Seller Story: Nancy Burke, Sun Valley, ID
The home we lived in before this one was in a suburb of Chicago; it was built in 1928 or 1929, before the crash. The owner had sent architects over to the Cotswalds in England in order to study a particular mansion there. So the walls were all over three feet thick: cork in them, and stone on the outside. Every floor including the attic floor, is 18 inches of poured concrete. There was no creaking in the house.
I spent many, many years bringing the house back to the way it had been, the formal beauty that it was meant to be. And of course the furniture I purchased went with that theme: formal beauty, very detailed. Inlaid woods and all kinds of things. We shopped at antiques stores, and places like the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. When we went to France I would scour over there, too. I got more ideas over there of what I liked, and I’d come back and find it in the Chicago area, or in LA; somewhere a little closer to home.
And then we bought this home in Sun Valley, Idaho, and I put all my formal furniture storage. Eventually, as I was living here I thought, this informality is not me. So then I started doing huge remodels to this house and putting in beautiful inlaid granite floors, beautiful wall coverings, just completely changing it from this casual home to a really formal beautiful home. And then I got my furniture out, and brought in what had been in storage. So the house ended up going up with the furniture.
I’m so excited: I’m going to go back-to-back cruises, cruise after cruise after cruise, always in warm temperatures. I’ve got the cruise line picked out, and the size of ship I want. I’d like to cruise for six years. I’m a writer; I’ve written one book and I have about 16 more books to write. Taking care of my home and keeping it up, the grounds and everything, there was no time for writing. I can have all that wonderful time for writing, on the ship.
18K Yellow Gold 4.00 CTW Blue Sapphire and 2.02 CTW Diamond Ring
Salvatore Ferragamo Parchment Silk Satin Dress
Franck Muller Sunset 18K Rose Gold 1.62 CTW Diamond Wristwatch
20th-Century French Style Mahogany Veneered Marble Top Sideboard
French Empire Style Marble Top Vitrine
18K Yellow Gold 13.50 CTW Sapphire and 1.57 CTW Diamond Earrings
Hermès Deep Heather Gray Wool Cape with Coordinating Gloves
Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950 18K Rose Gold Mother-of-Pearl and Diamond Wristwatch
18K Yellow Gold 3.00 CTW Emerald and 0.95 CTW Diamond Earrings
Helmut Breuninger Oil Painting on Canvas Figural Landscape
18K Yellow Gold and Platinum 11.40 CT Heliodor and 3.33 CTW Diamond Ring
de GRISOGONO Be Eight 18K Rose Gold Diamond Wristwatch
Vernis Martin Style Display Cabinet by Mariner 1893
18K Yellow Gold 1.64 CTW Diamond, Emerald, and Onyx Inlay Ring
Hand-Knotted Persian Art Silk Prayer Rug
18K and 14K Yellow Gold 6.03 CTW Diamond, 7.26 CT Blue Sapphire, and 7.90 CT Fancy Yellow Sapphire Necklace
Patek Philippe Nautilus 18K Yellow Gold and Stainless Steel Diamond Wristwatch
Escada Black Beaded Sleeveless Cocktail Dress
Hermès Silk "Caparacons de la France et de l'Inde" Scarf
Pair of Custom French Provincial Style Chairs
18K Yellow Gold 225.99 CTW Black Diamond Cluster Bracelet
Pair of Late 20th-Century Chinese Decorative Porcelain Vases
14K Yellow Gold Black Onyx Bead Necklace
Leon Vissot Chinchilla Fur Coat
Torinni 18K Yellow Gold Diamond "Insieme" Necklace
20th Century Louis XV Style Arm Chair
18K Two-Tone Yellow Gold Ruby Tulip Bracelet
Country French Provincial Desk With Chair
18K Yellow Gold Diamond and Ruby J-Hoop Earrings
18K Yellow Gold 3.00 CTW Diamond, Amethyst, Pink Sapphire and Pearl Necklace
20th-Century Louis XVI Style Credenza with Satinwood Inlay Veneer
22K Yellow Gold 2.99 CT Pink Spinel and Diamond Foliate Ring
14K Yellow Gold Coral and Onyx Beaded Necklace
Piacenza for Escada Red Coat with Fox Fur Collar
18K Yellow Gold 10.25 CTW Ruby and 1.50 CTW Diamond Omega Necklace
French Provincial Setteé
Hermès Olga Charm Belt
18K Two-Tone Gold Diamond, Citrine, and Blue Topaz, and Onyx Convertible Stud or Drop Earrings
Mariner Furniture French Style Marble Top Chest
Leo De Vroomen 18K Yellow Gold Convertible Enameled Cultured South Sea Pearl, 1.00 CTW Diamond, and 3.64 CTW Tanzanite Earrings
Quartz Crystal Cluster on Bronze Stand
Signed, Semi-Antique Hand-Knotted Sarouk Palace Sized Area Rug
18K Two Tone Gold 3.90 CTW Diamond Drop Earrings
Christian Dior Fox Fur Coat
18K White Gold 4.75 CTW Sapphire and 4.40 CTW Diamond Convertible Earrings
18K White Gold 1.97 CT Sapphire and 1.75 CTW Diamond Pendant Brooch with 14K White Gold Box Chain
Hermès Constance Reversible Pale Blue Belt
18K White Gold 4.97 CTW Diamond Huggie Hoop Earrings
Antonini 18K Two Tone Gold 2.20 CTW Diamond Huggie Earrings
FOPE 18K White Gold Diamond Collar Necklace
Contemporary Louis XV Style Demi-lune Inlaid Console Table
18K Yellow Gold South Sea Pearl and 2.00 CTW Diamond Ring
18K Two Tone Gold 1.41 CTW Diamond Tulip Choker
Monumental Cathedral Quartz on Lighted Bronze Base
Leo De Vroomen 18K Yellow Gold 4.16 CTW Diamond, South Sea Pearl and Enamel Drop Earrings
18K Yellow Gold 1.20 CTW Diamond and Ruby Bracelet
Your tastes are so specific. Were there ever things you wanted and couldn’t find?
I wanted a pink flowered silk fabric to upholster these two chairs. I tried with interior decorators and designers, and I couldn’t find it anywhere in this country. So I called a man who was the concierge at a very famous hotel in in Paris, and I said, Alan, I have a huge favor to ask of you. I described what I wanted, and he found the fabric. He sent me a swatch, and I said, yes, I need yards of this! Every time I looked at those chairs it was just a reminder of the neat way I finally found what I wanted.
So what inspired you to sell these beloved pieces?
Because of the way I made this house for myself, it was very hard to decide that I didn’t need to keep living here. But I don’t need 10,000 square feet to take care of, and a large yard and big driveway. When I finally made the decision, it was just like: oh, okay. Let’s move on to what I want to do.
What in the sale are you most excited about?
There’s so much: paintings, jewelry, a set of gold flatware. There’s a set of China I designed with the Burke crest on it. I made the crest: it has a lamb, a fleur-de-lys, because I love everything French, and a book. I tried going through my jewelry several times, and it was just so difficult. But you know, I’m going on a cruise. I don’t want to have a bunch of expensive stuff with me. I thought, I want pieces I can wear, and if something happens to them, it’s not going to break my heart. So there are all of these pieces in the sale that are things I wore and loved.