In cold cash: Capote mansion sells for $12 million

The Brooklyn Paper
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Truman Capote has another best seller.

The Brooklyn Heights mansion where the legendary author wrote “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” sold for $12 million — making it the most expensive house to change hands in the borough’s history.

Nearly two years after Sotheby’s listed the stately yellow manse on Willow Street, a buyer snatched up the home and two moving trucks from Yonkers were parked in front on Monday night.

Despite the home’s literary trappings, the buyers say they aren’t the kinds of literary luminaries and art-world scenesters who frequented Capote’s lavish Brooklyn Heights parties.

“Trust me, we’re not celebrities,” said the new owner, who declined to reveal her last name to protect her two young children. “We’re just a boring family.”

“It’s a magical house and we just fell in love with it,” she said.

Broker Karen Heyman, whose other clients include Jennifer Aniston and Heights dweller and “The Office” actress Amy Ryan, declined to comment on the sale.

But when Heyman listed the home for $18 million in 2010, she told The Brooklyn Paper the manse was “like living in a country estate in Brooklyn — with a lot more history.”

The 11-bedroom residence has 11 fireplaces, seven and a half baths, a gated driveway, two eat-in kitchens, a back porch and a mural copied from the John F. Kennedy White House.

The home inspired Capote’s “A House on the Heights” and its oft-quoted opening line, “I live in Brooklyn. By choice.”

The author rented the ground floor from Broadway producer Oliver Smith as he wrote his best-known books including “In Cold Blood” from between 1955 and 1965. Smith later designed the set for the theatrical version of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

Decades later, Nicholas Callaway, publisher of Madonna’s children’s books, moved in with his family.

Neighbors say they are glad to see some new life in the old house.

“I’ve never been inside, but it looks like the kind of place we’d all like to live in,” said Charley Grant, who grew up across the street. “This is the kind of property that makes Brooklyn Heights special.”

Brooklyn Heights is no stranger to pricey property. The borough’s second most-expensive home, on Columbia Heights, sold for $11-million in late January.

And Capote’s castle isn’t the only literary lair — Norman Mailer’s nautical-themed abode on Columbia Heights recently hit the market along with his myriad books, a 1960s jukebox and other treasures.

But the fate of that lofty $2.5-million apartment remains unclear as the hedge fund manager who bought is suing to be released from his contract due to possible building code violations.

Reach Kate Briquelet at or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.
Updated 5:30 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Paul Palazzo from Fort Greene says:
To set the record straight the house belonged to the late great set designer Oliver Smith, and never Truman Capote. Mr. Capote was a guest of Mr. Smith's, living in the garden apartment.

Mr. Smith was one of the greats in the history of American Theatrical history who designed the original productions of Brigadoon, Hello Dolly, West Side Story, Camelot, and My Fair Lady. He was one of the co-founders of American Ballet Theatre working with Jerome Robbins and Agnes DeMille.

The Brooklyn Museum or Brooklyn Historical Society should host a retrospective of his work.

I had the great opportunity of being a student at NYU and later collegue of Mr. Smith's, assiting him a on a few projects. There was never a more distinguished gentleman than Oliver Smith.

Please get it right Brooklyn Paper!
March 6, 2012, 6:06 pm
fatimah23 from CH says:
Do they need any servants?
March 7, 2012, 7:11 am
Eddie M. T from Greenpoint says:
I hope the new owner could spare a room for while I write a very important non - fiction suspense novel which could be very popular with ages14 the thru 84-amonst many other accounts it would solve many past and contemporary mysteries in a dynamic ranges.My email is:
Nov. 24, 2016, 12:33 am

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