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Jim Steinman’s Gothic Rock Cottage Is For Sale With Most of His Belongings

Jim Steinman, who died last year at 73, left behind probably the most distinctive catalogs of music in historical past, crammed with chart-topping hits written for the likes of Meat Loaf, Bonnie Tyler and Celine Dion. With songs starting from the stressed (“All Revved Up With No Place To Go”) to the wrenching (“For Crying Out Loud”), Mr. Steinman spent a long time establishing himself as a classy songwriter with the spirit of a youngster.

“So far as Jim was involved, life was about being ceaselessly younger, and lusting after this and craving after that,” mentioned David Sonenberg, Mr. Steinman’s longtime good friend, supervisor and now the executor of his property. “He was going to be 17 ceaselessly, and in some methods he was.”

However maybe nothing evokes Mr. Steinman’s legacy just like the Connecticut home the place he lived alone for some 20 years — an imposing museum of the self, connected to a quaint cottage within the woods of Ridgefield. He spent years increasing and reimagining the home, remodeling it into an embodiment of his personal eccentric, sophisticated character.

Credit score…Michael Putland/Getty Photos

“The home — it’s a visit, it’s extraordinary, it’s one in all a form,” Mr. Sonenberg mentioned. “Individuals would stroll in and their heads would spin.”

Mr. Steinman, a lifelong bachelor who had been in declining well being for years, left no directions about what he needed executed with the home after his dying. Now his longtime buddies are placing the property up for sale — with a provision: It’s being bought “as-is,” which in actual property lingo usually means “in horrible situation.” On this case, it implies that the sale contains almost all of Mr. Steinman’s private belongings, which stay in the home: the gothic furnishings, spooky art work, wall-mounted information, grand piano, even closets stuffed with clothes.

“We’re going to attempt to maintain Jim’s imaginative and prescient and legacy intact,” mentioned Jacqueline Dillon, Mr. Steinman’s longtime artistic assistant and shut good friend. “Jim has been a pop-culture fixture for 50 years.”

Their hope is to promote the home — which, regardless of its 6,000-odd sq. ft, has simply two bedrooms — to a musician, artist or author, or somebody in search of a artistic retreat or efficiency house. The asking value is $5,555,569 — the $69 is a tribute to Mr. Steinman’s beloved Amherst Faculty, the place he graduated with the category of 1969 — and the annual property taxes are round $32,000.

Ms. Dillon described Mr. Steinman — by all accounts a reclusive, nocturnal introvert — as “super-shy, however all the time so sort, and with a lightning-quick wit.” She met him three a long time in the past at a live performance, she mentioned, and was quickly recruited to launch his web site, jimsteinman.com, to attach with followers and to observe press mentions.

She is now serving to to supervise the home sale. “This isn’t a sale the place there’s a comparable,” she mentioned.

As with lots of Mr. Steinman’s grandest achievements, the home virtually by no means occurred. It was Mr. Sonenberg who discovered it almost 30 years in the past. Driving by Ridgefield, he noticed the house on a secluded lot of about 1.5 acres and thought it will be good for his good friend.

“The home was so charming,” mentioned Mr. Sonenberg, whose personal inventive goals had been dashed after he met Mr. Steinman within the Nineteen Seventies. “I wrote a track known as ‘Pear Tree within the Shade,’” he mentioned. “Jim wrote a track known as ‘Whole Eclipse of the Coronary heart.’”

Mr. Steinman, who began writing musicals for Joseph Papp on the Public Theater earlier than conquering the pop charts with songs for Meat Loaf’s 1977 smash album “Bat Out of Hell,” was in search of a spot to cover away and work. After years of delays, he and Meat Loaf (born Marvin Lee Aday) had been finishing manufacturing on “Bat Out of Hell II: Again Into Hell,” which (to nobody’s expectation however their very own) would turn out to be one of many best-selling albums of the Nineteen Nineties.

Mr. Sonenberg recommended that Mr. Steinman purchase the Ridgefield home: “I mentioned, ‘It’s good — you’re by your self, you by no means have any company.’ And he mentioned no, it was too small.”

Round that point, whereas Mr. Steinman was working with Andrew Lloyd Webber on the musical “Whistle Down the Wind,” he visited Lloyd Webber’s manor home, Sydmonton Court docket, in Hampshire, England, and “was simply blown away,” Mr. Sonenberg mentioned.

So Mr. Steinman determined to purchase the Ridgefield cottage, paying about $425,000, and convert it right into a hovering sanctuary, a creation as epic as his music.

“It’s actually particular, virtually otherworldly,” mentioned Laura Freed Ancona, the itemizing agent, of William Pitt Sotheby’s Worldwide Realty. “Sure, it was a roof over Jim’s head. However it was additionally a artistic house for him.”

Ms. Ancona mentioned the plan now’s to start out with non-public and group showings, and to achieve out to varied arts and cultural organizations, searching for a possible purchaser. “We need to solid as huge a web as potential,” she mentioned.

The home, Mr. Sonenberg mentioned, could possibly be bought to a faculty or establishment and used for a mix of dwelling, workplace and efficiency house.

Mr. Steinman, who grew up primarily in Hewlett Harbor, on Lengthy Island, moved to Manhattan after graduating from Amherst and was employed by Mr. Papp, who was captivated by songs Mr. Steinman had written for his senior venture, a rock musical known as “The Dream Engine.” It later morphed into “Neverland,” impressed by Peter Pan, the boy who by no means grew up. (A number of years after getting the Public Theater gig, Mr. Steinman, all the time pitching, wrote a letter to Mr. Papp asserting that “writing and conceiving critical robust musical dramatic works” was one thing “I actually suppose I can do higher than anybody I’ve ever come throughout or heard about.”)

Again then, “his style in décor was zero,” mentioned Frederick Baron, a school good friend, who remembered visiting Mr. Steinman in a spartan condo with naked partitions and a fridge holding solely leftover pizza and spaghetti.

“He lived the lifetime of the thoughts,” Mr. Baron mentioned. “He had this extraordinary degree of creativity. He was really good. All of his life power was in that keyboard.”

After Mr. Steinman began making critical cash, he purchased a two-bedroom condo in a postwar co-op overlooking Central Park. That’s the place he met Bonnie Tyler, who would prime the charts in 1983 with the Steinman-penned “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” She and her supervisor had been welcomed with a trail of M&Ms leading to his door.

Mr. Steinman later used that house largely as an workplace and for wine storage, and moved right into a rented home within the woods of Putnam County, N.Y., with a bunch of cats.

“Jim was a homebody, and being within the metropolis was fairly busy for him,” Ms. Dillon mentioned. “He was all the time being requested to go to individuals’s exhibits. Leaving the town eliminated him from having to do a whole lot of issues. He didn’t go to huge occasions. He let his artwork do the speaking.”

He known as the Ridgefield cottage “the home that ‘Bat II’ constructed,” Ms. Dillon mentioned. “Jim used the expression ‘cottage to compound.’” The album opened with the hit “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That),” with an accompanying video depicting Meat Loaf as a “Magnificence and the Beast”-like recluse dwelling alone in a gothic mansion.

To broaden the home, Mr. Steinman employed Rob Bramhall, a Boston-based architect, ultimately spending about $6 million. Mr. Bramhall labored on the venture for the higher a part of a decade, greater than doubling the home’s dimension. After their preliminary assembly, Mr. Bramhall despatched Mr. Steinman a guide by the influential California architect Bernard Maybeck, he mentioned, and “Jim knew I bought his sensibility.”

The model was English Cotswolds. “Jim needed the gables, from left to proper, to turn out to be barely bigger,” he mentioned. “I keep in mind doing skull-and-crossbones for the taps within the powder room off the good room. Among the wall lighting fixtures had been constituted of plane components.”

Credit score…Mimi Kennedy

Though Mr. Bramhall met with Mr. Steinman in Manhattan and helped him choose and place the art work, “Jim by no means noticed the home till it was executed,” he mentioned. “It was a enjoyable and fascinating venture. I haven’t executed something prefer it since.”

The unique a part of the home — vivid and sunny — contains a big lounge with Mr. Steinman’s many gold and platinum albums on the wall, open to an equally giant kitchen with a eating nook. There’s a laundry room and a sunroom, though Mr. Steinman most popular the darkish.

“That finish of the home represented normalcy to him,” Ms. Dillon mentioned.

Within the eating room, the desk is about with Mr. Steinman’s china, within the Royal Copenhagen Fairy Story sample — not that he ever used it. He most popular to eat off disposable tableware, particularly blue Solo cups and Chinet plates.

Within the den, or “viewing room,” he loved watching singing competitions like “American Idol,” and critiquing the judges. He additionally watched cooking exhibits, Yankees video games and “Jeopardy!”

“He might hearken to music, watch a TV present and sort a letter” abruptly, Ms. Dillon mentioned. “His thoughts by no means stopped working.”

The “good room” — to not be confused with the good room — holds one in all his wheelchairs, which he wanted after struggling a sequence of strokes. In fact, “it was a loopy wheelchair, like a Batmobile,” Mr. Sonenberg mentioned.

Mr. Steinman referred to the unused visitor room because the “Wendy Bed room,” after the heroine of “Peter Pan.” The plush bear on the mattress hails from the Nice Ormond Avenue Hospital for Kids, in London, which owns the mental property rights to “Peter Pan” and denied Mr. Steinman’s request to stage a rock musical based mostly on the story, deeming the script — which opened with killer nuns — unsuitable for kids.

The addition, all customized made and crammed with elaborate and peculiar artwork and artifacts, begins with the Ring Room, a small, oval house unfurnished save for sculptures on the partitions, that are a shade Mr. Steinman known as obsidian blue. (Obsidian was the identify he gave to Neverland’s metropolis.) The ceiling is dotted with LED stars.

“And that leads you from this candy cottage into this different universe, which is modeled after Steinman’s imaginative and prescient,” Mr. Sonenberg mentioned. “Jim was essentially the most weird man, however he was the sweetest and funniest and most beneficiant. He was the one genius I ever met.”

The first suite is on the finish of a wardrobe hallway, the place the huge closets nonetheless maintain Mr. Steinman’s many garments, few of which he wore, though sweet wrappers stay in a few of the pockets. So many clothes are crammed on the racks that “you’ll suppose you had been in Bonwit Teller,” Mr. Sonenberg mentioned.

Parallel to the wardrobe hallway is a protracted hall resulting in the good room, lined with patent leather-based panels and utilized by guests — most not too long ago, these engaged on “Bat Out of Hell: The Musical,” which is touring in Britain and is slated to open in Las Vegas in September.

The large bed room features a desk, sitting space and aquarium. The artwork on one wall, “Inferno” by Joseph Grazi, depicts taxidermic bats flying into the maw of an alligator cranium. A lot of the idiosyncratic artwork Mr. Steinman collected was by artists from Bayreuth, Germany, the longtime house and closing resting place of his idol, the composer Richard Wagner, whose operas enthralled him from childhood. The room can be adorned with objects collected from followers and, on the mattress, a coronary heart pillow in tribute to the surgeon who prolonged Mr. Steinman’s life.

Past the bed room is the home’s focus, the good room, centered round a stainless-steel sculpture resembling a cluster of large quartz crystals — an allusion to Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. Mr. Steinman’s 2013 honorary doctorate from Amherst is on show. A bust of Wagner sits atop a Yamaha piano, though Mr. Steinman composed totally on keyboards. “He had this uncanny skill to play all of the components on the piano,” Ms. Dillon mentioned. “It virtually appeared like a full band.”

Stairs ascend to a gallery overlooking the room. One chair is occupied by a skeleton mid-shriek. One other flight results in the room on the prime, with a skylight and studying chair.

Mr. Steinman typically used the tiny kitchenette off the good room, stocked with recent fruit and cans of Progresso soup. He was a fan of scorching sauce, candy soda and chewy sweet. “Once I visited him for the primary time in his house, he had these containers of gummy bears from the pick-n-mix choice at Dean & DeLuca for $12.99 a pound,” Ms. Dillon mentioned. “Each month, we might get a invoice.”

The indifferent two-story storage has plumbing and electrical energy, and will probably be an adjunct dwelling unit. Mr. Steinman used it for storage — he didn’t drive or have a license. Regardless of his love of bikes (and songs about them), he seemingly by no means rode one. As an alternative, he crammed the storage with copies of his packages and Playbills. “He preferred stuff,” Ms. Dillon mentioned.

The query is: Will anybody need Jim Steinman’s stuff? Ms. Ancona is hoping that the property, like Mr. Steinman’s music, will encourage somebody searching for one thing lovely and slightly unusual.

“Each home wants its personal method, whether or not it’s a $500,000 house or a $5 million house,” she mentioned. “You actually have to seek out your viewers.”

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