This house perched above the rocky coastline of Deer Isle, Maine, is famous for several reasons:
1) It was built in 1896 for landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.
2) It was designed by William Ralph Emerson, who originated the popular Shingle Style.
3) It was the filming location for Mel Gibson’s The Man Without a Face.
It’s on the market, so let’s take a look back at the house from the movie.
McLeod’s House in “Man Without a Face”
The Man Without a Face came out in 1993. Hard to believe it was that long ago. I remember seeing it the theater and loving the house way back then!
Here’s a scene from the movie that had young Chuck (Nick Stahl) being tutored by Justin McLeod (Gibson) on the porch overlooking the water:
The House in the Movie:
McLeod working in his living room:
The listing says, “An authentic summer cottage turned year-round home, the almost five-acre property includes dramatic coastline, a private beach, a tidal pier, and views across the open water that simply awe-inspiring.”
McLeod is an artist and the sunporch is set up as his studio in the movie:
This was also the filming location for the 2003 movie Finding Home
Frederick Law Olmsted Lived Here
The house was built for Frederick Law Olmsted, known as the father of American landscape architecture. He became famous for projects like New York’s Central Park, and his life was chronicled in the book Genius of Place.
In an interesting article about how the architect William R. Emerson created the popular Shingle Style, Dan Cooper writes about this house, known as Felsted:
One of Emerson’s later and most spectacularly sited works, Felsted, was built in 1896 in Deer Isle, ME, as the family cottage of renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.
Feldsted displays some of this evolution towards the Neoclassicism of the later Colonial Revival. The shingled arches are replaced by wood corbels and the porches are garnished with long, open spindled rails and balusters. More notably, the house, built into the side of a hill on the shore, has a full-story foundation that is constructed of the same stone, making it appear as if built on a outcropping.
The house has 6 bedrooms, 3 baths, and about 3,000 square feet.
For more photos and information about the Felsted Estate, check the listing
held by Kim Swan of the Swan Agency/Sotheby’s International Realty.
Such a beautiful house but wow that kitchen is disappointing. It definitely needs some TLC. I guess the location makes up for it 🙂
Yeah, I’m surprised it wasn’t updated more along the way, but it’s fun to see how similar it is to how it looked in the movie all those years ago.
Beautiful, of course! This post has me wanting to read Olmsted’s biography. I wonder if I can get it from the library?
I want to read it, too. I read a great review of it that said it was really fascinating. He led an interesting and kind of tragic life, apparently.
Wow, what a house and history! Needs some work, but definitely worth restoring. Hope some preservation minded millionaire architect buys it! Olmsted is well known in these parts, having done the landscape design for the Biltmore Estate. That biography would be interesting.
P.S. Not to mention, of course, such a spectacular site. Love this part of Maine.
Alie B says
Many waterfront homes are designed so the front faces the water and the back faces the road. This could be the case here. I agree, the road side is pretty lackluster. A few more plants and flowers would really help.
Aaaaah!!! How I would love to own this house! Perfect location, perfect style. It definitely needs a little bit of color and cluttering, and maybe some wallpaper, but I would not modernize much at all. I love that the kitchen hasn’t been updated. I’d just change a few little things there, add a nice eat-in area, and get rid of those awful light fixtures. I’d make the sunroom my painting studio too. Oh my gosh, I want this place. Think I can find a spare $2.5+ million in my couch cushions?
It can’t hurt to look! I’ll cross my fingers for you that someone left a stash of money under the cushions, Laura. 😉
Wowza! I want to live in that house! Usually I like the movie versions of houses with more “real people” feel to them, but I loved the simplified way they presented it for sale. The hoarder look made me tense and depressed and every time I scrolled down to the present day shot my nerve endings said, “Yes, yes!” I especially loved the sunroom with it’s pops of fuchsia. And the dining room with those light fixtures. Maybe because I have one like that. An antique that I found in a junk shop in Italy and carried home with me. Yes, I’ll take that house. It doesn’t need much to be perfect for me. I like a little bit of authentic scruffy in a house. Just needs a little love in the kitchen, but not too much. I wouldn’t put in a new modern kitchen. Just a rustic table for a work space and a retro fridge. I’d be happy with my bright red Viking, or better, an Aga. And a good coat of paint. I live in Mill Valley, CA where the houses are stupid expensive. You could pay a million for a tear down cottage (not that I would ever tear down a cottage!). So to get a house like that for that price makes me feel faint.
Okay, I took a better look. The kitchen ceiling needs to be dealt with too. But wouldn’t it be fun picking out light fixtures for that room? And there is a wee bit more maintenance needed around the place that I initially glossed over (boarded up windows in the sun room, for example). And I noticed that the light fixtures I like are in the living room, not the dining room. Doesn’t it seem like it’s bigger than 3,000 sf? Which is good, because 3,000 is already too much house.
I can tell I’m going to be thinking about this one all day.
What a blast from the past! My now 34 year old son, Nick, auditioned for the part of the boy eons ago! What a whirlwind time that was but, unfortunately, he didn’t get the part and had to settle not for a life not as a child star, but as a lowly geo-chemist, world-traveler and well adjusted father of two. We dodged a bullet on that one! Lovely home!
No kidding?? That’s so wild that he auditioned for that role. Sounds like he did okay for himself anyway, though. Ha. 🙂
Laura in Sacto says
I like the eclectic look of the inside of the house (film version) more than what is going on now. I just happen to like that look. What stunning views. Takes my breath away.
Wow! That house looks much larger than 3000 sq ft from the exterior photographs!
I was thinking the same thing!
Wow. Love the house (that setting!) but had to comment on the timing of your post. I just sat down with my newly delivered book – A Clearing in the Distance – a biography written by Witold Rybczynski (have you read his book “Home”) about Frederick Law Olmsted. Arrived today shortly after I read this post!
No kidding? That’s some kind of timing! 🙂
House Crazy Sarah says
The sun porch – simply amazing! And the photography is just enchanting!
That house is incredible and what potential!! I forgot about that film, but I do recall it being a good, yet sad one.
Kelly D says
Love this home! The sunporch is pretty amazing but the view is spectacular! Only thing I would do is bring back and old fridge and stove to the kitchen. Then the rest of the time would be spent admiring the view. 🙂
One of my all-time favorite movie houses. The way it was styled for the movie was just amazing. I’m not a stickler about this, but I so hope the new owner leaves the woodwork unpainted. The rustic nature of this house is it’s best feature.
Alie B says
Looks like a good movie. I’ll have to check that out. Beautiful old home! The only things I would do are refinishing the floors, and giving the kitchen a facelift. Otherwise, it’s perfect IMO. Thanks for all the interesting history as well, Julia.
Christine Ralston says
Dream house for sure!!! Anyone who loves Maine and making sure the story behind the history remains intact want go in on it with me? If I had the bankroll I woud buy it in a second. Thank you for posting always loved that movie and the house.