Guest Family Estate Put on the Market

It’s the end of an era. Templeton, the family estate of the Guest family, has officially been put on the market. Cornelia Guest, the daughter of the late Winston and C. Z. Guest, has listed the property in Old Westbury, N.Y. for $6.9 million.

The red-brick Georgian-style home, built in 1924, retains the influence and style of the late family matriarch, C.Z. Guest. Approaching the house from the winding pebbled driveway across the estate’s grounds, one could easily feel as if in pastoral England. The main home features 28 rooms, while the estate is completed by a swimming pool, clay tennis court, barn, greenhouses and guest cottages. The 15-acre grounds also feature the famous topiary gardens established by C.Z., an avid gardener.

Though C.Z. had the traditional upbringing of a pedigreed Boston Brahmin, she stood out from the pack – hitting the stage on Broadway in a revival of the Ziegfeld Follies and traveling to Mexico, where she was painted in the nude by Diego Rivera himself. However, when C.Z. married Winston Frederick Churchill Guest, heir to the Phipps steel fortune and second cousin of British PM Sir Winston Churchill, she settled into her role as a monarch of New York high society. Guests flocked to Templeton to pay homage, including everyone from Yves Saint Laurent to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

C.Z. spent her days at Templeton riding her thoroughbred horses across the tree-lined grounds and tending to her famous gardens. The gardens were tended with such elegance and care that C.Z. became the go-to for friends with horticultural queries. When C.Z. was sidelined by an injury, iconic fashion editor and friend Diana Vreeland urged her to use her downtime to pen a book about her gardening knowledge. A prizewinning horticulturist, C.Z. went on to have her own syndicated gardening column, which appeared in newspapers across the country.

Though the home still boasts the potted plants and floral bouquets characteristic of C.Z., Cornelia Guest has made clear she does not wish to take up her mother’s mantle as the estate’s chatelaine. Cornelia was one of the original cadre of pedigreed girls to dominate not only high society but also the tabloids, dubbed as the Deb of the decade by Time in 1986. In a recent interview, Cornelia spoke of her desire to cultivate a space of her own. “I want a place to make my own memories now. I want a place that works for me. This house is too much, it needs a family,” Cornelia said in an interview with The New York Times. “The wind hits you hard when your mother dies. And you’re forced to grow up.” Cornelia is building her own legacy now, running a catering business based on her vegan principles and supporting a stable of charities, including the Humane Society of New York.

C.Z. once commented “that having a garden is like having a good and loyal friend.” With Templeton on the market, it looks like one lucky family may soon count the estate as their own friend and legacy.

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