear their famous (and former) neighbors speaking shit like that to the press. None the less, Your Mama can understand Miz Lange's psychic plight against the homogenization of America. Recently that ubiquitous Starbucks popped up in our little weekend getaway town and we were not exactly thrilled about that bit of new bizness either, partick because there are already two other successful and locally owned coffee shops already on the main drag. Ack!

Sorry children, Your Mama digresses. The current asking price of the Lange/Shepard estate is $1,950,000, a far cry from what the not into the Hollywood hoopla couple wanted back in 2004 when recent reports reveal they first put the 2.5 acre estate on the market with an asking price of $3,300,000. A year later, the asking price was karate chopped to $2,600,000 and the main house and the guest house were being offered for sale as separate parcels as well.

Records and reports say that the couple picked up their 1892 Victorian on 4th Street N. in 1994 for just $415,000. Listing information for the 5 bedroom house indicates that is measures in at (approx.) 5,500 square feet and includes three fireplaces inside and landscaped grounds overlooking the St. Croix River Valley outside. Other rooms in the house include living and dining room, a library, an eat in kitchen with butcher block counter tops, a family room a fa-boo screened porch on the second floor.

The couple clearly spent big bucks restoring the original woodwork and updating the old gurl to include modern amenities such as air conditioning. In addition to the main house, the property includes a not so nice in the winter detached garage and a guest house that sits adjacent to the heated swimming pool. The tiered gardens also feature a small fruit orchard, ponds, woods and rolling lawns.

Some of Your Mama's nearest and dearest hunker down in Minneapolis and while we like visiting that neck of the woods to walk through The Walker and eat at The Modern Cafe, we could never actually live in a place that becomes an ice sheet several months of the year. However, despite the kinda creepy mosaic statue in the garden, we do think this is a lovely house that will make a nice home for some well to do Minnesotan with children who enjoy ice hockey, sledding down the backyard lawn and other winter activities.

Yes children, we too notice that the interior spaces could use a bit of a work over by a nice gay decorator capable of functioning in sub-zero temperatures, but there's really nothing wrong here besides it looking a mite generic. This bland, blah and lifeless pallor may in fact be due to the fact that the Lange/Shepard do not, according to reports, live here anymore.

In fact, most reports indicate that the couple decamped to New York City were records reveal the couple forked over $3,400,000 in April of 2005 to purchase a 9th floor two unit combination apartment on lower Fifth Avenue. The full service building sits conveniently near enough to Washington Square Park that the couple–should they be so inclined–could easily score a dime bag on their way to the corner deli.

Recent reports reveal that the couple has not cut all ties to Minnesota and property records do indeed indicate the Lange/Shepards still own a good sized spread up near Lake Superior in a town called Holyoke, not so far from the towns of Duluth and Cloquet, where Miz Lange was raised.

33 comments:

StPaulSnowman said...

What's not to like? Well, the guest house is a little severe compared to the gentle old main house. It will most likely become a B&B for weekenders visiting the little shops that drove them away. Mama.......winters can be magical.....you should give it a try....and visit the Art Institute if you get the chance.

Anonymous said...

Really nice house and property, but hold on a minute, let me get this straight. The Shepard's, most notably Jessica, wanted a small, pristine, quiet town to raise their kids, got upset because gift shops and condos popped up, so they upped and moved to not so small, not so pristine, and not so quiet NYC of all places??? Their business, but it makes no sense to me.

StPaulSnowman said...

How can you split off the guest house as a separate parcel? Wouldn't the pool have to go with it. This doesn't make sense to me. The guest house looks more like a pool house.

Alessandra said...

This appears to be a comfortable, well-loved and gracious home. What's not to like, aside from the latitude for those of us who get chilled at 65 degrees?

sandpiper said...

Hi Snowman! I've gotta believe parcel splitting simply a creative way to further lower the asking price. I don't believe for a minute that the buyer of the main house and guest house will not be one in the same.

Great place, btw.

StPaulSnowman said...

Sandpiper; Thanks. I should have known better than to take this sort of real estate manipulation at face value. What you have explained makes perfect sense. It seems as though our very cold, but very beautiful, winters compound the general housing market woes and I will be surprised if this lovely home sells any time soon. The value of your sublime climate is more resistant to the crunch than the value of the houses themselves. Glad I won't be selling my house any time soon!

Jimmy said...

I've spent time in Minneapolis in Winter: when it gets up to zero degrees you walk around with your coat open.

Forget A/C -- surely you jest: I hope they triple paned all those windows and put in a blast furnace for heat.

Bigdaddyj said...

Love the third floor bedroom, creative use of what was probably previously a stuffy, dark and inaccesible attic into a nice, lofty, contemporary-feeling retreat in an otherwise traditional home...

Bigdaddyj said...

Take a gander at N 4th St in Stillwater, MN using the "birds-eye view" on Microsoft Live maps and you can see why the pool/pool house are being offered separately, they are VERY far away from the main house, actually appear more to front N 2nd st than N 4th st...Someone could very easily sell off that parcel and still have room for a new pool and pool house in the backyard of the main house's parcel...check it out & you'll see what I mean...

Anonymous said...

Mama,
I love that you can name places in my town! Just reading the name of the Modern Cafe written by you has made my day. I live in Nordeast only four blocks from there and love, love, love it! Next time you're in town, give me a buzz ;)

Virginny Girl said...

I love everything about it other than the fact that it's in Minnesota. Move it to the South and I'd be in heaven!

StPaulSnowman said...

I couldn't agree more. It is terrible here, mosquitoes the size of ravens, too many Scandanavians, ice cold winters........don't anyone move here, please go to Virginia. It is warm and beautiful there and they have the ocean.

fairfield girl said...

I like it!!!!!

bentley said...

Any house with a fireplace in the foyer and a screened in second floor porch is entirely livable in my book.

Absolutely love it.

Virginny Girl said...

If you're going to move to Virginia, please move to NoVa. Thank you!

lil' gay boy said...

Lovely home, if a tad bland; the lot is odd, what with the pool/guest house almost directly behind the house next door.

Don't know much about Midwest winters, but I too get chilled at 65 degrees; reminds me of Diane Ford discussing her Scandinavian ancestors moving to Minnesota:

"…they came to this country, facing all sorts of hardships; crossing mountains, rivers, fields and streams…just to find the one place that was just as fucking miserable as the one they left."

;-)

StPaulSnowman said...

LGB.......you would love Minnesota winters. I am seeing you in one of those 1920's raccoon skin coats perusing the Walker sculpture garden. And unlike NYC, you probably wouldn't have red paint thrown on you.....it would be frozen by the time they got the lid off! Ever see a Calder ice sculpture?

GooChick said...

I've seen this house and it is beautiful, but just to clear up some points...

The Lange/Shepard household raised and schooled their kids in MN, once the youngest graduated high school, the family hightailed it to NYC.

Yes, the winters are harsh, folks, and it's not for the faint at heart but right now it's a sweltering 90 degrees and icy lakes and snow forts are far from our minds!

GooChick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pch said...

The triangular windows in that gable are killing me, as is the clunky marriage of railing and gable above what looks like a jerry-rigged mishmash of enclosed porches.

I do like the view past the corner fireplace, though.

Anonymous said...

GOOCHICK? If I had a name like that I would change it or limit my activity to XXX websites. I mean really!

StPaulSnowman said...

I think that a " Jerry-rig mishmash of porches" and clunky marriages of elements are what give original American Victorian archictecture its charm. Spindles, decorative gingerbread, eyebrow windows and overly ornate porches contribute to the romance of these homes. It isn't claiming to be a Georgian Manor. It is a largely original old midwest house that generations have probably been very fond of. PHC would really hate seeing it all tarted up for Christmas against a canvas of snow. Chaqu'un a son gout (I can't do the accents, sorry)

StPaulSnowman said...

Sorry, sorry.....I goofed, I meant PCH. I always think Pacific Coast Highway when I see your comments but somehow I thought you were in the Pacific Northwest.

pch said...

Hey St Paul. Totally understand what you're saying. There's a difference, though, or at least I think there is, between well-integrated exuberance (say, the splendiferous Carson Mansion) and this house, which seems to me to be defined by haphazard and clumsy afterthoughts. The additions/changes are decidedly modern, both in material and proportion, and I just don't think they're at all sensitive to the architecture. If I were buying this place, they'd be torn down (if entirely new) or returned to their original condition.

But I agree, chacun à son goût. Et voilà.

StPaulSnowman said...

pch..........that's an eyepopper! and very much a California Victorian masterpiece. My personal favorite is Chateau sur Mer in Newport......also exuberant but not so frenetic. I suspect that the Stillwater house, as you suggest and unlike Carson Mansion, has been significantly altered over the years and there are certainly architectural incongruities. I prefer the more formal, and untouched, high Victorian houses we have in St. Paul but this house's "farmishness" fits well in the Stillwater locale. (nice accent placement!)

Mars said...

Excuse my language...

But shit I'll take it!

I'm so in love with that top room.

Anonymous said...

How many buildings are on this property? Looks like they own a barn and out buildings on N 3rd St next to the main house?

Anonymous said...

This is a pretty hourse. Certainly the decor could be more inspired. I could see the pool house as a nice writing studio.

Anonymous said...

"house"

Stillwater hippie said...

Writing studio?....It's a smoke-shack for Sam and Jessie. They were out there smoking all the time. All the neighbors got a kick out of seeing their kids smoking on the other side of the house where the parents couldn't see them.

Chris said...

Money sure goes a long way in small town Minnesota. What would that place sell for on either coast?

Anonymous said...

I wonder why the house wasn't angled to better take advantage of the ocean views. I imagine the rooms in the bottom of the "L" don't see much except the neighbouring properties.

Anonymous said...

I THINK YOUR GPS IS MALFUNCTIONING