Real Estate Envy: 11 Historic Homes With Timeless Style

Real estate expert Alex Brunkhorst gives us the lowdown on the finest historic homes on the market around the country.

Not every home that's old is beautiful, but a beautiful old home beats shiny and new modern architecture every time in our book. This is true even more so if the house in question has a celebrated history -- how could you not want to live in the estate that inspired The Great Gatsby or where Charles de Gaulle stayed during his visits to the States? Here to give us the scoop on the greatest historic homes on the market in the country is Alex Brunkorst, LA-based real estate agent and founder of Bungalux. The longevity of these wonderful homes is no coincidence . . .
1 1. Historic Howard Van Doren Shaw Location: Lake Forest, Illinois Price: $16,500,000 Listing Type: Single Family Beds/Baths: 7/7.3 Year Built: 1920 Bragging Rights: The home is in part considered F. Scott Fitzgerald's inspiration to write The Great Gatsby. It is believed that Daisy Buchanan is based off Ginevra King, a rich debutante who once lived in the house. Amazing Amenity: A library suitable for Jay Gatsby himself. Professional Opinion: When I was asked to write about historical houses, this was the first one that came to mind. Ginevra King was considered F. Scott Fitzgerald's first love and muse, and Fitzgerald was enamored with Lake Forest, using it as a general inspiration for the strong sense of "place" in his writing. Another bit of trivia: Ginevra's father once told Fitzgerald, "Poor boys shouldn't think of marrying rich girls." Ah, some things don't change.
2 5.22.18 PM 2. Myron Hunt Design Location: Ojai, California Price: $3,985,000 Listing Type: Single family Beds/Baths: 4/4 Year Built: 1906 Bragging Rights: Designed by Myron Hunt, whose other works include the Rose Bowl and Huntington Library. Amazing Amenity: Mature oak trees hide a detached studio. Professional Opinion: Oh, I love this Myron Hunt-designed country house. Who needs Malibu when you can have a horse ranch that looks like this an hour away from Los Angeles?
3 5.22.18 PM 3. Sprawling Gated Estate Location: Encino, California Price: $5,495,000 Listing Type: Single Family Beds/Baths: 5/6 Year Built: 1935 Bragging Rights: Tennis, pool, and a guest house. Amazing Amenity: A charming potting shed amongst romantic gardens. Professional Opinion: This is one of my favorite houses on the market in Los Angeles right now. Sometimes it's tough to find beautiful old historic estates in "The Valley," which is why this one is just so special.
4 5.22.18 PM 4. John Storer Residence Location: Los Angeles, California Price: $6,900,000 Listing Type: Single Family Beds/Baths: 4/3 Year Built: 1923 Bragging Rights: One of Frank Lloyd Wright's four California houses, built for John Storer. The only house to have four different patterns imprinted on its concrete blocks. Amazing Amenity: The whole house. Professional Opinion: There have been quite a few FLWs that have come on the market in recent years, and this one is really incredible. You can't do a story on historical homes without mentioning the master.
5 5.22.18 PM 5. The Charles Ogden Mansion Location: New York, New York Price: $51,000,000 Listing Type: Townhouse Beds/Baths: contact for details Year Built: 1910 Bragging Rights: The mansion is situated on the only block on all of Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side that does not have an 18-story apartment building. The New York Times once declared the block the choicest plot of land for elegant single-family dwellings in New York City. Amazing Amenity: Elevator access to the 7 floors, which encompass 16,000 square feet. Professional Opinion: We have a really good in-depth look at this one on Bungalux, but it has provenance all over the place. For historical real estate seekers, check out this block when you're in Manhattan: This single block has three mansions by Stanford White, three by CPH Gilbert and one by Warren and Wetmore.
6 5.22.18 PM 6. The William Mead Estate Location: Los Angeles, California Price: $5,695,000 Listing Type: Single Family Beds/Baths: 6/7 Year Built: 1917 Bragging Rights: Los Feliz's original developer William Mead selected the two-acre site with city and ocean views for his own four-structure compound. Amazing Amenity: Those views. Wow. Professional Opinion: This bad boy could use a little work, but I promise you when you're done you'll have one of the most dazzling historical homes in all of Los Angeles. Who needs a celebrity estate when you've got one by the guy who created all of Los Feliz?
7 7. Pacific Heights Mansion Location: San Francisco, California Price: $30,000,000 Listing Type: Single Family Beds/Baths: 7/7 Year Built: 1894 Bragging Rights: With previous well-known French owners, the home was visited by President Charles de Gaulle during the 1945 United Nations Conference. Amazing Amenity: A dipping pool turned koi pond in the glass solarium. Professional Opinion: This one was owned by one of San Francisco's very famous families: Paul Verdier and his sister, Countess Suzanne de Tessan. A bit of trivia: The Verdier family owned the department store where Neiman Marcus now is and they commissioned that beautiful rotunda which still stands in Neiman's today.
8 5.22.18 PM 8. Oceanfront Georgian Estate Location: Palm Beach, Florida Price: $32,000,000 Listing Type: Single Family Beds/Baths: 6/9.2 Year Built: 1935 Bragging Rights: Originally designed by society architect John Volk in 1935, the estate has received the Ballinger Award for the finest restoration of a landmark property. Amazing Amenity: The kitchen's morning room boasts Atlantic Ocean views. Professional Opinion: John Volk was one of the seminal early-century architects, and this one is an absolute beauty.
9 9. New Hampshire Countryside Location: North Haverhill, New Hampshire Price: $795,000 Listing Type: Single Family Beds/Baths: 4/2 Year Built: 1792 Bragging Rights: Inside the home are nine original Rufus Porter murals, painted in the mid 1800's. Amazing Amenity: 250 acres of sweeping meadows. Professional Opinion: History doesn't have to be expensive. Look at those murals. Oh my!
10 10. The Gump House Location: Johnson City, Tennessee Price: $695,000 Listing Type: Single Family Beds/Baths: 6/3.3 Year Built: 1820 Bragging Rights: The home still has unique historical features. The side porch is set high off the driveway, which was for the convenience of horse-and-carriage passengers. Amazing Amenity: 100-year-old radiators still heat the house, though today they are carefully and cleverly hidden. Professional Opinion: This one has great historical provenance, but it was really the beautiful symmetrical architecture that initially caught my eye.
11 11. Dupont Townhouse Location: Washington, DC Price: $2,480,000 Listing Type: Townhouse Beds/Baths: 2/2.2 Year Built: 1923 Bragging Rights: Modern living in a historical townhouse with a central location. Amazing Amenity: The sunroom leads to a quaint garden through French doors. Professional Opinion: Washington, DC has some of the best historical homes anywhere. This Dupont townhouse is gorgeous.
Photographs: Courtesy of Bungalux
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