John Steinbeck’s Sag Harbor Home With Writing ‘Hut’ Lists For $18 Million

The Steinbeck property is on the market for $17.9 million.

“Whenever I go to the house, I always spin the chandelier,” says real estate agent Doreen Atkins, listing rep for the Sag Harbor home where author John Steinbeck lived in the latter part of his life. She’s referring to the one-of-a-kind chandelier Steinbeck made for his wife. The design is a collection of hand-carved birds hanging from a hook, similar to an outdoor wind chime, explains Atkins. “John carved each of the birds. He was very handy.”

Steinbeck, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his book “The Grapes of Wrath”, purchased the home in 1955 with his wife Elaine and it has remained in the family ever since. The two would divide their time between this house and a home in the Upper East Side until his death in 1968. This is the place where Steinbeck worked on his final novel, “The Winter of Our Discontent,” and he refers to the house in his book, “Travels with Charley”—a story of his cross-country road trip with his dog.

John Steinbeck outside his Sag Harbor home


Elaine Steinbeck placed the home in a family trust before her death in 2003. Trustees of the estate recently listed the property for $17.9 million.

One of the many old-growth trees that still grace the property

The 1.8 acre property sits on the private edge of a peninsula with a two-bed, two-bath main house measuring 1,22o square feet, plus Steinbeck’s writing cottage—a 100-square foot hexagonal room overlooking the water. Steinbeck nicknamed the cottage Joyous Garde after the castle in the Sir Lancelot tale, says Atkins.

The room where Steinbeck worked on his writing.

The property also comes with a guest cottage that sleeps two and has an outdoor shower plus indoor half-bath. A 60-foot pier reaching far out into the surrounding water is also part of the sale.

Steinbeck’s reading chair on the dog he had before the famous Charley, according to the listing … [+]

“The thing that highlights the rarity of it is not just the historical significance, but it’s a lot of waterfront,” says Atkins, referring to the 586 feet of water the property has direct access to. “That’s a lot for Sag Harbor. Usually when you have a waterfront you’re in North Haven, which is really not walking [distance] to the village.” The Steinbeck home is about a mile walk to the village, where the Steinbecks were seen frequently as fixtures in the town.

An overhead of the property shows the expansive land that come with the sale.

Overhead of the property

Here is an overhead shot from the Steinbeck family collection.

An overhead from when the Steinbecks lived there

While the sellers declined to release any interior photos, Atkins explains the interior still has the original feel of the home with exposed wood beams and wainscoted ceilings. The single-story house does include what Steinbeck referred to as a ‘library loft’ where a reading nook is accessed by a spiral staircase. An eat-in kitchen, with zinc center island countertop is one of the family gathering spaces in the home. The living room opens out to a terrace and an indoor sunroom is another option if the weather isn’t nice enough to be outdoors.

All three buildings on the nearly two-acre lot.

The sale is listed with Doreen Atkins of Sotheby’s International Realty. For more information go to the listing page here.

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