Frank Sciame, the current owner of Katharine Hepburn’s house at 10 Mohegan Ave, Old Saybrook, CT 06475, has tried a few tactics to help sell the gorgeous property. Yet it remains on the market at $14.8 million since May 2014.
Sciame bought the house for $6 million in 2004 from the leading lady’s estate. Because it had a reputation for being a “low-lying, vulnerable property” and had been lifted off its foundation in a 1938 hurricane, Sciame invested in raising it five feet in 2005. His efforts resulted in it being safe from water damage from Long Island Sound during Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy.
The founder of Manhattan-based Sciame Construction, Mr. Sciame did a gut renovation on the home. He had all new systems installed and created light-filled rooms in the old structure with oversized windows. The seven original pine-paneled fireplaces were restored and coffered ceilings, built-in cabinets, an AGA stove and Sub Zero refrigerator were added. The house on 3 lots was listed for $28 million in June 2011.
Sciame received approval in 2012 to build a 3,000-square-foot home on one of the adjacent lots and the price was raised to $30 million. Unfortunately, the granite posts he installed to mark the driveway had to be cut back in 2013 per a judge ruling for the Old Saybrook Historic District Commission that they did not fit the neighborhood. Beware of buying property in proclaimed historic districts as they cut down on homeowners’ creative artistic expression freedoms.
Raising the price did not help sell the Hepburn home, so two adjacent lots of the total 3.6 acres were split off. The price was reduced in May 2014 to $14.8 million for the home on 1.47 acres, with Sciame planning to build a 3,000-square-foot home on at least one of the other two neighboring lots.
One important step that Ms. Hepburn took in preserving the home’s value was to designate three adjacent acres as a conservation parcel which will remain open with privacy and unobstructed views forever. Lynde Point Land Trust owns and maintains that land. The $14.8 million lot and 1939 8,368-square-foot Hepburn home have over 200 feet of waterfront overlooking the Long Island Sound plus a pond, private sandy beach and boat dock. The listing says, “In the 1930s and 1940s, Howard Hughes landed his seaplane directly in front of the home.”
View pictures and a video on the listing website by William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty. For comparison shopping in the Fernwick community, those who do not care about the Heburn connection and could live in a 4,281-square-foot house on .77 acres, 29 Pettipaug Avenue is only $4.95 million.