Joanne Kaufman at the New York Times offers an interesting and amusing piece on author Nelson DeMille’s dream house.
What would a celebrity profile be without some rich biographical detail? So here’s a little something to get the ball rolling: Nelson DeMille’s father, Huron, was a contractor.
Chew on it. Ponder it as you learn that despite the father’s occupation, the son — the best-selling author of thrillers like “Plum Island,” “Night Fall” and “Wild Fire” — didn’t think twice about writing a very large check for a house in the exclusive Hill section of Garden City, N.Y., a house whose foundation he had never probed, whose wiring he had never investigated and whose plumbing was a mystery. Truth to tell, he had only ever seen the place at night, as a guest of the owners.
“It looked great when I was there for parties,” said Mr. DeMille, 73, whose new novel, “The Cuban Affair,” will be published next month by Simon & Schuster. Then there was the provenance: The shingle-style manse had been built in the early 1920s by a business partner of Howard Hughes.
After the deal closed, in 1998, Mr. DeMille began strolling around his new acquisition, promptly realized the place was a wreck and called in a group of contractors, who, he recalled, “scratched their heads.” One of those head-scratchers was Mr. DeMille’s very own brother, who didn’t mince words: “Tear it down,” his brother said, channeling the movie “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.” Well, O.K.
Admirably, the wry Mr. DeMille took the whole thing in stride. “Maybe I always knew in the back of my mind that I was buying a building lot for a lot of money,” he said. “People always say, ‘Location, location, location,’ and houses on the Hill don’t come up for sale very often.
“I’d always fantasized about big houses,” Mr. DeMille continued. “I like to be able to wander around them. There are things you can do in a big house that you can’t do in a smaller house, like have the whole family over. I think that’s one of the reasons I wrote ‘Gold Coast,’” he said, referring to his 1990 novel set amid the lavish mansions of Long Island’s North Shore. “But even when I became a best seller, I lived in modest places. Now I had the chance to build my own house.”
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:
You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine interview with Nelson DeMille via the below link: