Photo: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images; Realtor.com
This remarkable Tennessee home appears to have been ripped from the pages of a storybook, which is not inappropriate when you consider its lineage. It was owned by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Leon Russell, the musician who penned a number of classic hits, including "A Song for You," "Tight Rope," and "This Masquerade."
He lived in the Hermitage, TN, home, described as "magical" by all who see it, for five years, before he passed away in 2016 at the age of 74. The home is being sold by Russell’s widow, Jan, for $999,900.
"I still get a feeling of peace whenever I drive up," says listing agent Diane Wilhoit. "It has such creative energy, you draw from its feeling and its really cool vibe."
Wilhoit recalls that the Russells felt that energy the second they drove up. The home was built in 1992 by the prolific Nashville composer Dennis Linde, noted for composing Elvis Presley’s smash hit "Burning Love" and other award-winning hits. Linde passed away in 2006, and in 2011, his wife decided it should be the next home of Leon Russell, so she invited him over. The rest is a slice of music history.
The home makes an immediate impression, with its English countryside cottage exterior, complete with cobblestones, diamond-paned windows, and gabled roof, which gives the appearance of being thatched.
Leon Russell’s storybook home
English country style near Nashville
The Russells paid $900,000 for the 6,120-square-foot Tudor with four bedrooms, four full bathrooms, and two half-baths. Russell then proceeded to make it his own, knowing it was the ideal location for a musician.
He built a full recording studio (which is intact, sans equipment) and an accompanying jungle lounge. Since the home sits on 8.34 acres of wooded land, which left plenty of room for parking, no small consideration for a touring musician. According to Wilhoit, the property was able to accommodate a tour bus and had plenty of space for roadies to leave their cars while on the road.
Leon Russell’s home recording studio
The home is 25 to 30 minutes from downtown Nashville, but only 15 minutes from the airport, depending on traffic.
He also transformed the elevator into an enormous rock and roll tribute, lining the walls with portraits of other musical greats.
Wilhoit adds that the home is full of inspiration. "There’s such a feeling of peace here, but also of whimsy," she notes. "Leon and Jan used to sit out on the terrace overlooking the koi pond for hours, just talking, listing to the waterfall, enjoying life."
Terrace overlooking the koi pond
The library features a turret housing an intriguing illuminated globe. The globe will remain with the house, because it complements the beautiful decoupage map of the world on the ceiling overhead.
An illuminated globe comes with the house, with a map of the world overhead.
The extensive wood paneling throughout the home has been recently refinished. It’s especially dramatic in the two-story entry hall, which includes a gallery.
Two-story entry hall with gallery.
Other unique features of the home include stained glass, pointed arch windows, and three elegant fireplaces, one of which can serve as an indoor grill, next to the kitchen area.
Pointed arch windows
Master bedroom fireplace
Kitchen area fireplace
Close-up of kitchen fireplace
At the current price, a buyer stands to score an amazing deal on this one-of-a-kind charmer. Wilhoit says the home is priced $50,000 below appraisal.
She explains that Jan lived in the home for several years after Leon passed away, but eventually realized she didn’t need all the space and moved down to Florida.
Since she’s decided to part with it, it’s been on the market a few times in the past year, for as much as $1,437,000. It even went into contract with a musician during that time, but the deal fell through.
Wilhoit says that Jan is ready to let the place go and move on, and has priced it accordingly. "It’s just waiting for the next special person who will come in and fall in love with it," she added.
Russell, a native of Oklahoma, wrote and recorded songs for decades, spanning almost every genre of music. He earned six gold records, two Grammys, and was inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
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