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Elizabeth's Homes

Heathwood, 8 Wildwood Road, Hampstead (February 27, 1932-April 1939)
Heathwood is the Hampstead (North London) home where Elizabeth was born in 1932. Located on 8 Wildwood Road, the three story, 5082 square foot red brick Georgian style home designed by Matthew Dawson was built in 1926. Inside, the home has six bedrooms, three bathrooms, a living room, a sitting room, a large kitchen/breakfast room, and even servant’s accommodations. The home was previously owned by the esteemed painter Augustus John, whose paintings remained on the walls when the Taylors moved in. A few years later, Augustus John’s success in America would be in large part due to Francis Taylor, who sold his paintings exclusively in the United States.

Outside the home features lush gardens, described by Elizabeth’s mother, Sara Taylor as having “tulips almost three feet high, forget-me-nots, yellow and lavender violas, flaming snapdragons, rich red wallflowers, and a formal rose garden that terraced down to [the] heath”. The seven acre Turners Wood Bird Sanctuary was accessible through the Taylor’s garden, and if that wasn’t enough, the backyard also sported a tennis court.

In 2008, Heathwood was put up for sale for the first time in almost thirty years for £6.5 million pounds—and sold quickly.


Little Swallows
Little Swallows was the Taylors weekend and summer country home; a sixteenth-century gamekeeper’s lodge located on family friend Colonel Victor Cazalet’s country estate, Great Swifts, near Cranbrook, Kent. The home was named Little Swallows after the family of swallows that lived outside Elizabeth’s bedroom window, but previously it was known locally as the “haunted house” as immortalized by Jeffrey Farnol in his novel, The Broad Highway.

The home was described as a place where birds perpetually sang. “It was so beautiful,” Elizabeth once wrote, “like a little house out of a Walt Disney film nestled against a lovely woods that was almost like a bird sanctuary.” It was pure heaven for the budding animal lover. “There were hundreds of acres to roam over and a farm of sorts. My brother and I made pets of all the animals—pet rabbits, pet turtles, pet lambs, pet goats, pet chickens. It was my idea of real bliss.” On the weekends Elizabeth would ride her pony, Betty, a gift from her godfather Victor Cazalet.

The Taylors made the lodge more habitable for a modern family, adding electricity and a bathroom (created in the old dairy), which, according to biographer Alan Levy, “had water pumped from fifty miles away.” The spacious home boasted fourteen rooms of beautiful proportions, each featuring beautiful leaded casement windows and warmed by a fireplace. The rooms were furnished with antiques found at auction (including a twenty person captain’s table), and each bedroom contained a brass bed. The coal cellar was made into a pub, a wood paneled room christened the ‘Ye Olde Rat Hole’ where visitors, relaxing on discarded beer kegs, could order their drink of choice. Elizabeth and her brother Howard added their own touch to the home’s decor, painting the letters of the alphabet on the Wedgwood blue painted floor in the bathroom.

Elizabeth’s father, Francis, also turned his attention outside, where he created a lush, herbaceous English country garden. Elm, linden, fruit trees and a new lawn were planted, and a stone fireplace was transformed into a barbecue, perfect for summer meals.


Pacific Palisades (December 1939-Autumn 1941)
In 1940, the Taylors rented a bungalow for a short time in Pacific Palisades.


703 North Elm Drive, Beverly Hills (Autumn 1941-1950)
After Francis Taylor relocated his uncle’s art gallery to the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Taylors moved into a home at nearby 703 North Elm Drive. Biographer Alexander Walker described it as “A low building in the Spanish style, with pink stucco walls and red roof tiles, it had a huge round-arched window facing the road and a dusty front ‘yard’ with an olive tree in it.” Elizabeth would call North Elm Drive home for a decade, until her marriage to Nicky Hilton.


Hotel Bel-Air (1950)
Elizabeth and her new husband Nicky Hilton resided for a short time in a five-room suite at the Hotel Bel-Air where Nicky was the vice president and manager. The stay was supposed to be short lived as the pair had plans to build their own home, but the marriage quickly turned sour, and the couple separated.


 

1060 Wilshire Boulevard, Westwood (February 1951-July 1954)
After Elizabeth and her first husband Nicky Hilton separated, Elizabeth relocated to an apartment on Wilshire Boulevard in the Westwood area of Los Angeles with her secretary, Peggy Rutledge. The apartment, which was in a five-story, pink stucco building, consisted of five rooms which included two bedrooms. Elizabeth’s downstairs neighbour was her Little Women costar, Janet Leigh, and her then husband Tony Curtis. Elizabeth lived at the apartment for a little while during her marriage to Michael Wilding, but the newlyweds were forced to look for a larger home when Elizabeth found out she was pregnant with son Michael Jr.


Bruton Street, London
Elizabeth lived for a short while at Michael Wilding’s London home before moving permanently to Los Angeles.


1771 Summitridge Drive, Beverly Hills (Summer 1952-July 1954)
When expectant parents Elizabeth and Michael Wilding began searching for a family home, Elizabeth fell in love with 1771 Summitridge Drive and its beautiful, lush garden. Elizabeth immediately made plans for the inside of the $75,000 home: “We will have the outside painted yellow, with white shutters, the living room will be in grey with periwinkle blue—my favourite colour.” $40,000 was the amount Elizabeth anticipated shelling out to decorate the home’s interior, which had three bedrooms and a spectacular view over the city.

 


1375 Beverly Estate Drive, Beverly Hills (July 1954-?)
Noticing a for sale sign at 1375 Beverly Estate Drive, Elizabeth and Michael Wilding hopped over the wall to get a better look at the property. Realizing that the sliding glass door was unlocked, the couple crept inside and began exploring the home. Elizabeth quickly fell in love. What she didn’t know was that the home, which was made of glass and adobe, was designed by architect George MacLean with her in mind. In her book, An Informal Memoir, Elizabeth describes the unique interior: “One whole wall was built of bark with fern and orchids growing up the bark, and the bar was made of stone. And the fireplace had no chimney. There was a device making the smoke go down under the building and out through the barbecue pit.” Elizabeth also recalled that “You really couldn’t distinguish between the outside and inside. And all the colors I loved—off white, white, natural woods, stone, beigy marble. The pool was so beautiful. There were palm trees and rock formations—it looked like a natural pool, with trees growing out of it. It was the most beautiful house I’ve ever seen.” The state of the art home also featured an intercom, automated doors, light dimmers, automated curtains, and a movie screen. The architect later became godfather to Elizabeth’s son, Christopher.

After Elizabeth put the home on the market, Ingrid Berman toured the home as a potential buyer.


715 Park Avenue, Manhattan
Elizabeth and Mike Todd lived for a short while in a chic apartment at 715 Park Avenue in Manhattan.


Westport, Connecticut
After the Todds gave up their Park Avenue apartment, they leased a home in Westport, Connecticut. The Todds chose the home in part because it was near Harkness Pavilion where Elizabeth was due to give birth to baby Liza Todd. Other Westport residents at the time included Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.


1330 Schuyler Drive, Beverly Hills (September 1957-1958)
Elizabeth and Mike Todd had planned to live in this white stucco, Mediterranean style home only for a short time, before looking for a more lavish home. Unfortunately, after the death of Mike Todd, all of Elizabeth’s plans for the future were put on hold. She vacated the home on Schuyler Drive because it brought back too many painful memories.


Copa de Oro Road, Bel-Air (September 1958-?)
After the death of Mike Todd, Elizabeth lived in a home on Copa de Oro Road in Bel-Air.


Chalet Ariel, Gstaad, Switzerland (1960s-present)
Elizabeth and then husband Eddie Fisher purchased Chalet Ariel for $280,000 in the early 1960s. The home was originally built for an oil tycoon from Texas, and his ballerina wife, but the two divorced during construction—work on the unfinished house grinding to a halt. At the time the Fishers purchased the chalet, Gstaad was quickly becoming a favourite hot spot for the rich and famous. Over the years, residents would include Henry Ford II, the Aga Khan, the former King Umberto of Italy, Blake Edwards and Julie Andrews, Peter Sellers and Lynne Frederick, Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood, and Roger Moore. Since Elizabeth purchased Chalet Ariel (which she still owns to this day), the home has become a mainstay in a very busy and hectic life, and has been the hub of many holidays and family gatherings.


Casa Kimberley (1960s-1990)
Originally leasing Casa Kimberley (named after a former inhabitant), a white stucco villa in the Gringo Gulch area of Puerto Vallarta, the Burtons were so taken by the property that they eventually purchased it for $40,000. Once a small fishing village, Puerto Vallarta became a world-class destination after Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton made it their home.

Although the spacious home already had seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms, the Burtons built another villa across the alley and joined the two by a bridge inspired by Venice’s Bridge of Sighs. The newer house, used primarily by Burton, has a deck on the roof which provides a magnificent view over all Puerto Vallarta.

Elizabeth’s main four floor villa had a tiled roof, patios, and six bedrooms. According to biographer Alexander Walker, “Shutters allowed the air to circulate, Caribbean-style, through every room in the building.” The Burtons touch is apparent everywhere. The bar, designed by Richard, has images of several of the Catholic Saints. In Elizabeth’s penthouse, Burton had a heart-shaped bathtub commissioned just for her. Outside the property is shaded with fragrant banana and papaya plants, lemon trees and coconut palms. Throughout the property one can see spectacular views over Puerto Vallarta’s Banderas Bay, Old Town, and the River Cuale.

Elizabeth owned Casa Kimberly until 1990, when she sold it, leaving behind the home’s original furnishings, art, and her other personal property. Today the home is run as a bed and breakfast, but you can also stop by for a tour. Click here for more information.


Kalizma (May 1967-?)
After renting the 279-ton, 147-foot former steamboat called the Odysseia, the Burtons bought it for $192,000. The Burtons renamed it the Kalizma, after their daughters: Kate Burton, Liza Todd, and Maria Burton. Updated by the designer Barbosa, the yacht, finished in Edwardian mahogany and chrome, had seven cabins and two staterooms which could house a total of fourteen guests, including the five man crew. Inside, the yacht was brimming with beautiful objet d’art, including expensive paintings by Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, and Vlaminck; a bust of Churchill by Epstein in the salon, Burton’s books, as well as fine Chippendale furniture and English tapestries. Said Burton of their new floating home, “I can’t as ‘twere stop touching it and staring at it, as if it were a beautiful baby or a puppy-dog. Something you can’t believe is your very own.”

Nearly every week the yacht was docked at some fabulous foreign port along the Mediterranean, and filled with such VIP guests as Rex Harrison, Rachel Roberts, and Tennessee Williams. Each night a cold buffet of salmon, caviar and chicken was laid out for their guests, where, over dinner, the Burtons could tell the tale of a previous owner who would play Bach on the organ during storms at sea.

Elizabeth later sold the Kalizma for $6 million dollars.


John Warner’s homes
After falling in love with politician John Warner, Elizabeth moved into his 2,700-acre Virginia cattle farm in Middleburg, Virginia, called Atoka Farm. The picturesque stone home sits about a mile from the front gates. Outdoors there is a pool, two tennis courts, and horse stable.

Elizabeth also lived in Warner’s Georgetown, Washington townhouse.


Los Angeles (1981-present)
In 1981, Elizabeth, who was house hunting, purchased her current home on the spot: a two-story brick and shingle California ranch-style house dotting a hillside in a lush enclave of Los Angeles. The sale of the home, originally owned by Nancy Sinatra Sr., included all the furnishings.

The home is furnished with eighteenth century English antiques, expensive French Aubusson carpets, and one of the world’s foremost Impressionist art collections hanging on crisp white walls. The beautifully appointed living room contains Elizabeth’s magnificent collection of amethyst crystals, bronze horses sculpted by daughter Liza Todd, treasured photographs, a gilded birdcage, and an aquarium which is home to an array of tropical fish. Flowers and plants scent the rooms, which includes several guest rooms, a library, and a screening room. Elizabeth’s quarters, with soaring cathedral ceilings, encompasses the entire second story of the home. The bedroom proper (painted in Elizabeth’s signature violet) has a view over the swimming pool below, which is surrounded by lush potted plants.

Outside, a lush tropical garden (which can be seen from the living room) was designed by Elizabeth and her former husband Larry Fortensky, with white and purple flowers, done at a reported cost of $200,000. Another garden, called the jungle, is a home to many unusual birds and insects, and contains palm fronds, birds-of-paradise, and bamboo. Elizabeth has said, “My garden is my private world, filled with beauty and romance. It’s a source of inspiration for many of my fragrances.” It is also a place of reflection and serenity. “I can look out on the lovely garden, where one tree in particular inspires me if I am down. It has an exotic, magical quality, like the woods that come alive in The Wizard of Oz.”

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