“This was as close to heaven as one could get on Long Island.” So says Sabrina Fairchild (Audrey Hepburn) when describing the mansion belonging to the Larrabee family, where she grew up with her chauffeur father, at the beginning of Billy Wilder’s beloved 1954 classic “Sabrina.” In truth, three different properties were utilized to portray the opulent seaside estate in the film. And one of them, a stunning water-struck brick and Indiana limestone affair located about 25 miles northeast of Manhattan in Rye, New York, is currently looking for a buyer!
Offered for $11 million, the historic Georgian Colonial can be found nestled along a private road at the end of a long driveway at 315 Brevoort Ln. in Greenhaven, an affluent woodsy community that became a haven for the Hollywood elite in the 1950s, earning it the nickname “the East Coast Beverly Hills.” (Please remember this is a private home. Do not trespass or bother the residents or the property in any way.) Repped by Christy Murphy of Sotheby’s International Realty, the listing marks the first time the tony pad has been up for grabs in over two decades, after last changing hands in 1999 for $6.475 million.
Featuring an impressive façade lined with a succession of white-trimmed windows, the manse stands on the grounds of what was once Brevoort Farm, a sprawling 200-acre homestead established by wealthy landowner Henry Brevoort in 1830. The three-story estate, commissioned by Ormsby Mitchel in 1917, replaced one of the original properties built on the premises, a baronial-style dwelling known as “The Anchorage.”
To erect the structure (which held onto The Anchorage moniker), Mitchel tapped Mott B. Schmidt, the Pratt Institute-trained architect who would famously go on to design the Sutton Place townhomes of theatrical/literary agent Elisabeth Marbury, philanthropist Anne Morgan and heiress Anne Vanderbilt, thereby transforming the primarily industrial area into the exclusive Manhattan neighborhood it is today. The Anchorage was one of Schmidt’s first major works.
Situated on a gloriously landscaped and tree-speckled 5.97-acre lot tucked against the shores of the Long Island Sound, the estate consists of seven bedrooms and eight baths spread throughout 9,437 square feet. Herringbone-patterned floors, tall ceilings, stunning views and a plethora of fireplaces can be found throughout.
Fashioned with a level of elegance not typically seen in homes today, the luxe detailing becomes evident the moment one steps inside the grand entry hall, with its checkered marble flooring, intricately carved crown molding, curved staircase and water views.
Although the inside of the Larrabee mansion in “Sabrina” was nothing more than a studio-built set, The Anchorage’s interiors are certainly befitting of the silver screen! Stately, sophisticated and sprawling, the formal dining and living spaces look more like ballrooms that might be found at a fine hotel than the chambers of a private residence.
Additional highlights include a wood-paneled den, two sunrooms, an office, a game room, a gift-wrapping room and a massive eat-in kitchen with plank flooring, a wall of built-ins, a walk-in pantry and a butler’s pantry.
The primary suite, a sizable retreat consisting of two full bathrooms, a sitting room, two fireplaces, multiple closets and a large balcony, is located on the second level, along with five guest bedrooms. The third floor is comprised of a yoga studio, another full bathroom and a storage area.
Awash in verdant foliage, the pastoral grounds were originally designed by renowned landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman and feature a pool with a stone surround, a kitchen garden, a guest cottage with boat storage, a vine-covered terrace, numerous patios and Brevoort Farm’s original horse stable, which has since been repurposed into a three-car garage.
While there is no indoor tennis court on the premises for those hoping to host late-night rendezvous to the strains of “Isn’t It Romantic,” the property does boast a rear lawn large enough for a “big party” with “an orchestra and dancing” (Givenchy dress, sadly, not included), as well as a small private beach. It is the latter that appeared in “Sabrina.”
Said to be “on the North Shore of Long Island, some 30 miles from New York,” the main mansion featured in the film, where Sabrina managed to capture the hearts of wealthy brothers Linus (Humphrey Bogart) and David Larrabee (William Holden), was actually located on the West Coast, in the Benedict Canyon area of Beverly Hills. Known as Hill Grove in real life, the Gothic Revival-style residence (pictured above) was used for most exterior shots of the Larrabee estate, with its front façade, driveway and porte-cochère popping up throughout the movie. At the time of the filming, the Albert Rarr-designed manse was owned by wealthy jeweler George Lewis and his wife, Gertrude, who regularly leased the property out for shoots and donated all of the resulting revenue to charity. Though razed in the 1960s, historic photographs of it can be seen here.
Additional filming took place at another estate that has since been demolished, this one known as Walhall in Greenwich, Connecticut. The Italian Renaissance-style pad once sat on 49 acres overlooking Harbor Point Beach but fell to the wrecking ball in 1954, very shortly following the “Sabrina” shoot.
And finally, The Anchorage was utilized in two short waterfront sequences, with the cast and crew descending upon the place in the fall of 1953 to shoot at the private beach, purported to be situated at the rear of the Larrabee estate. At the time, the residence belonged to Barney Balaban, longtime president of Paramount Pictures, the production company behind “Sabrina,” so it seems to have come by its role, like so many in Hollywood, thanks to a bit of nepotism.
The beach first appears in the movie’s opening, as Sabrina describes the Larrabee mansion, its many amenities and the myriad people employed there, with the camera panning to The Anchorage’s picturesque shoreline as she states in her perfectly plucky diction, “There was a boatman to take care of the boats – to put them in the water in the spring and scrape their bottoms in the winter.” The dock seen in the movie is no longer intact, but the cove itself still looks much as it did onscreen.
Later in the film, after Sabrina has returned home from a stint studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, she goes for a romantic sail with Linus, and upon debarking, the two are shown briefly standing at the shore of 315 Brevoort as they bid each other farewell. Though the scene is short (it makes up barely 20 seconds of screen time), it leaves audiences – as well as Sabrina and Linus – with a speck of hope that the two might just wind up together.
Though the mansion itself does not appear onscreen, several photos of Audrey were snapped during breaks in filming, including one which shows the actress sitting with her canine costar, The Anchorage framed behind her in all of its brick-encased glory.
Movie memorabilia relating to Hepburn never fails to garner immense interest and large returns, and the estate’s listing, which offers deep-pocketed fans the opportunity to own a truly unique piece of cinematic history, will likely prove no different.