Monday, April 21, 2014

Your Mama Hears...

...from the kindly Rosetta Stone that word on the real estate street in affluent Watch Hill, Rhode Island, is that Taylor Swift may have caught a classic case of The Celebrity Real Estate Fickle and might be looking to quietly unload High Watch, the hulking 1930s ocean front mansion she purchased about a year ago for $17,750,000. (It's just rumor and gossip, children, rumor and gossip.)

Since she acquired the historic and exceedingly visible estate, once the summer residence of Standard Oil heiress Rebekah Harkness, the vindictive song penning crossover pop-country superstar has dumped a fair amount of dough on upgrades and improvements. No doubt she beefed up the security systems and she made much scrutinized and publicized repairs to the Hurricane Sandy damaged sea wall at the bottom of the steep bluff atop which the 11,000 square foot multi-story Colonial residence proudly perches.

Listing details (and other reports) from the time of Miss Swift's purchase show the 16-room Colonial-style pile sits on 5.23 hedged and gated acres with 8 bedrooms and 10.5 bathrooms. Inside there are several reception rooms (living room, parlor, library), an octagonal dining room with built-in china cabinetry, a 45-foot long sun porch, and an updated eat in kitchen. Many rooms on the main and upper levels open to various verandas, balconies and expansive terraces with sweeping views from Block Island to Montauk Point. Set on a plateau below the house there's an ocean view swimming pool with an adjacent, flat-roofed pool house/fitness center.

For a gal of her age—she's 23 or 24 or something like that—Miss Swift maintains an impressive portfolio of private residences. She owns eccentrically decorated 4,000+ square foot duplex penthouse in downtown Nashville she picked up in August 2009 for $1.99 million and she—or possibly her parents—shelled out $2.5 million in June 2011 for a semi-pastoral multi-acre spread with a large Greek Revival sprawler in the leafy Belle Meade area south of downtown Nashville. In Los Angeles she owns a  a micro-compound tucked deep into a quiet canyon in Beverly Hills—acquired in April 2011 for $3.55 million—and she's the much rumored buyer of an 8,000+ square foot duplex penthouse in lower Manhattan that writer/director/producer Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchises) sold last month (May, 2014) for $19.95 million.

listing photo: Seaboard Properties


Anonymous said...

This home is so beautiful. I would love to live by water like this, but it is always scary when you consider natural disasters. Ten and a half bathrooms seems a little bit much to me. I don't think that I could live here but it is beautiful.

Eliza Lawrence |

Anonymous said...

This stretch of RI beach is experiencing a replay of Malibu's Broad Beach problem. It's a combination of the sea level rising and storms washing out the beach. So unfortunate. Talk of bringing in sand costs millions and nobody's putting much faith in it. Another NJ beach did it in the 1980s. It washed out in three months. Bummer.

Contrary to popular opinion, she's in total compliance on the break wall work. The surfers don't like it.

Anonymous said...

I have been spending time in Watch Hill my entire life, and my mother and grandmother before me. It's a fabulous town, and this house likely has some of the best views on the entire East Coast. That said, it has always, during my lifetime, been a bit on the shabby side, and I hope the work she's putting into it will bring it back to some glory. As far as natural disasters go, this house is on one of the highest bluffs on the east coast, far beyond any wave or flooding damage (though wind is another issue, it's easier to protect against).

Having said all that, I never understood this purchase. Watch Hill is a pretty closed, discreet, old money community, and also is mostly families and retirees. Not sure why a young entertainer would be interested in living there. Nor why she'd want a huge mansion. Her presence has been pretty disruptive to the community, as well. The house is situated at the entrance to the public beach, and her security detail has been obtrusive. The seawall has always been a hangout spot for people, but she has disrupted that. Her house is literally hundreds of feet and a steep hike up the sea wall from the bottom where people hang out, so it really presents no security risk to her.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 12:25 -- I'm not sure what erosion you're referring to on East Beach in Watch Hill. Misquamicut suffered a lot from Sandy, but I have been to East Beach numerous times since the hurricane and haven't noticed any significant difference, though perhaps that's due to remediation efforts. In any event, the fact that the coastline is constantly changing is something those of us who live on it must always remember. Watch Hill is a great example: An entire summer community was lost to the '38 Hurricane. An area that was once densely packed with summer homes was completely washed out to sea, and is now a state park.

Anonymous said...

11:30 Okay, so get it. The good wave sets come in on her side of the point. Pragmatically, that little stretch hasn't been much of a beach for a long while and remains an liability. Mother nature can be violent. She's not the only one with a rocky shore either. Will the surfers do a bake sale when her bluff falls into stormy seas? I didn't think so.

But on the emotional side, I'd be the biggest whiner out there if that gurl invaded my neighborhood, so I do feel your pain.