Living Miss Daisy

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Nick Churton of Mayfair International Realty looks at a star studded house in New York

Where does an actress go to get away from it all?  For Jessica Tandy and her husband, the Canadian born actor Hume Cronyn, it was to a romantic lakeside house that they had built in the 1970s.

Born in London in 1909 Jessica Tandy made her debut on the London stage when she was eighteen. Later she appeared with such luminaries as John Gielgud and Laurence Olivier. She moved to New York in 1940.  In a glittering career that included Broadway and Hollywood she became the oldest actress to receive the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Driving Miss Daisy, for which she also won a BAFTA and a Golden Globe.

Away from the spotlights the couple’s home for many years was Mystery Lake in Pound Ridge, New York.  It is one of those buildings that occupies one of those locations of which movie scenes are made.  It is so good that, whoever the occupant, this house will always share star billing. Now beautifully renovated in keeping with its modernist roots, the property offers over 5,000 sq ft of stylish accommodation that includes five bedrooms and six bathrooms.

Mystery Lake may be secluded but it isn’t isolated, being just one hour by road or rail from Manhattan. It is not surprising that the area has been popular with people such as actors, Christopher Reeve, Susan Sarandon, Richard Gere and Mike Myers, the fashion designer Vera Wang, and the musician Benny Goodman.

Mystery Lake must be the perfect place to design a collection, write music or learn lines. Within its own private world – a twenty-acre realm of wild-flower carpeted woodland with lakeside pool and funicular railway to a boathouse with guest quarters – the house hangs over the lake creating a rippled upside-down world on the surface.  This is a house for deep reflection.  But it is also a home of great inspiration.

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