Photo: Bob Gothard/Wallace and Co. Sotheby’s International Realty
Diane Sawyer has officially sold Chip Chop, the beloved Martha’s Vineyard property she bought for $5.3 million in 1995 with her late husband, Mike Nichols. According to the Wall Street Journal, the buyer is healthcare investor David Malm, who paid $23.9 million for the picturesque 20-acre spread—a very slight discount from the $24 million that the legendary broadcast journalist sought upon listing the estate about two months ago.
Malm’s purchase is the latest addition to an extensive real estate portfolio in the area. He has now spent over $100 million on properties in Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket in just a few years. “I don’t invest in the stock market,” the businessman told the WSJ in January, following the $15 million purchase of an early 20th-century Edgartown home, for which he relied on prominent local architect Patrick Ahearn’s renovating prowess. Instead, he’s leaned into amassing luxury rentals in the popular vacation area. “It’s worked well,” he told the outlet of his strategy.
First envisioned by renowned neoclassical architect Eric Gugler—who remodeled the West Wing of the White House under President Franklin D. Roosevelt—Sawyer’s former estate started off with just the main house, built in 1945 for prolific Broadway actress Katharine Cornell. It now consists of a 17.4-acre lot and one measuring in at 2.84 acres, both enveloped by a mile of sandy beaches on the Vineyard Sound and Lake Tashmoo. Apart from the 5,000-square-foot New England-style main house, there are other shingled buildings scattered throughout the property, including a two-bedroom caretaker’s cottage, two modern beach cottages known as “The Shacks,” and two additional detached bedroom suites known as “The Pond Pavilion” and “The Ocean Pavilion,” both of which serve as guest accommodations.
Sawyer and Nichols took great care with restorations upon purchasing the property, ensuring that the home’s original understated elegance was preserved. The duo added dormers as well as hand-carved replica windows and doors to the three-bedroom main home, which also boasts 10 chimneys. Raw wood beams, ceilings, and wall paneling are highlights of the main house, as are floor-to-ceiling windows that allow light to pour into the interior.
There are several porches and decks for lounging around the property, most notably the patio hosting the main house’s pool, which overlooks the Sound. A tennis court is also discretely nestled in a private corner of the property.
Former owner Cornell loved entertaining the influencers of her era at the estate, including playwrights and actors like Noel Coward and Laurence Olivier, and cultural and political figures like Eleanor Roosevelt. Once the property was in their hands, Sawyer and Nichols followed suit. Nichols, a successful film and stage director himself, had a chance to be hosted by Cornell; Sawyer tells The Wall Street Journal that he “fell in love with the Vineyard in the ’60s and always remembered the day he visited Katharine Cornell at her home… He said it was the most beautiful house he’d ever seen.”
Sawyer also told the publication that “the rhythms of summer have changed,” when explaining her reason for selling the storied property. Her family is now larger and “there is less free time for long visits to the island.” Sawyer was represented by Mark Jenkins of Wallace and Co. Sotheby’s International Realty in the sale. Malm was represented by Tom Wallace, the principal broker of Wallace and Co. Sotheby’s International Realty.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
More Great Celebrity Style Stories From AD
Not a subscriber? Join AD for print and digital access now.
Browse the AD PRO Directory to find an AD-approved design expert for your next project.