More than 20 years ago, Elton John made his thoughts on minimalism quite clear. He shared a design philosophy with his friend, the late Gianni Versace, on the subject of living with less. The beloved couturier often made the case that less is less and more is more. “And more is good,” John told Architectural Digest in a May 2000 interview. “A lot more is very good.”
It should come as no surprise, then, that the musician has amassed a significant real estate portfolio throughout the last nearly 50 years. His first home purchase was in 1974, a year after the release of the album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, which features some of his most iconic songs, like “Bennie and the Jets” and “Candle in the Wind.”
Known as Woodside, John’s estate in Berkshire, England, has undergone several renovations over the years, most notably after the superstar went to rehab in 1990.
“When I came out of rehab ten years ago, I realized that life is so much more beautiful than my house reflected,” John said in the same AD interview. “I wanted a normal life, a traditional country house…. Ever since then, I’ve always had a decorating project under way, and because I always want to do more, each house is a work in progress. If I weren’t a musician, I would love to be a decorator.”
When not performing to sold-out crowds, the 75-year-old artist is putting his design eye to use. Beyond his classic English country house, John also owns properties across Europe, including a summer house in Nice, France, and an apartment in Venice. Stateside, he has an Atlanta condo and two mansions in the Trousdale Estates neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Here, AD recounts the many out-of-this-world homes belonging to the Rocket Man himself, what they sold for, and where they are now.
Fresh off the success of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, John bought his Woodside estate for £400,000 (about 4.2 million British pounds, or $5.17 million, today), which he affectionately calls “the hub.” Located near Queen Elizabeth’s palace in Windsor, the sprawling property has eight bedrooms, classic English interiors, gorgeous gardens, tennis courts, a library, and an 18th-century orangery that John restored with the help of designers Andrew Protheroe and Adrian Cooper-Grigg.
For some years, his grandmother lived in an apartment in the orangery. “She looked after me when I was starting out,” John previously told AD. “It was my turn to look after her. I used to say to her, ‘Nan, let me make these rooms nice for you.’ And she would always say, ‘No, dear, you save your money.’ After she died, I wanted to create something in her memory.” His Windsor home has been the setting for countless lavish parties and galas over the decades, many of which benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
John’s Queensdale townhome is located in the Holland Park area of London, and at one point it was the setting for his collection of blond furniture, including several Biedermeier pieces that were inspired by a visit to the late singer Freddie Mercury’s house.
“Freddie had a tallboy of Karelian birch that was so beautiful it could almost have been rare stone,” John told AD. “Blond wood glows with the colors of the sun.” However, in 2003, he sold off many of the wares in his London home in a Sotheby’s auction , so what remains is somewhat of a mystery.
The musician has been relatively mum about his other design inspiration for the London property, though a 2020 Instagram post gave fans a glimpse into the never-before-seen library.
It’s not clear exactly when John took the plunge on his 1920s villa in Nice, France, (or how much he paid for it, though some reports say it’s worth upwards of 15 million British pounds) but he’s made it more than just a summer getaway for himself and his family over the years. In fact, the property has played host to countless celebrity guests, including Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who stayed there in 2019.
“After a hectic year continuing their hard work and dedication to charity, David and I wanted the young family to have a private holiday inside the safety and tranquility of our home,” John tweeted at the time. Although it was pink for many years, the latest iteration of the home boasts a soft yellow hue, a pool, gardens, and significant art and china collections.
Looking to purchase his first property in the United States, John eschewed New York City and Los Angeles in favor of Atlanta, landing on a condo on the 36th floor of a high-rise building. “I like that Southern hospitality,” John told AD in a June 1993 interview.
“Everyone is incredibly courteous and friendly.” The 6,000-square-foot space looks out over lush treetops and old houses in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. When John was in the midst of redecorating, the white walls were removed and repainted 13 times to get a reflective surface. Some of the notable changes were two smaller rooms combined into one for the dining room, and parquet de Versailles–patterned floors laid throughout.
When an Italian getaway is calling, John can always stay at his home across the lagoon on the island of Giudecca in Venice. He reportedly owns a one-bedroom apartment in a 17th-century palazzo that boasts water views from its Gothic windows. Like his London townhouse, specific details of this property are few and far between, but given the star’s penchant for lavish design, its interiors are presumably just as statement-making as his other homes.
Twelve years ago, John bought a two-bedroom home located along the Sussex coast for his mother Sheila. Back then, the price tag was 650,000 British pounds, or approximately $881,176. After she passed away at the age of 92, John sold the property (which featured a conservatory and a separate summerhouse) in 2018 for 950,000 British pounds (about $1.28 million).
Although he once expressed a reluctance to live in Los Angeles, that all changed a decade ago when John and husband David Furnish purchased a 5,000-square-foot Beverly Hills home to make room for their growing family. Built in 1966, the Trousdale Estates property was decorated by Martyn Lawrence Bullard, who outfitted the space with loads of color, texture, and—of course—iconic artwork. “Everything is centered around the art,” John told AD in a March 2013 interview. Paintings by Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, and Philip Taaffe adorn the walls, along with Richard Caldicott’s striking photographs of Tupperware. “Certainly there was a family slant in the art we chose,” Furnish said at the time. “We focused on things that are colorful and positive and celebrations of life.”
Why settle for one L.A. mansion when you can have two, especially when they’re right next to each other? John made headlines last year when he and Furnish expanded their L.A. real estate portfolio into the next lot over, buying the Trousdale Estates home that neighbors their existing abode for $8.5 million. According to public records, this property comes in at 5,343 square feet and features five bedrooms, four bathrooms, two pools, and sweeping hilltop views. The design-savvy couple has yet to release any images of the interiors, but given their history of renovating, it’s likely that some projects are already underway.
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