Elizabeth Edwards’ Home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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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    • hookedonhouses says

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

  1. says

    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 =-.

  2. says

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

  3. says

    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.


  4. Sindy says

    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 says

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

      • Sindy says

        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!

  5. says

    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! =-.

  6. says

    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 =-.

  7. says

    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 =-.

  8. says

    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.

  9. says

    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 says

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

  10. says

    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 =-.

  11. Susan S says

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

  12. says

    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 =-.

  13. Brian says

    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 says

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

  14. Tammy G says

    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

  15. Mimi Linna says

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

  16. says

    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. :-)

    • hookedonhouses says

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

  17. Kim says

    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.

  18. Ann says

    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.

  19. ljb says

    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.

  20. says

    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 =-.

  21. margaret lopez says

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

  22. Jan says

    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

  23. says

    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 says

      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

  24. beth says

    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.

  25. says

    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!!

  26. marlene ann soifer says

    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.

  27. Mary says

    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.

  28. says

    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 says

      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.