Elizabeth Edwards’ Home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

by hookedonhouses on December 8, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards with Emma and Jack

After the sad news was announced yesterday that Elizabeth Edwards had died, ending her six-year battle with cancer, readers began searching my blog for photos of her home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. News reports said that she died there, surrounded by family and friends.

I originally posted photos of the house after Oprah interviewed the Edwards family in early 2009. As I recall, that was before John admitted that Rielle Hunter’s daughter Quinn was his, and before he and Elizabeth separated.

Edwards house-front-Oprah

Nate Berkus visited her home on his show recently, and you can see part of the interview on his website. I found it very moving. She told him that she was determined not to live out the rest of her life as a victim. Some of these photos are screenshots I took from that interview.

Edwards-front porch-Nate Show

I love the front porch with the brick floor. The “Big House” as they call it has a warm, family-friendly feel.

Nate at Elizabeth Edwards' house

Nate greeted Elizabeth in her living room in front of the stone fireplace. He talked to her about her love for decorating. She even opened her own furniture store called Red Window in Chapel Hill that she said helped her turn the chapter and start fresh after separating from her husband.


There’s a quote on the kitchen wall, and I’ve been trying to figure out what it says. A reader named Cheryl had the answer:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

Cheryl explains, “Elizabeth said that it was to remind her that nobody has perfect lives and that we have a choice about how we integrate the imperfect parts into our lives.”

Another reader adds that it’s a quote by poet/songwriter Leonard Cohen. (Thanks, Lori-Anne!)

Edwards kitchen 2-Nate Show

I think the strength and resilience she showed in the face of tragedy and heartbreak was pretty amazing.

Elizabeth and Nate in the kitchen

My heart goes out to Elizabeth’s family in this difficult time–especially her young children Emma and Jack (shown above).

See more photos in my original post: John and Elizabeth Edwards’ House.

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Marcy {pinecreekcottage} December 8, 2010 at 7:58 am

What a beautiful home! So sad to lose such a wonderful woman.

It looks like there is a saying up on the wall in the kitchen. Does anyone know what it says?
.-= Marcy {pinecreekcottage}´s last blog ..Halloween Tweet =-.

hookedonhouses December 8, 2010 at 9:43 am

Thanks to Cheryl for providing the answer. I updated the post to include it! -Julia

Maaike Quinn December 8, 2010 at 8:04 am

I am sorry about Elizabeth Edwards passing away and I wish her family and friend all the best. The home seems to be a beautiful and warm place. Especially the kitchen and the patio are so welcoming. Thanks for posting this so quickly by the way.
.-= Maaike Quinn´s last blog ..Day 14 – Read an essay that Kelly wrote =-.

Miz Booshay December 8, 2010 at 8:13 am

Thank you for the link to the Nate and Elizabeth interview.
It was lovely and ultimately heartbreaking.
.-= Miz Booshay´s last blog .. =-.

LeAnn December 8, 2010 at 8:18 am

Hi Julia,
I so admired Elizabeth, I watched her on Nate and I couldn’t believe what a beautiful spirit she had. I am saddened that she has had to leave her two young children.

I also love her shop she opened up in Chapel Hill. She was quite a lady.


Monique December 8, 2010 at 8:22 am

I was amazed by her courage.
Thank you for dedicating your post to her today..So nice.

I feel for her children also.:(
.-= Monique´s last blog ..Gingerbread Coffee Mug Houses =-.

Sindy December 8, 2010 at 8:26 am

Hi Julia, It makes me so sad to think about Elizabeth. She suffered so much, and in ways some of us can only guess about. My heart goes out to her children and family.

I can’t remember if it was you that did a blog post on how different entities view our homes (e.g., the appraiser, the assessor, the homeowner, a potential buyer, et.al.), if it was, or if you happen to know :) who’s blog it was could you steer me to it? Thank you!

hookedonhouses December 8, 2010 at 8:38 am

It wasn’t me, but it sounds interesting. If you find it, send me the link! -Julia

Sindy December 9, 2010 at 8:20 am

Thank you, Julia. I’m still searching, but can’t find it. It was very humorous! A picture showed how each one viewed a person’s home: The Assessor viewed it as a 50,000 sq ft Mansion, whereas the Appraiser viewed it as a shanty by the railroad tracks, etc., so funny!

Bella Michelle December 8, 2010 at 8:30 am

Such sad news but I do hope being in her beautiful home was a comfort to her in her final days. I remember seeing stories on this home right after they built it and she said she was determined to make it family friendly with special places to sit down and play/craft/ spend time with her children. My prayers go out to all of her children and those who loved her. What a beautiful person she was and I am sure that spirit will live on.
.-= Bella Michelle´s last blog ..Welcome to THE Dining Room! =-.

rosie at 3rosebuds December 8, 2010 at 8:32 am

This news hit me so hard yesterday as my best friend in the world was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and just had her second chemo treatment yesterday. I am praying for the Edwards’ girls and thankful for the beautiful model of dignity and grace that she was for them.
.-= rosie at 3rosebuds´s last blog ..Christmas Card 2010 =-.

hookedonhouses December 8, 2010 at 8:39 am

So sorry to hear about your friend, Rosie. I hope the chemo treatments go well and that she’s feeling better soon! -Julia

rosie at 3rosebuds December 8, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Thanks, Julia-I hope your friend is doing well also.
.-= rosie at 3rosebuds´s last blog ..Christmas Card 2010 =-.

Jessica at Lavender and Lilies December 8, 2010 at 8:45 am

I was so sad to hear she had passed. Her home was gorgeous. She was such a graceful and poised woman.
.-= Jessica at Lavender and Lilies´s last blog ..Gift Guide- Mommy to Be =-.

Amanda @ Serenity Now December 8, 2010 at 8:46 am

I missed that episode of Nate…haven’t caught up with the DVR in awhile….

Elizabeth had a stunning home. It looks so warm and inviting–unlike a lot of “celebrity” homes. My heart really does go out to her kids. It’s hard to lose a parent at a young age. :( I feel bad that she had to endure so much crap these past few years. She certainly held her head up high!
.-= Amanda @ Serenity Now´s last blog ..My New Best Friend =-.

Brenda Kula December 8, 2010 at 9:10 am

Elizabeth showed class. Something her husband lacked, it seems. (I thought he was a great candidate “back in the day.” People are human, but that don’t have to add “stupid” to it.) Oh my. Sad, so sad, for her children. She seemed a remarkable and very poised woman with tons of courage and tenacity.

CherylK December 8, 2010 at 9:20 am

Elizabeth Edwards was the epitome of grace and dignity. A brave woman on many fronts, that’s for sure.

I love the home, especially that kitchen! That is my dream kitchen.

The quote says:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

She said that it was to remind her that nobody has perfect lives and that we have a choice about how we integrate the imperfect parts into our lives.
.-= CherylK´s last blog ..A Wintery Garden =-.

hookedonhouses December 8, 2010 at 9:37 am

Thanks, Cheryl! I’ll add that to my post. -Julia

Ricki Jill Treleaven December 8, 2010 at 9:23 am

Thanks so much for posting this, Julia. The “Big House” as the Edwards family called it is stunning. Elizabeth had quite a flair for decorating! My prayers go out to Elizabeth’s children. May she rest in peace.
.-= Ricki Jill Treleaven´s last blog ..Our Cottage Kitchen =-.

Kristen @ More Than Mulberries December 8, 2010 at 9:25 am

I have always admired her, I am sad for her children to have lost their mother. I love that quote, thank you for posting that.
.-= Kristen @ More Than Mulberries´s last blog ..Crepe Paper Gift Tags =-.

Becky @ Farmgirl Paints December 8, 2010 at 9:26 am

I must have been under a rock…I guess I didn’t know about this. Tragic! Beautiful home.
.-= Becky @ Farmgirl Paints´s last blog ..Merry Christmas to ME!!! =-.

Susan S December 8, 2010 at 9:37 am

I am always heartbroken when vibrant, kind and productive souls leave us.

Mindi December 8, 2010 at 10:09 am

What a treasure we lost yesterday. I will be praying for her family especially her young children. She is a beautiful example of how to handle oneself when life gets overwhelming.
.-= Mindi´s last blog ..Dangerous Instincts =-.

Brian December 8, 2010 at 10:27 am

Sadly Elizabeth had purchased another house in Chapel Hill just a couple of months ago. Her plan was to renovate and move in with her small children. She had said that the big house had too many bad memories. I think it is great that she was looking forward even at the end.

hookedonhouses December 8, 2010 at 10:54 am

It’s really remarkable how she never stopped living and looking to the future, right up until the end! -Julia

Tammy G December 8, 2010 at 10:43 am

Just wanted to let you know, I admired you 100%. You are truly a hero in my heart!
Your love was warming, inviting to everyone you knew. I wished I could have met you. True love to your family and friends at this time. May you be at peace and heaven.

Truly with care,

Tammy G

Mimi Linna December 8, 2010 at 10:55 am

so sad..what a strong woman.. not a big john edwards fan. still mad at him for hurting the family.

Luciane at Homebunch.com December 8, 2010 at 11:17 am

Hello, Julia.

This is so sad. It’s really difficult when somebody goes to the other “plan” (we shouldn’t say “when a life is “lost”, because a life is never “lost”, their love remains in our minds. It never goes away, it doesn’t get lost), and in this case I feel so much for those kids. I have 2 small children and all that I ask to God is have enough health for all of us, including me so I can always be there for them and to see their lives flourish. So, I feel sad for this family, but at the same time we need to take the best of it, and in this case we need to learn to have her strength. Her kids will always have that in their hearts, and that will keep them strong and in the right path.


Luciane at HomeBunch.com

PS: Dear, Julia. I truly appreciate your comment last night. I feel honored when you come visit me. :-)

Lori-Anne December 8, 2010 at 11:31 am

The quote from Elizabeth’s wall is by Leonard Cohen, a master poet/songwriter. I’m a big fan… apparently she was too!
.-= Lori-Anne´s last blog ..Ringing in the Season =-.

hookedonhouses December 8, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Thanks, Lori-Anne! I updated the post with your information. -Julia

Kim December 8, 2010 at 4:11 pm

I was sad to hear Elizabeth had died too. I had no idea that she was this sick. It’s nice to know that Elizabeth is no longer suffering and in a great place.

I love Elizabeth’s house. It is so beautiful and looks warm and inviting.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy... December 8, 2010 at 5:08 pm

O wow. I had no idea.

I have to give her one thing: She handled life with grace.

God rest her soul.
.-= Juju at Tales of Whimsy…´s last blog ..A Simple Amish Christmas Book Review =-.

The Nester December 8, 2010 at 6:29 pm

that top photo of her with her children is so moving. absolutely beautiful. I so admired her.
.-= The Nester´s last blog ..A Season of Intention =-.

Ann December 8, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Elizabeth certainly is a woman to be admired. She handled herself with such dignity and grace. I have nothing but the highest respect for her.

ljb December 8, 2010 at 7:58 pm

The plaque spoke to me so much. We can seem to have the perfect life to everyone around us while things are falling apart. We were never promised the perfect life so we should live like we have one. To the fullest and thankful for what we have.

amy@maisondecor December 8, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Her death is so sad, it was nice to see this little tribute to her today.
.-= amy@maisondecor´s last blog ..My Feather Tree Arrives and the Romantic Style Book winner! =-.

beth December 9, 2010 at 12:36 am

Elizabeth Edwards was classy – a lady in the best sense of the word, my grandmother’s sense, but also a real woman. She had some tough years but her composure and intelligence consistently showed through. I love the Leonard Cohen quote – I have it on my bulletin board at work, cut from the Oprah interview she did. I found her last Facebook post really inspirational as well:

“The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human.
But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful. It isn’t possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel to everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. To you I simply say: you know.”
.-= beth´s last blog ..A good week’s work =-.

margaret lopez December 9, 2010 at 7:43 am

will be sadly missed, my heart goes out to her children, god bless her

down-sizingboomer December 9, 2010 at 8:01 am

What a beautiful home for such a lovely lady.
.-= down-sizingboomer´s last blog ..Let There Be Light =-.

Jan December 10, 2010 at 2:33 am

Thank you Julia for posting about Elizabeth and her home. She was a remarkable woman in everything she did. I enjoyed the interview with Nate and was delighted that she looked so radiant in it. I was honestly shocked that the next thing I heard she had passed. I loved the room that she and Nate furnished for the wonderful single mother on the show who had lost her daughter. So creative and kind.
I was very hopeful her cancer would go into remission once she had some separation from the toxic behavior of her husband. We shall both grieve and glory her special life.
Jan, Vancouver

Lesley @ TheDesignFile December 10, 2010 at 10:37 am

I saw the Nate Berkus interview as well and found it incredibly moving, particularly so soon before she died. I was wondering how long ago it was taped.

Her home was beautiful. My favorite design tip she gave was to buy comfortable chairs – not dining chairs – for your dining room and lower your table to accommodate them. She said her dinner guests linger for a long time around the table.

But her life advice was even more moving.
.-= Lesley @ TheDesignFile´s last blog ..Black chandeliers add some panache =-.

hookedonhouses December 10, 2010 at 11:25 am

I read in an interview Nate gave that they had taped that segment before “The Nate Show” premiered, so it was probably late summer, early fall? Not that long ago, really. -Julia

Susan December 10, 2010 at 7:21 pm

That was terrible news, wasn’t it Julia. My heart breaks for the children. God bless them both.
.-= Susan´s last blog ..A Christmas Story Movie and House Tour =-.

beth December 11, 2010 at 3:16 pm

So, so sad that she passed, and my thoughts have been with her family.

One point I wanted to raise is that in a recent piece (NYT maybe?) there was a quote where she said (or a friend mentioned) that she did not want people to say she “lost” her battle with cancer. Just thought I’d mention that.

karen ho fatt@ fire pit reviews December 12, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Visiting the Carolinas is on the list of travel items. My husband wants me to see that side of the country.

Bless Elizabeth’s soul and those ladies stricken with breast cancer : as my own relative fights to recover from the same disease.
.-= karen ho fatt@ fire pit reviews´s last blog ..Corral 40? Granite Table Copper Fire Pit – A Classic- Practical Beauty =-.

Shannon December 12, 2010 at 7:27 pm

I love that quote!

Joanie January 5, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Love this post, Julia! I was so inspired by the quote on her kitchen wall, I wrote a post about it. Thank you for the inspiration!!

marlene ann soifer March 1, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I would like Chapil Hills address so I can send John Edwards a rememberance of Elizabeth Edwards. We are not strangers. He tried to help me.
Thankyou, Marlene Ann Soifer nee Barbash.

Mary May 24, 2012 at 8:55 pm

A beautiful home she created for her family. It is sad she is not here to enjoy watching her children grow up. She was a very courageous woman. I wonder does the Edward family still live at this home.

nanci May 31, 2012 at 4:25 pm

I think Elizabeth was extremely lonely in that house, but she showed great courage during her separation and cancer. If she was healthy she would’ve started dated a real man, not one who would cheat on her behind her back, and knew she couldn’t fight back mentally. Its on thing to get a divorce and move on, but for a partner to be sick and facing death and the other partner cheat, it takes a lot out of the weaker person, and for that I think Elizabeth was carrying two burdens, cancer and cheating, and she was too weak to do anything.

Mary May 31, 2012 at 11:23 pm

On the day when the John Edwards trial has ended for now, it seems so sad to see how Ms. Edwards suffered. I hope she found some peace before she died, but I tend to think she was unhappy or never got to a point of being able to accept her husband’s infidelity. It is also so sad to leave such a young family behind which may have been the most difficult part of her illness.

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