Take A Tour Of The $5 Million NYC Townhouse Once Owned By James Beard

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Chef James Beard of the James Beard award-winning food fame is known for living in the James Beard House on 167 West 12th Street, but many didn't realize he resided in a historic row house on 119 West 10th Street prior to moving to the better-known house and school in the early 1970s. Unfortunately abandoned, this historic 3-story home with a basement is now up for sale again at $4,950,000 as a fixer-upper in the desirable Greenwich Village neighborhood.

Described by Compass real estate as being built in 1849 for Mr. Samuel Smith by a Mr. Aaron Patchin, the listing also says the home was built in 1899 — either way, we know this property is historic. It was designed in a time when storefronts occupied the street level, and the kitchen, living, and bedroom areas were on the upper floors. The realtors excerpt a description from Beard's posting, when he listed the property in 1974, describing the 3-story brownstone delightful small townhouse with a full cellar, handsome walled garden, six rooms, and three baths. Beard's listing also mentioned the house was also centrally air-conditioned and had gas heat, heavy-duty wiring, and brass plumbing.

James Beard cooked early meals in this New York home

According to the New York Post, James Beard was already famous when he lived in this 10th Street location, having published the 1959 edition of "The James Beard Cookbook" and even working with Julia Child in 1961. As cited in an additional New York Post article, Beard's residence at this property occurred from 1959 to 1973 — those were highly important years in the famed chef's work. Additionally, this location was in an era significant to the growth of LGBT culture in the U.S., says John Birdsall, author of the biography "The Man Who Ate Too Much: The Life of James Beard." He shares that for upscale gay men in New York City at the time, private cocktail gatherings and apartment parties were their prime points of contact. Of these gatherings, Beard's home and catering were in high demand.

Sized at 2,268 square feet, Compass lists the home as having the four total levels with a small exterior garden near the back door. The listing also says this location was prominent for shopping, including intricate housewares, cultured antiques, and upscale children's wear. The exterior fits the classic brownstone image of the area with white-paned windows and a red brick exterior.

A townhouse blending historic and modern

Buyers who tour this home will surely find throwbacks to the historic nature of this house. Listed by Compass as a two-bed, three-bath property, one need look no further than this green and red throwback bathroom, which seems to meld the Gilded Age with the Summer of Love. Tiles in shades best described as creamy mint are bordered by chrome fixtures and an aqua base tile border. The white subway tile shower clearly needs to be redone but still looks younger than the bold red, green, and gold wallpaper atop that rises to the ceiling. Typically of dyes and pigments of their era, this bathroom is a collage of the history of this home.

For the New York Post, listing agent Jean Manon said: "This jewel of a townhouse overlooking the Jefferson Market Gardens comes with historical significance in an impeccable location." For sale for the first time in 50 years, the historic residence gives you the feeling of stepping back in time to sense the entertainment grandeur of those times when James Beard prepared his food and spent time with his friends.

A property with opportunity in an amazing neighborhood

Other home areas offer a more modern image, such as the first- and second-floor living areas, which have been updated with simple neutral paints and carpet per Compass listing photos. Yet still, hallways and the kitchen will take you back almost like time travel with bold patterned wallpaper and colors. Plentiful shelving and solid wood detailing mark the time period of this build, but unfortunately, neither the original kitchen nor Beard's entertainment area seem to have survived the ages.

Listing agents share their delight at this unique property, concluding that the property will be sold vacant for $4,950,000. Although the interior décor reflects a past era, an owner who will make the home their own will treasure it tremendously. Beard's legacy will live on, and hopefully, the new owners of this home will embrace it too. Celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern describes meeting the cooking icon to Food & Wine, saying that he visited Jim Beard's house for lunch, and it has stuck with him since. This house sticks with anyone who sees it as well.