Ding Dong House, Washington Springs Road, Palisades, New York

From Chip Chop to Ding Dong. After looking at Diane Sawyer's Vineyard Haven house Chip Chop last week, I got to thinking, "I bet her other houses have been just as cool." And I was right. Trust a journalist to live in a house with a good story.

Remember that Chip Chop was built for actress Katherine Cornell? Turns out that Diane Sawyer and Mike Nichols wanted to own another one of her houses, too. They must have really liked her style. This one is called Peter Rock, after her father Peter, and the rocky terrain where it was built in 1951. It overlooks the Hudson River in Palisades, New York, and was also designed by Chip Chop's architect, Eric Gugler.

Sawyer and Nichols tried to buy it at a bankruptcy auction of the estate of Isley Brother Rudolph Isley in 1989. They were outbid by actor Bill Murray (which explains the Chicago Cubs logo in the swimming pool). Not surprisingly, there are very few photos of the house online.

I did find the view from the terrace overlooking the Hudson River, and also its barn framework:

Since Sawyer and Nichols were outbid on the Katherine Cornell house, they bought its charming neighbor instead:

It's just a stone's throw from Peter Rock.

They bought it in 1997, two years after they bought Chip Chop. It was the retreat from their summer retreat, I guess. Sawyer sold it in 2018, after Nichols' death in 2014.

It's 3,108 square feet, with three bedrooms and four bathrooms.

It also has a sweet little guest cottage:

It was built in 1925 for sculptor Mary Lawrence Tonetti (1868-1945), back when that area of Palisades was known as Snedens Landing (they didn't use an apostrophe). It's "where all the roads are dead ends, leading to the river, into the woods, or twisting up the cliffs."

Which brings us to Ding Dong. Mary Lawrence Tonetti lived in or built at least 25 houses all over Snedens Landing. (And, incidentally, her daughter Anne married architect Eric Gugler. Mary was also friends with Katherine Cornell.) Ding Dong was her first home.

It was built in 1750 by John Sneden (of the Snedens Landing Snedens).

It was nicknamed Ding Dong when it served as the Palisades Free Library, circa 1892. There used to be a bell over the gate.

Now there's a bell by the front door instead.

It's also gotten some more recent restorations and additions:

Here's what the living room looked like in 2013, before the recent renovations:

It's more important to show you what the house looks like now, because it's being sold fully furnished.

Upstairs are three bedrooms and three more bathrooms. The house has 3,207 square feet.

If it were mine, I'd flip the horse painting the other way:

Or I would do something like this in there instead:

That would give the room a better connection to what's going on outdoors:

Over the years, Ding Dong has been home to actors Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, Jerome Robbins, and Margot Kidder. As the listing says, it's an extraordinary home for extraordinary people. Just like Chip Chop.

More 2013 photos are here. A video tour is here. The listing is here.

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