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Tour Katharine Hepburn’s Saybrook, Connecticut Beach Home

Are you a Katharine Hepburn fan? I’ve never watched any of her movies but I had to check out her previous home in Old Saybrook, Connecticut when two readers of BNOTP e-mailed to tell me it was on the market. (Thanks Linda and Deb.)

The home is located in the borough of Fenwick at 10 Mohegan Avenue and is currently listed for purchase at Sotheby’s.

Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook Fenwick Connecticut Home For Sale 18

 

This was the original home built on the property in 1913 by Katharine’s parents.  Photo below is from 1938. Looks like a neat house, doesn’t it? I love the complicated roof line with all the peaks and the dormer windows on the sides.

1938 Katharine Hepburn Home

 (Photos above and below are from Yahoo Homes.)

 

This is what happened to the original home! This isn’t a photo of Katharine’s home, but it’s a photo taken by a Westport Connecticut photographer of another home in the area being washed away in the same awful hurricane that washed the Hepburn’s home away.

Fortunately, the Hepburns had left their home for higher ground. Their home was eventually located wedged into a stone bridge near an opening into the Connecticut River. Can you imagine having your entire home just vanish?! This makes me terrified to ever live right on the water. I’m already a chicken about large bodies of water…this picture gives me chills!

Home washed away in Great Hurricane in Connecticut

 

A home was built back on the same location and it’s where Katharine lived her whole life until she passed away at the age of 96.

Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook Fenwick Connecticut Home Before Renovations

 

Over the last few years, the home has seen a complete, multi-million dollar renovation by the current owner. The renovation even included raising the home 5-1/2 feet up to prevent future flooding.

Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook Fenwick Connecticut Home For Sale

 

A view from the road entrance. Interesting how different the windows are in size and location.

Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook Fenwick Connecticut Home For Sale

 

Beautiful entry showing off all the different levels of the home.

Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook Fenwick Connecticut Home For Sale

 

The family room has a wonderful coffered ceiling. That’s a screened-in porch we see just beyond!

Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook Fenwick Connecticut Home For Sale

 

Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook Fenwick Connecticut Home For Sale

 

I love the warm wood of the fireplace in the family room. Notice how they combined it with the painted cabinetry. I don’t know if I’d care for combining stained and painted wood in a room in most homes but I do like it for this beach home. What do you think?

Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook Fenwick Connecticut Home For Sale

 

Update: Found this view of the room on Amazon and you can see how it looked when Katharine Hepburn lived there. You can see the wood around the fireplace.

Katharine Hepburn's Fenwick Connecticut Home Before Renovations

 

 

The dining room…

Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook Fenwick Connecticut Home For Sale

 

This fabulous screened-in porch is off both the dining room and the family room. What a view!!! Notice how the grill has a covered porch over it. I tried to get my builder to add a porch type roof over the deck on my home, the one that houses my grill and he refused.

Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook Fenwick Connecticut Home For Sale

 

Beautiful kitchen with a huge island. Love that sink!

Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook Fenwick Connecticut Home For Sale

 

Don’t you know the views are amazing from up here!

Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook Fenwick Connecticut Home For Sale

 

The bedrooms…

Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook Fenwick Connecticut Home For Sale

 

This one has a window seat to take in the views.

Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook Fenwick Connecticut Home For Sale

 

Wow! I could stand waking up this every morning!

Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook Fenwick Connecticut Home For Sale

 

This is my favorite bedroom. I love the exposed brick and the window seat!

Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook Fenwick Connecticut Home For Sale

 

A great place to read and relax…

Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook Fenwick Connecticut Home For Sale

 

One of the bathrooms…

Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook Fenwick Connecticut Home For Sale

 

I like the pergola design. Pergolas are one of the least expensive ways to add character and beautiful design to a ho-hum back patio or deck.

Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook Fenwick Connecticut Home For Sale

 

In this aerial view, you can see how the home is situated on the land. There’s a pond behind the home where Katharine swam as a child and continued swimming there even as an adult. She called this place “Paradise” and it’s easy to see why.

Are you a big Katharine Hepburn fan? What is your favorite Hepburn movie?

Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook Fenwick Connecticut Home For Sale

 

Photos in the post were found in the listing at Sotheby’s.




Comments

  1. O.K. Susan, I want that house!!! Do we have enough in our communal savings here? :) Fabulous bedroom and views. I also liked the intricate ceiling on the top floor. No wonder she lived her whole life there, I would never want to move.
    As for movies, African Queen was one of my favourites, along with Stage Door with that memorable quote on stage.. “The Calla Lilies are in bloom again!”

  2. Rondell says:

    I agree, the fireplace would only work in that home, no wonder she called it Paradise. The bedrooms are gorgeous and oh, the window seats with those pillows are just right for the room. Thank you for showing me her home.

    My dad was a great drive-in movie person, every weekend I saw wonderful movies from back in the 50’s and 60″s… so I saw many of Miss Hepburn’s movies, they just don’t make them like her any more!

    • I think I saw her interviewed once, a long, long time ago and I remember thinking what a strong woman she was…didn’t need a man to complete her. Wasn’t she one of the first women to wear pants on a regular basis?

  3. Oh my gosh! I’m shocked beyond words, Susan. How can you NOT have ever in your entire life seen a movie starring Katherine Hepburn? lol Not one? Let’s trade: I’ll go back and spend hours re-visiting all of your beautifully blogged hour tours and you can plan on a Katherine Hepburn movie marathon weekend. It’s only fair. :)

    • lol I need to fix that, don’t I? Thanks Kathy. I was just looking at all the movie titles on Wikipedia. I recognize some of the names but don’t recall seeing any of them. Was she in any comedies or romances? That’s the only kind of movies I like…don’t like anything too depressing, sad or scary.

      • You do know Spencer Tracy – well. Not personally know him but you know of him, yes? Some of her funniest movies were with him. And, of course, there’s the Philadelphia Story, starring the amazing KH, Cary Grant, James Stuart and a few other folks. Google “Bringing Up Baby” if you want a light romantic comedy. You are in for SUCH a treat! I might have convinced myself to enjoy my own Katherine Hepburn film fest.

        • I’ve heard his name, but that’s all. I just googled him and don’t recognize him so guess I’ve never seen one of his movies. When I was doing the research for this post, I read that they dated. Sounds like I need to re-up my Netflix subscription and subscribe to the streaming part this weekend! Wonder if any of her movies are on Netflix.

          • Netflix doesn’t have a lot of classic films anymore. Do you have TCM? I am a huge classic movie fan, they’re what I mainly watch and Katharine Hepburn is one of my absolute favorites! She was in a very long term relationship with Spencer Tracy, although he remained married the whole time due to being Catholic. There were some rumors that she was a lesbian and Tracy was more of a companion but I don’t know.

            Like others have mentioned, definitely watch Bringing Up Baby! She’s so funny in it. Love the house BTW!

          • Susan, Spencer Tracy was Katharine’s life long love. He was married though. I think we forget how young you are to remember some of these stars. She made lots of comedy movies too. O.K. now we are all going to test you to see if you watched any! :) :)

      • Jeannie says:

        If you love comedies and romances, you have to watch The Philadelphia Story. There is one other that I love the title of which escapes me right now, but she was in a class by herself no matter the role. What a beautiful place in which to grow up. Stunning!

  4. I have always loved Katherine Hepburn and her movies. What a beautiful home she had. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  5. Patti O'Donnell says:

    I love this house and I love her movies. One favorite is Desk Set. I watch it often. And then of course an all time favorite is “Guess Whoes Coming to Dinner”. I really am a big fan and always enjoy watching her films time after time. But this house is so magical!

  6. I can’t imagine waking up in that bedroom with that view and then having a bad day!

  7. Also recommend Adam’s Rib (comedy)

  8. I am a big fan of Katharine Hepburn, and have been to Old Saybrook, but never saw her home. Thanks for the tour. It is quite impressive and one that I could move into and feel comfortable EXCEPT for that fireplace that, IMHO, needs to be painted white.

    • Pattie, I was wondering if the whole room was stained at some point and maybe during the recent major renovation, they painted it all and left that one stained section to pay homage to how it once looked. What do you think? Just guessing, I have no idea.

  9. Oh my, what a beautiful home!!!! I would never want to leave. I loved the movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” you would like that one because it is so funny. You know the love of her life was Spencer Tracey .
    Have a great weekend.
    Mary

  10. My fave is Philadelphia Story which you would love for the house! She and Spencer Tracy were lovers for nearly a lifetime even though he was married. He would not get a divorce as he and his wife were Catholic. But KH was devoted to him and never married after they became a pair.

  11. WOW…if walls could talk!! I guess I would have to say, “African Queen” since I have a “sliver” from the real deal that was being refurbished…Key Largo. franki

  12. ncbelle says:

    Such a beautiful home! I must say as a former Real Estate agent I think the photo quality could be better. The lighting & definition is poor and the rooms don’t pop as they should. they should have used HDR photos for this listing! They also should have put nighttime views up there.
    Not a big fan of Katherine Hepburn….I prefer Audrey Hepburn (no relation) I find “Kate” overbearing and that voice is annoying to me… sorry fans. But that being said the movie Philadelphia Story is one I would recommend. And also “On Golden Pond” :

    • Wow, would love to have seen nighttime pictures! What a great idea! I liked Audrey, too although I was disappointed with Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I had heard so much about it for so many years and it had been so built up that when I saw it, it was a let down for me.

      • ncbelle says:

        Susan, That does happen sometimes with movies that are built up too much. I still love that movie, as it came out when I was young and carefree, and the song Moon Rover was a huge hit at the time. I think you should watch it again on a rainy day Susan! Enjoy the nuances.

  13. Margo (Margaret) Kuhn says:

    Susan, I was a huge fan of Katherine Hepburn. I loved her movies with Spencer Tracy. They are old classics. I remember one that was so funny as Spencer Tracy was hired to bring in the first computer and Katherine was old fashioned and depended on books to get her facts and she was racing with the computer to get and answer. Then there was the original “Guess who’s coming to dinner”. But this is a very beautiful house and what a view. Thanks for sharing.

  14. The fireplace was great, it highlighted the beautiful woodwork…looks like knotty pine but cannot tell. A tribute to the cabin feel, when so many cabins used to have knotty pine all over the interior. Good for the designer, I’m guessing the room is huge and an all white room sometimes loses the special details that old wood brings. New subject -There are certain groups that would love to claim KH as a lesbian, but wearing pants or trousers as they were called, did not indicate that. Many women wore them in casual settings, but Hollywood like to hype that KH was about the only one. We have pictures of women in our family with pants/trousers/slacks, from so many years ago, but it was for sporting, gardening, housework, casual, etc. My great aunt wore them as did all of her 8 sisters…but they changed into a dress to “run into town”, meaning grocery, picking up ice at the ice-house(now that is an old memory!),hair appt., seeing the public :) Read KH’s autobiography, its interesting and a little sad… people received her as a strong and fiesty woman when in fact, she became that way after a deep and lasting grief which seemed to never leave her. Read the book, I don’t want to spoil it :) Available at your public library and in our city, at most garage sales :) It’s thick, but an easy read.

    • Thanks, Kath…I’ll look for it on Audible…would love to listen to it. I liked her in the one interview I remember seeing and could tell she was a bit feisty. I can be feisty at times, too. We all get a little feisty in later years, ya know? :)

  15. Anne Boykin says:

    Hi Susan, Yes, African Queen is one of her best – but they are all good. Thanks for sharing her lovely home with us.

  16. Courious why your contractor wouldn’t cover your grill area. There still would have been enough air flow looking at the area.

    Katherine Hepburn was a marvelous actress! She did make at least one very scary movie. She co-started with Betty Davis, Mommiy Dearest. Well done, but haunting.

    It’s a shame so many are no longer remembered…Bob Hope, Judy Garland, Humphrey Bogart, on and on. We grew up on all of these.

    • I think you might be thinking of Joan Crawford. She starred with Bette Davis in Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte and that was a scary movie. And Mommy Dearest was about the life of Joan Crawford. I think Kate starred in mostly romantic, “screwball comedies,” as they labeled them in Hollywood.

  17. Hi Susan! Oh, my goodness – Paradise indeed! What a gorgeous home! Oh, to live a life as a privileged one! Now I do enjoy Kate’s films and one of my favorites was ‘Bringing Up Baby”. She was a pretty cute comedian in it. She had the most gorgeous hair, I thought, and that funny quivery voice.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  18. Michele in Il says:

    Love the outside and pergola. Disappointed in the all white interior. Would have like to see more warmth and character .

  19. Rebecca Francis says:

    Katherine Hepburn was my idol all my life. On Golden Pond was one of her best movies with Henry Fonda. It was made in her senior years. I read her book “Considering Kate” and she was very independent. I saw an interview where she talked about wearing scarfs and always wearing her collars turned up because she was self-concious about her neck. My boss knew she was my idol and everytime I wore my hair up he called me “Katherine” ha! She will always be special to me. Thank you for giving us this wonderful tour.

  20. What a beautiful home! And a beautiful location. Thanks for sharing. I love old movies but would have a hard time telling you which ones I have seen or who was in them. I love the paint and brick combo – on the fireplace and on furniture I’ve up-cycled. Thanks for sharing this!

  21. Thanks, Pat! You’re right. I was confused. Happens a lot these days!

  22. Oh Susan!
    Your timing always seems to coincide with what I am doing or thinking! I was just planning to start her book this weekend and here this post is! I loved her so much. Not too long ago they auctioned off some of her personal things in New York. I previewed some of the items and wanted to bid on something, anything that was hers. I never went through with any bidding, but I did get to see some of the prices realized and things went high, as I thought they would. They even had some of her personal letters. My favorite movie was African Queen and On Golden Pond, I could watch that over and over. Loved the house and location that movie was filmed in. Her personal home was so lovely, I would never leave either! All that room just for her! WOW! :)
    Blessings

  23. I loved her and I always make her browny récipe for the last 28 years, as I found it on a Gourmet Magazine. The house is really stunning inside, I don’t blame her for living there 96 years! I like Katherine’s Windows more as it was; not likje the new owners had them done later. Loved this post…tks Susan!
    Hugs,

  24. What a pretty home and what a view! Did you see the big bird in the ceiling on the upper level? Too cool.

  25. Cecilia says:

    Susan,
    I have only seen a movie starring Katherine Hepburn “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”, and I loved it, but I still remember my mother saying: “At least they (KH and Spencer Tracy) can pretend in front of cameras to be married to each other and even to have a daughter together, the poor woman!” At that time I was very young and didn’t understand what she meant, I only wondered how could such a pretty woman be “poor”?! Of course, today I know Katherine was very beautiful indeed, but definitely unhappy, too, due to her love for a married man! I still feel sorry for her… :-(
    Susan, is there an unwritten law that says everything must be kept in white in beach houses?
    White walls + white furniture + white window treatments in every room? Really?
    I love that house’s location, but I would definitely love the house more if there were more colors inside…
    Life has a big and beautiful color palette to offer, why do you have to be monochromatic? ;-)
    ~Hugs to you~
    Cecilia

  26. Susan, I’m shocked that you’ve never seen a Katherine Hepburn movie. You must! You would love her spunk and feisty personality. Thank you for this tour. The home is amazing!
    My favorite Katherine Hepburn movies are African Queen, Bringing Up Baby, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Philadelphia Story, and On Golden Pond. You should treat yourself to a few Katherine Hepburn movies. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. ;-

  27. Ditto to Cecilia’s comment about all that white. It makes me nervous, and I totally missed really seeing the house because I can’t take all that white. To me, it looks like the house is being put away for the season-everything covered up in sheets. I too, like the house better without all the additions. Sorry to be Debbie Downer-
    I remember seeing an interview of Katherine Hepburn and parts of her house were shown, it was traditional and lived in. If I remember correctly Spencer Tracy quietly lived with her in that house and his wife wasn’t too far away. (I may have that wrong). I loved them together in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner with Sidney Poitier. That movie was great, funny and lovely.

  28. Beautiful house, and another vote for The Philadelphia Story and On Golden Pond. Those would be my two recommendations. And Susan, if I’m not mistaken, wasn’t the interview you saw with Barbara Walters? Barbara asked her the question she never lived down, “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?” Katherine replied, an oak tree.

  29. That’s without a doubt one of the prettiest homes I’ve ever seen. What I especially love about it, besides the obvious, is that it isn’t over decorated. It actually looks like something someone would be comfortable living in.

  30. I am in shock that you have never seen her movies. She was one of the greatest actress. Her movies are classic good entertainment. I find it personally offensive that people judge her as a “lesbian” because she was one of the first strong out spoken women of her time who happened to dress comfortable. As a heavy women who lives alone , is also strong and outspoken I have also been labeled as such unfairly by ignorant and stupid people She lived a life of independence and yes she had a long term love of the man she was devoted to. Read the book , its wonderful. She is a woman to be admired and respected as she was a voice for all women.

  31. Love Kate. She was ahead of her time and stood her ground.
    This house however is too white and washed out looking. I don’t care for that at all. Every room seems to be missing something.

  32. Thanks so much for sharing these pics Susan! I have been a lifelong fan of K.H. and have seen all of her movies and read several books about her. One of my favorites is Woman of the Year (the first one she made with Spencer Tracy and where they fell in love), but I love all of the movies she made with him. I also love Bringing up Baby she did with Cary Grant (it’s hilarious!) You must have a K.H. movie marathon – she was one-of-a-kind.

  33. Merri Jo says:

    Wow, what an amazing house, and she was a fabulous actress! I am truly amazed that you’ve never seen her work, & that you don’t know Spencer Tracy!! He was fabulous with Elizabeth Taylor in Father of the Bride & Father’s Little Dividend! I’m 55 & my husband is 57, & we both grew up watching them.
    I think I’ve watched Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner at least 50 times! I love Woman of the Year, Philadelphia Story, & Desk Set! But every few years, on a beautiful summer evening, my hubby & I watch On Golden Pond & laugh & cry & enjoy it tremendously. She’s the only actress that he enjoys as much as I do. (Hubby’s fav is African Queen)

  34. My fav is African Queen, then Bringing up Baby, also Philadelphia Story. She is one of my all time favorites. Such class and elegance, a true independent woman. S.T. thought divorce was wrong, but adultery was okay??? and his wife sat silently by???
    Would love to see the house as it was when Kate lived in it, I’ll bet it was filled with books and collections from around the world. She was also engaged at one time to Howard Hughes.
    Susan, you are much younger than the rest of us it seems…….you had to live in the 60’s to appreciate those movies such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s……..

  35. I love that this, and so many other beautiful homes are in New England. I never knew she had a home in Connecticut before all the buzz. Maybe that is why some of the movie On Golden Pond was filmed on the East coast.

  36. Melissa Blaseck says:

    Beautiful home! Thanks so much for that tour. I love that one bedroom with the brick in it too. I think the point of all the white was of course to notice the view more which works well in this house. I also love how large the property is. You really don’t see that very often anymore. It is so refreshing. I love getting your daily posts. They are so up lifting. Thanks Susan :)

  37. Thanks very much for sharing the beautiful photos of the house now that it’s been re-done! It’s a very small world: my sister-in-law and her husband live in Old Saybrook Connecticut, and we have been there to visit many, many times. It’s a gorgeous New England coastal town. I’ve lost track of how many times we drove by/boated by Katherine Hepburn’s home. She was a recluse for the last 15 or so years of her life. One of our good friends who lives in Old Saybrook happens to be the local UPS delivery man, he’s been at his job for at least 30 years. He made many, many deliveries to Ms. Hepburn’s home. She really liked him because she told him he reminded her of “Spencer” when he was a younger man. :0) Actually, our friend really does resemble Spencer Tracy. Have a great day, Susan.

  38. Susan, If I recall correctly, she was married once. Never heard too much about it, though.
    What I do remember, is, she had an apartment in NYC and EVERY night she ordered Candy, chocolate to be sent to her apartment. At the time, I thought she was so lucky to be able to do that. Yes, I guess she was human after all.
    As for Spender Tracy, he had a son who, I believe was deaf. I always thought he remained married because of their son’s
    problem. Never saw or heard anything his wife, though. Not sure if the church gave annulments back then.
    Thanks for the home views !

  39. Diane Westbrook says:

    Oh, my…you really need to watch a few of her films..she is wonderfull! Spencer Tracey was one of the finest actors that ever worked in the film industry, as well. He was such a natural. One of my favorite films of his was Boys Town…based on a true story. However, you said that you do not like sad..it isn’t all sad. As far as Katherine Hepburn I like her earlier films..from the 30’s..but then I just like black and white films especially musicals. I love, love Sylvia Scarlett, Quality Street, Christopher Strong and Morning Glory. She was one of a kind. She accepted the fact that Spencer would not get a divorce as it would be too difficult for his wife to handle or accept due to her strong catholic faith. Who are we to judge, I guess. But do yourself a favor and watch some of her delightful films!

  40. Adam’s Rib, The Philadelphia Story, Bringing Up Baby and On Golden Pond. My favourite KH movies. I feel jealous of you being able to see them for the first time. I wish I could!
    What a beautiful home. Thank you for posting. It was a real joy to see this. KH is one of my favourite actresses and someone I admire for her life-style.
    Questions: How do people keep white homes so CLEAN?
    I think in every beautiful home article in magazines etc. after the reader has drooled over the beautiful pictures of an immaculate home, there should be a section right at the end which shows us where they keep their vacuum cleaner, kids toys, where the tv is situated and where the wash baskets are. :)

  41. Susan, if you want to see the house pre-whitening get a hold of the Katherine Hepburn book that is on the coffee table in the living room shot (The Private World of Katherine Hepburn). It has a completely different vibe – that of a family home lived in for many years. Shocking that you have never seen any of her films. My favorite movie of all time is The Philadelphia Story. You will love the houses and it’s hard to top Katherine, Cary Grant & Jimmy Stewart. Next watch- Bringing Up Baby, Desk Set, Woman of the Year. The clothes are fabulous.

    • Thanks, Dawna…will have to watch some of her movies! Thanks for the tip on the book, too.

    • Dawna, I looked at the book on Amazon and the preview showed a picture of the family room. You can see the stained wood in the room. I just added that preview picture to the post…check it out! Thanks for telling me about the book. I saw it on the coffee table but didn’t know it had pics of the house. Now I want to order it. :)

  42. Meredith says:

    I am 36 years old and have seen several of her movies, thank you TCM, and have read her biograpgy. Regardless of her all too human shortcomings she was an extremely talented woman with a rich life story. A great resource for all things movie and beyond is imdb.com; you can spend hours learning about actors, movies, television shows etc. Goodness I sound like a commercial but that’s how I know you have 52 of her movies to choose from. I’d start with Little Women she plays Jo.

  43. Jeanne Greene says:

    If I had the money, this would be home I would buy. She is the one woman I admire more than any other. I emulate her in so many ways. Wish I did more. Never saw her home before today but my choices seem to be much as hers. White, white, white everywhere, accented by blue, blue, blue. Simplicity in style of furniture and open arrangements. Uncluttered and airy. My home is very small but uncluttered and airy, white, white, blue, blue and open areas and very large windows throughout. Loved her, love her home. Love every picture she ever made.

    • The “awash in white” came after her death, from a remodel. She had the whole place in browns, and red carpeting originally…

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