Elizabeth Gilbert, author of "Eat, Pray, Love", is once again, walking away from what seems to be a really good thing. In her blockbuster hit of a memoir, she describes leaving a marriage, a house in the country, and a near perfect job. This time, she is leaving her dream house, which she and her husband Jose Nunes, aka Philipe, spent six years making their own.
When you see the inside of the house, you'll know why I had to post about this. It is not easy to create what these two have. Their yellow clapboard Victorian, replete with beautifully ornate architectural elements, has been lovingly transformed into a sanctuary for the tangible relics of their unique journey, which Gilbert chronicled so honestly in her last two books. If creativity was a dude looking for a place to hang his hat, he would be at home here.
In a video advertising the house, Gilbert looks appealingly into the camera and states without candor that she is selling her house and possibly its furnishings if you are interested, "for no particularly rational reason, except that I love moving," and "if you want, you can buy it."
In essence, for $999,000, you can inhabit the artistic world created by Elizabeth Gilbert and the love of her life, Jose.
Pictured above is the attic library, which Gilbert calls the 'skybrary', a fantastical library in the sky seemingly designed for a hobbit. Tucked under the eaves are artful shelves carved to look like vines. Tucked into the shelves are random boxes and drawers. Tucked behind drawers are secret compartments.
Speaking of tucked, there is a child sized antique bed in one corner, and an adult sized napping bed in another corner. Rectangular windows ring the base of the room and a staircase with a glass door operated by a pulley leads to a cupola. How can she part from such a spot?
In the center of the room is a 14' long table made from an acacia tree. Gilbert wrote her new novel, "The Signature of All Things", at this table. Her protagonist, Alma, still inhabits the room.
And this is why she is leaving. Aside from being a lifelong vagabond, Gilbert says that she can't write another book at that desk. I imagine that the voice of her protagonist, Alma, may drown out any new voices wishing to be heard.
Thus, the move.
The home features extensive gardens, including beds of hydrangea, wild flowers, berry shrubs, a gorgeous espaliered apple tree, lilacs, herb gardens, willows, a flagstone patio, and graceful porches. Gilbert, who is the daughter of a Christmas tree farmer, has a green thumb.
From the tin-roofed cupola, one can see the Delaware River and nearby Frenchtown, New Jersey, which is about an hour from New York City.
Watch the video for yourself -- it is a lark. Gilbert bops around opening doors, switching on closet lights, pulling up covers on an unmade bed. The wine gallery in the basement is a must-see. Same with the super swanky steam shower.
Gilbert and her husband plan to move nearer their shop, Two Buttons. They want something smaller, easier to maintain due to their extensive travel schedule. (She is joining Oprah Winfrey on the 'Empowerment' tour.)
I believe that we gain deep contentment from a home that reflects our journey through life, so I feel conflicted about Gilbert's decision. Which is ridiculous. But I am not the only one. Other readers are concerned as well. My perceived stake in Gilbert's life is what happens with authors reveal their innermost selves to readers.
Gilbert, I think, is ready to reclaim her privacy. No more memoirs. She is writing fiction. And she is moving. She is leaving things behind and venturing forth empty-handed and open-hearted. It is her particular modus operandi, and the last time she did so, things worked out really well. Even a hand-carved skybrary can't hold her free spirit.