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Kurt Cobain’s Former House

Jul 26th, 2010 | By | Category: Celebrity Homes

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While visiting the Pacific Northwest this past May, my good friend and fellow stalker Kerry took me to stalk a location that, at first, I actually wasn’t all that interested in seeing – the Seattle-area home where Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain passed away on April 5, 1994.  I’d never really been into Kurt Cobain or Nirvana or the Grunge Movement as a whole  – let’s face it, if it’s not sung by Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, or Michael Buble, I probably haven’t heard it  ;) – which is why seeing the Cobain home wasn’t really one of my top priorities while visiting Seattle.  But I am so, so thankful that Kerry took me there, as Kurt’s former residence is an ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL place.  In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that it is one of my favorite places that I’ve ever stalked . . . ever!  And that has nothing to do with the fact that Kurt Cobain once lived there, but is simply because the property is just that spectacular.  I can’t even put into words my feelings about the place – it is just extraordinarily serene, quiet, and stunningly beautiful.  In fact, the property is so peaceful that it is extremely hard to imagine someone like Courtney Love ever living there.

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The Cobains first purchased the three-story, five bedroom, 7,808 square foot Cape Cod-style home, which was built in 1902 and is located in Seattle’s upscale Denny-Blaine neighborhood, in January of 1994 for $1.13 million.  At the time, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz lived next door.  Less than four months later, on April 8, 1994, Kurt’s lifeless body was discovered by an electrician in the greenhouse located above the property’s garage.  The Nirvana singer was dead at the age of 27 from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.  The coroner later estimated that Kurt had most likely died three days earlier, on April 5.  And while reports continually say that Kurt passed away in a “greenhouse”, I believe the space was actually more of a spare room or a gardener’s shed than it was an actual greenhouse.   Sadly, Courtney had the entire garage and the room above it razed in 1996 after growing annoyed at the many stalkers who came by to take pictures of it.  She later said that the garage had become “bigger than the Space Needle”.  You can see a picture of what it used to look like here.  Courtney ended up selling the home in 1997 to a non-celebrity couple and, along with daughter Frances Bean, relocated to Beverly Hills.  According to the Cellar Door Blog, Courtney put a clause in the home’s sale documents stating that she would be allowed to remove a certain willow tree from the property at any future point in time should she so choose.  Supposedly, some of Kurt’s ashes were spread at the foot of that tree, but it is unclear whether or not she ever returned to remove it. 

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My favorite part about Kurt’s former home, and what I think makes the property so special, is the fact that it borders the absolutely gorgeous Viretta Park.  In 1901, the 1.8 acre park was donated to the city by C.L. Denny, son of Seattle founder Arthur Denny, who named the space in honor of his wife, Viretta Jackson Denny.  Supposedly, Kurt liked to walk the park grounds during the brief four months he lived next door and it’s not very hard to see why.  The park has an incredibly calming affect – and that’s coming from someone who, admittedly, is a major Type A personality!  ;)   I honestly can’t say enough about the place.  The grounds are small and intimate, the foliage is lush and green, and the deep blue waters of Lake Washington are visible just across the road.   It’s truly breathtaking. 

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Since Cobain’s death, the park has become a sort of unofficial memorial to the late singer, with messages scrawled to him on benches and trees.  And while I normally wouldn’t like that sort of thing at all, in this case, for whatever reason, it seems to fit.

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My fiancé was very proud of the above photograph which he took while we were there as he managed to get both the bench and Kurt’s former house in the frame.

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When I got home from Seattle, I immediately purchased Ian Halperin’s controversial book Love & Death: The Murder of Kurt Cobain, which I had seen in a bookstore a few years before, but had never had any particular interest in reading.  Until I visited his house, that is, at which point I remembered the book and knew that I just had to buy it.  And I must say that it was FABULOUS!  I literally could NOT put it down.  I highly recommend it to everyone, whether you were a fan of Nirvana or not.  I recently loaned the book to my friend Nat and she, too, said she could NOT put it down. 

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In an ironic side note – While Kurt’s former home is located at 171 Lake Washington Boulevard East, we mistakenly first stalked the property located at 171 Lake Washington Boulevard West.  Apparently, we weren’t the only ones to ever make this mistake, either, because the owner of the property at 171 West has a sign in his front yard which points stalkers in the direction of the correct location.  Love it!

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Big THANK YOU to Kerry for taking me to this location!  :)

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  :)

Stalk It: Kurt Cobain’s former house is located at 171 Lake Washington Boulevard East in the Denny-Blaine district of Seattle.  Howard Schultz’s former home is located next door at 120 39th Avenue East.

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8 comments

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  1. Lilo says:

    Actually, Courtney had the building moved to the other side of the property – away from prying eyes.

    It was razed a few years after it was moved.

  2. landon woodall says:

    im a huge nirvana/kurt cobain fan and i whould love to visit those sites

  3. Jon says:

    I really enjoied this article, thanks for posting! I’m gonna get the book u mentioned too.

  4. Erin says:

    Thanks so much for this post! I always google street view this park and think how pretty it is. I love that you took the time to stalk it even though weren’ a fan. I’ll be buying that book for sure now – its sounds like a good read.

  5. Ashley says:

    I just watched Courtney’s Behind the Music, so this house was fresh in my mind. I think it looks even more beautiful in your photos! (and yes, the Grim Cheaper gets major props for that photo he took with the bench, awesome!) My husband is a big Nirvana fan, I’m going to email this to him & also see if he can add the book to our library queue!

  6. cobainreed says:

    haha i was just there 3 times the week of of july 11 so this is so funny to me i to love this house and i am a fan but i am not a stalker i just love it there it is so peaceful and relaxing

  7. Michelle says:

    I love this one! I was a huge, HUGE Kurt Cobain buff in high school. I love that even though you weren’t that into him/his music you could still appreciate the last place he lived.

  8. Lavonna says:

    Good post! I’ll have to read the book.


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