Not many of us are going to be able to afford a multi – million – dollar house, but it doesn’t hurt to dream. Or look. If you’re in the business of window shopping ludicrously expensive things you could never buy, you might want to check out Roger Ebert’s home in Harbert, MI. Back in 2015, it hit the market for a whopping $4 million. As is often the way with super-expensive properties (especially those owned by celebs), it took a little while to find a buyer. But once it did, we’re sure they were more than happy with their very gorgeous (and very expensive) new investment.
Roger Ebert was a Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic, film historian, journalist, screenwriter, and author who left behind a huge body of work when he died of cancer at the age of 70 in 2013. His primary home was a four-and-a-half-story townhouse in Chicago which served as his base during his long tenure with The Chicago Sun-Times. While he was no doubt fond of his Chicago residence, it was his vacation house in Harbor County in southwest Michigan that seemed to hold the biggest place in his heart. Ebert bought his home in Harbert, Harbor County in 1989. For 25 years, it served as his and his wife’s weekend getaway. During their ownership, the house was renovated and modernized to perfection, but it was as much the surrounding area that captured Ebert’s heart as it was the property itself. So taken was he with Harbert and its quaint shops and family run businesses, he’d often wax lyrical about it on his blog, once writing, “There are old-fashioned pleasures, and not everything is in a strip mall and belongs to a chain. Actual human beings’ own places and sell you stuff, it’s fun to buy. This area is known as Harbor Country.”
As toptenrealestatedeals.com writes, Harbor Country is the Chicago equivalent of New York’s the Hamptons. A beachy, high end district, it’s made up of a collection of 8 small towns – Sawyer, Harbert, Lakeside, Union Pier, Three Oaks, New Buffalo, Michiana and Grand Beach. Located less than two hours away from downtown Chicago, it’s become a hugely popular upscale getaway for the rich and famous, with everyone from Richard M. Daley to Dennis Farina and Gene Siskel having owned a home there at some point or another. But it was arguably Ebert and his poetic descriptions of the area that made it such a hit – once he started writing about his Windy City weekend retreat, it was only a matter of time before others followed. When Ebert died in 2013, his wife Chaz decided to offload the property to the tune of $4 million.
Ebert’s former house is a stately English Tudor style cottage that dates back to 1934. The house, which goes by the name Ravenswood, was first home to a football player turned wrestler call ”Jumpin Joe Sovaldi.” Thanks to the stone-masonry expertise of Sovaldi’s Italian family, the property was built with the kind of foundations and workmanship that are as solid today as they were back then. Since Sovaldi’s time, there have been several famous names to have called Ravenswood home, including Cecil Pon (the inventor of the riding lawnmower), and, of course, Ebert himself. Set overlooking a stretch of pristine beach, the house is accessed via a private driveway that winds through a wooded area, guaranteeing its celebrity occupants the utmost privacy. Occupying 4,140 sqaure feet and set over 1.2 lakeside acres, the house consists of 4 spacious bedrooms, 4 and a half bathrooms, a powder room, a family room (which with its raised platform, proved the ideal venue for Ebert’s movie screenings and performances), a kitchen, dining room and living room (all with their own open fireplace, naturally), along with a lower recreational area that offers breathtaking views over the lake. There’s even a fully equipped guest house with a huge deck leading down to the beach. With its quaint charm, sunny outlook, and timeless elegance, it’s a stunning property that more than justifies its $4 million price tag.
The last time we got a glimpse into Ebert’s former home was back in 2015 when the house first hit the property listings. A lot may have changed in the intervening years, but if the current owner has tastes anything like Ebert’s, we’d expect to see the same gorgeously bright and light interior with its comfortable, traditional vibe. As outlined by homestratosphere.com, some of the features you can expect to see include:
If you like light, bright, and airy, Ebert’s design choice for the living room is likely to appeal. Thanks to the soaring cove ceilings with their exposed beams, the room feels gorgeously spacious. The polished hardwood flooring is complemented perfectly by the wooden cabinetry and wooden mantle that runs along the length of the open fireplace. Completing the look are two very comfortable looking cream sofas and a matching armchair.
If the kitchen is the beating heart of the home, Ebert’s choice of design is a very fitting choice. The warm terracotta tiled floor is the perfect complement to the wooden kitchen island and cabinetry, while the long, low windows framing both sides of the room let in plenty of natural light. Homely and traditional, you can imagine Ebert and his wife spending many happy hours cooking up a storm in this cozy room.
A dining room doesn’t have to be formal or stuffy. Ebert’s dining room is just the right side of casual with a long wooden dining table, matching chairs, and plenty of useful cabinets for storage. The large windows keep things light and bright, while the terracotta tiled floors add a dash of Mediterranean inspired warmth.
If you thought the inside of the house was nice enough, wait till you check out the outside. With a long deck terrace outfitted with a round outdoor dining area at the front of the house, and an equally gorgeous outdoor patio with mosaic stone flooring and a walkway that cuts through the landscaped grounds at the back, it’s a carefully thought out arrangement that makes the most of the stunning views.