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.

Seller Story: Nancy Burke, Sun Valley, ID
Seller Story: Nancy Burke, Sun Valley, ID
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Seller Story: Nancy Burke, Sun Valley, ID

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.

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