Taylor Swift Spends Big in Rhode Island

BUYER: Taylor Swift
LOCATION: Watch Hill, RI
PRICE: $17,750,000
SIZE: 11,000+ square feet, 8 bedrooms and at least 10.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Just a couple quick months after she flipped a house on Cape Cod—the one next door to her old teen-aged boyfriend Conor Kennedy’s famed family compound—famously real estate fickle country queen Taylor Swift has reportedly dropped $17.75 on an historic, 16-room mansion on 5.23 water front acres in the charming seaside village of Watch Hill, RI. So celebrity gossip juggernaut TMZ breathlessly revealed, the 23 year old singer/songwriter paid for her new and exceptionally expensive real estate toy in cold hard cash. That’s right. children. Beotch just wired the dough, so the story goes.

A little birdie we’ll call Henry Hasthegoods slipped Your Mama some digital marketing materials via covert communique that shows the quintessentially East Coast seaside spread was designed by “an eminent Philadelphia architect” and built in 1930. The house, dubbed High Watch as per listing information, sits high and proud on a prominent rise where it lords over 700 feet of shoreline with uninterrupted views of Fishers Island Sound, Little Narragansett Bay, The Watch Hill Light House and a seven mile stretch of sandy beach. At 65 feet off the beach/water, listing details boldly states High Watch occupies what is “thought to be the highest point of direct waterfront land on the entire eastern seaboard, from Florida to Southern New England.”

Marketing materials show the walled, gated and—no doubt—exuberantly secured ocean front estate was last listed for $24,000,000. A gated drive swoops up to a massive, parking lot-sized motor court in front of the house, a hulking Colonial style pile that measures more than 11,000 square feet spread out over four levels of living space. There are 8 bedrooms, at least 10.5 bathrooms, and a total of 8 fireplaces.

Multiple main floor reception rooms including (but not limited to) a 36-foot long parlor, a 45-foot long paneled sun room and an octagonal dining room with built in china cabinets. The over-sized kitchen has all the modern bells and whistles such as Sub-Zero fridge, warming drawer and wine cooler plus an adjoining sitting/family room with marble fireplace and sweeping views up and down the coastline.

There is, according to listing details, a guest/family bedroom with private bathroom on main floor. Four more guest/family bedrooms on the second floor each have en suite facilities and and expansive master suite is complete with two bathrooms, one for Miss Swift and another for her next boyfriend who may or may not wind up the subject of one of her future Top 40 country-pop songs.

In addition to a spacious sitting room with wet bar, fireplace and access to the widow’s walk/roof terrace the top floor offers two more guest bedrooms, each a whopping 32-feet long and each equipped with attached bathroom, walk-in closet and private, water-side balcony.

The two lower levels include a vast recreation room with direct access to outdoor seaside entertainment areas, a service kitchen, a five car heated garage, a heated workshop and a discreet half bathroom for domestic and landscaping staff.

There are numerous balconies with serene water views, vast seaside terraces, and, set well below the house, a bra-shaped swimming pool (with uneven cup-sizes) and adjacent pool house/fitness room.

Little Miss Swift already owns a mini-compound tucked up into a quiet canyon in Beverly Hills, a bizarrely decorated duplex penthouse in downtown Nashville and, also in Nashville, a substantial mini-mansion in a swank gated enclave bought in mid-2011 for $2.5 million and where—we’ve been told but can’t confirm—her parents live.

Property records reveal the Weston, Mass.-based sellers, James and Marlene Benson, are not famous—he’s an insurance industry honcho who was the former CEO of John Hancock Life Insurance in the early- and mid-Aughts—but they’re clearly quite rich and property records show they picked up the property way back in May 1996 for $3.5 million.

listing photos: Seaboard Properties

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  2. very nice places and really amazing so i hope i can visit them one day

  3. […] Our choice: The Spa Suite, with spectacular Atlantic Ocean views from its private 600 square-foot terrace. Price: $4,730 for two nights. Plus, it’s just 10 seconds as the champagne cork flies to pop superstar Taylor Swift’s $18 million summer estate. […]

  4. Wow, that’s quite an investment! I can’t believe homes on the East coast can go for that much.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful house for a beautiful talented young woman. She entertains friends in the summertime when she has breaks in her busy schedule, breaks that are scheduled in so she can maintain her sanity. This, for the glorious Ms Swift, is essentially a secure mini-hotel for her family, friends and entourage. She’s been known to take her dozen dancers and band members on mini-vacations, and now she can do it in style and security. I imagine there is a quality biz-jet port near by for her to touch and go. The Harkness House legacy name adds another touch of class, as does the Watch Hill Village and Westerly. Good choice! She’s putting a few dollars into it to fix it up and fix up the property’s breakwater, good move. When she decides, in a couple of decades, that she doesn’t need it anymore, her personal cachet will add to the home’s value. Long Long Live Taylor Swift!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Seriously If you read of the donations and time at 23 this young lady has injected into our country.
    Our (GOVER WENT) should check what they do compared to a person at her age. at least she gives back.I hope she flips it or not. Bless her attitude

  7. Anonymous says:

    How ’bout this?
    Here is some advice for all of you pompous asses that think the area is undesirable, or that she overpaid for the property. When you have 17 million to spend on your house, you go buy whichever 17 million dollar house you like. Taylor like this one, so shutup already. Who cares what you think?

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  11. Sammy Smith says:

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  13. Former Westerly resident says:

    All Taylor has to do is walk out of her driveway, turn right and there is a path that goes right down to East Beach. Traveling a half mile to get to the beach is not necessary. I walked that path many, many summers with my grand father and sister to take a quick dip in the ocean. Summer at Watch Hill are some of my favorite childhood memories. When I was 10 I wrote a poem about the Harkness House (circa: 1961) The poem won first place in a poetry contest at State Steet School located in Westerly. I would feel privileged to give that poem to Taylor to proudly display in her new summer residence. Don’t knock Warch Hill until you’ve experienced it. Watch Hill has stood still in time.

  14. stolidog says:

    Watch Hill is lovely. The only practical problem with this house is the lack of access to the beach. Rhode Island’s beaches are famous, any you really just want to stroll out to it, not have to walk a half mile. Nonetheless, pretty town, pretty house (although I agree, cedar shake would fit the area better than the white)

  15. Jess Holmes says:

    I’m 23 and just started browsing some South Carolina real estate. Needless to say, I will never be able to afford a mansion like this in my lifetime! Good for Taylor Swift.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I know this house well. It is indeed spectacularly sited, and may be one of the largest of Watch Hill’s many mansions. That said, it actually looks (or looked, when I last saw it) a bit run-down on the exterior. Personally, I think it needs new siding–the white is great but sticks out in Watch Hill. I think natural cedar shakes would look fantastic.

    For those who don’t know the area, Watch Hill was and remains a very discreet, old-money, relaxed and still blessedly relatively unknown summer spot. I can confirm the poster above me’s comment in that it does have amazing lobster rolls. Watch Hill’s closest analogue is probably Fisher’s Island, NY (not that anyone really knows that place, either), but it has more going on.

  17. Anonymous says:

    This was the Harkness house, but quite a bit of it has been torn down over the years, altering the original structure. In recent years the huge (and wonderful) chimneys were lopped off, making the whole place look less appealling. It is a shame that was allowed, or even considered. The chimneys made the house, and were visible for miles.

    For what it is worth, Watch Hill in the summer time attracts a large numebr of very hot (str8) guys. It also the home of one of the best lobster rolls anywhere. Prices there are very high, with high taxes to boot. Probably not as crazy a price as it sounds considering other local sales… but it does become a ghost town off season

  18. Anonymous says:

    Consumptive much? Pig.

  19. kara says:

    “Even real estate guru Barbara Corcoran recently stated that Taylor overpaid for this house!”

    Barbara was informed of the purchase by the paparazzi and has no details or data of the property when she made the comment. She had no idea Taylor even bought a house.

    Being that her parents are finance managers and her dad works for Merril Lynch I don’t think that she has a problem with how she spends her money.

    She is probably the wisest celeb out there that invests in real estate rather than fancy cars.

    And really? Are people going to make fun of a 23 year old woman for dating? Welcome to America.

    Buying a Ritzy vacation home that is secluded from paparazzis and crazy fans when you’re making over $50 million a year isn’t a crazy thing to do.

    Its crazier hating on a stranger and looking up their every actions just to criticize them.

  20. luke220 says:

    Even real estate guru Barbara Corcoran recently stated that Taylor overpaid for this house!

  21. ramnath city says:

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  23. Anonymous says:

    hahaha @1:40.
    You’re not too bright are you? You don’t know anything about the real estate doings of the wealthy and how they pay for it do you?
    b) I would be absolutely shocked if she paid cash for this, or if she did I’d imagine she will mortgage it, this is what a considerably large portion of the wealthy do. The “common folk” don’t ever seem to comprehend why you would mortgage a home if you can afford it outright.
    —Well here’s why: With mortgage rates near all time record lows it costs next to nothing for a wealthy person to finance a home. And by mortgaging a portion of it, lets say $10 mil of the $17 mil, it can be invested in other places, stocks, bonds, hedge funds, alpaca farms – whatever, and will earn a hire return than if the $10mil simply sat in a home that isn’t going to increase substantially in value anytime soon. This place was on the market FOREVER. Basically this means anyone who wanted to be in Watch Hill and could afford this home, didnt want it. So she’ll have to sit on this for a number of years to make a reasonable profit. That is of course if there’s another Taylor Swift type that will come along and also be willing to overpay on a big white elephant of a house, in a real estate market they know nothing about.

  24. Anonymous says:

    PUBLICITY STUNT…….. I suppose when you sell your soul to the devil, you could be able to purchase a home like this. SMH

  25. Anonymous says:

    BTW fwiw the Queen of Versailles documentary is apparently going to be shown on BRAVO tv channel tonite (Monday april 29)

  26. Anonymous says:

    I agree with you @ :April 28, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    everyone needs to lighten up on Taylor Swift. she is still and adolescent, that is a fact regardless of how much money a person makes at that age.

    i loved Gregory Peck! that he liked hanging out in Watch Hill give me hope this gal is actually going to want to own there for awhile (i’ll admit this location (despite its relative closeness to NYC) seemed like a bad idea for one who is not married with children)

  27. Anonymous says:

    Watch Hill is a place where, if she wishes, she can walk thru town and the locals will not bother her to death. We might smile and nod, but we will respect her. Gregory Peck spent a lot of time here for that reason.
    Would be great, if she would entice Justin Bieber to spend some time at Harkness House! Hey: A really adorable couple!! There is no night life in Watch Hill!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Wonder if she cruised the local high school football practise before making her purchase decision?

  29. Anonymous says:

    9@37. Rumor from no sources have it that she’s buying 11 Bluffs Ave for her new beau, Weird Al Yankovic. She’s short one break up song for upcoming “Prom Night” tour.

  30. Anonymous says:

    10 Bluff Ave, the house next door is for sale. 8500 sq.ft at $10.75m

  31. luke220 says:

    It’s not near Newport.

  32. Anonymous says:

    She could have bought anywhere, she chose here – it’s a great area, perhaps a bit faded since the hey day of Newport, but nonetheless, stunning location. Some of us like to actually experience the 4 seasons and I can imagine being there in any weather. Rhode Island is actually well placed if you are an east coast type. I say buy and hold, Taylor!

  33. luke220 says:

    Tommy Tee is old enough to be her father. She should have rented a suite at the Biltmore. I think the girl is nuts.

  34. lil' gay boy says:

    I too find it a curious purchase — the location is undeniably stunning, but according to a late 70s assessment by the National Register of Historic Places:

    “…this is a large 2 1/2- to 3 1/2-story, white clapboard dwelling
    in a hybrid French Provincia1/Moderne style – with English Regency touches, altered -somewhat since its construction. The house comprises a rectangular, hip-roof main block; a few rectangular, hip-roof wings and pavilions; and four prominent, slab-like brick chimneys , all assembled into an asymmetrical composition. The roofs rise from the edges of the wall tops without intervening overhangs or parapets, giving the buildings a crisp, hard-edge quality. The fenestration is asymmetrical and includes a few shed dormers. The southerly elevation has large plate-glass windows overlooking Block Island Sound. Period detailing is limited to a few Regency lattice-work porches, window shutters, and a single barrel-roof dormer.

    Hard an historic gem anymore, although it does hold its place in the history of Terpsichore:



  35. lil' gay boy says:

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  36. Anonymous says:

    Taylor Swift is only buying this estate because she’s been dating a prominent Rhode Island real estate mogul and wants to be close to him this summer.

    His name is Tommy Tee, he owns a stake in the Providence Mall and several other sky scrapers downtown. He plays in the Las Vegas World Series of Poker and also spends a lot of time on the other side, at his estate in Lake Cuomos.

    I saw Taylor Swift with him 2x in the last 2 weeks with him – once on Thayer Street at the Pizza Slice, and again at Pearl, the nightclub.

  37. Anonymous says:

    @12.18 this house didnt sell fast at all. It has been on the market at prices between 24 and 20 million for years. taylor will take a loss on this if she purchased this as a flip like her kennedy compound.

  38. Bossy Thing says:

    stunning place, i’m jelly ^^

  39. Anonymous says:

    since it did not get mentioned anywhere, is this place close to Newport, RI? I would assume it is.

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  41. Anonymous says:

    There are some true morons aka ass kissers that are completely clueless about money and finance. Anyway…

    Also Hyannis Port sold because they wanted to get her the hell away from them. You really think that house sold that fast by accident?

    The world is filled with people that made far more money than her that went broke. Having money does not make you a financial genius, keeping it does.

  42. Anonymous says:

    It looks like a big, boring PILE!!

    High maintenance…..like the buyer. Wow, when guys buy a big trophy….they say he is overcompensating for a small—–.

    Get Taylor a man, stat!

    I’m a hater. That’s true. But, really, for 17.5 million I would rather have 10 1.5 million dollar houses some-where-else!!

    Mama’s Black Sheep in WEHO,

    Still here!

    And no Taylor, we are never, ever, ever, getting back together!!

    This house has “bad bones”, just like Taylor has had.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Is there access to the beach???
    It looks like all of the frontage is blocked by rocks with no stair or pathway.

  44. zahid ahmed says:

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  45. Sandpiper says:

    Sorry RE double post above. Browser trouble today. Thought first comment didn’t transmit :P

  46. Anonymous says:

    hey welcome to our little wonderfull community. uh oh, others may follow. years ago, Christie Brinkly and Billy Joel used to walk the beach, didn’t see an uptick of holywood types. We simly love the area. Chuck Royce has done fabulous things with Ocean House and other areas. We are the big time. Hope she stays for a while.

  47. Anonymous says:

    I don’t judge her on the price but I don’t see this as a wise investment just based on the location of the house. Good luck reselling without taking a loss.

  48. Sandpiper says:

    As we speak Ms. Swift is busy at her hobby table making voo-doo dolls in unflattering likenesses of a Meanie Mama, Tiny Fey and Amy Poehler. John Mayer, you’re in good company.

  49. Sandpiper says:

    As we speak Ms. Swift is fashioning voo-doo dolls in the likenesses of a Meanie Mama, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. John Mayer, you’re in good company.

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