"It took me a lifetime to build that home. The home I never had when I was growing up," Lee wrote of the New York residence she moved out of on Wednesday

By Mackenzie Schmidt
December 16, 2020 02:41 PM
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Sandra Lee is reflecting on her time at the New York home she's left behind — and looking ahead to a holiday season that might not be quite as bright this year.

In a post on Instagram Wednesday, the celebrity chef, 54, shared a gallery of images of her former Westchester County home, dubbed "Lily Pond," decorated for Christmas over the years. She shared the house for a time with her former partner, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. It sold in October and Lee opened up this week about the heartwrenching process of packing up and moving out.

"I woke up early this morning and all I could do is look at beautiful pictures of how I decorated Lily Pond for the holidays. Hoping for some inspiration," she wrote in her most recent post. "How am I [ever] going to rebuild my life — I don’t think it’s possible."

She continued, "It took me a lifetime to build that home. The home I never had when I was growing up. Warm and clean with a spectacular view from every room. I can’t even imagine how I’m going to rebuild it or where I can rebuild it or that it’s even rebuildable."

Lee purchased the 1940 Colonial-style four-bedroom in 2008 and gave it a careful update and restoration, keeping original elements including the brick floors, doorknobs and hardware. She invited PEOPLE inside the property for a 2019 Hollywood at Home feature, in which she touted the historic home "smells like cookies and feels like heaven."

Credit: David A. Land

“It’s very cozy in here, even though there are a lot of references to history and politics and sort of a gravitas,” she said at the time. The “Founding Fathers dining room,” for example showcases framed copies of letters from George Washington, James Madison and others, along with an antique wooden refrigerator and 19th-century ballot box.

“I think the most important thing, when you put a house together, is to make sure it reflects your family, and what your family stands for,” she added. “I want anyone and everyone who comes in here to feel like this is their home.”

WATCH THIS: See Inside Sandra Lee’s New York Estate That 'Smells Like Cookies and Feels Like Heaven'

While she has her happy memories to reflect on, the TV personality is struggling with her feelings of loss during the move— and the prospect of creating a new home and a new life.

"How do you start again after you tear apart your house and stick it in storage. I guess that’s where my feelings have been over the last couple years, in storage. This entire thing has torn me apart." she wrote.

Lee and Cuomo were together for 14 years before announcing their split in September 2019. She listed her home for sale, asking $2 million, in May 2019, sparking speculation about an impending end to the relationship.

She concluded her post: One day at a time everyone says . . . so today I’m going to try to get ready for Christmas. I’m going to wrap presents and organize shipments of presents to Fam’Lee in Seattle although I don’t feel like Aunt Sandy Claus today."

Sandra Lee
| Credit: Sophie Fritz/startraksphoto.com

Lee was photographed loading her things into a U-Haul near the residence on Wednesday. She will be moving to California where she recently purchased a property in Malibu for $3.38 million. She also owns a $7 million property in nearby Beverly Hills, which will be her primary residence, according to the New York Post.

Earlier this week, Lee shared two photos of the exterior of Lily Pond and got candid about how difficult saying goodbye has been.

"Today will be one of the saddest days of my life. Today is the day that I do the final move out from Lily Pond. I love that house and I have a personal relationship with every single room of that home," she captioned one post. "I hope the new owners take care of it as well as I did and I will love it forever. #thehousethatbuiltme"

In another post, Lee said her "last moments on Lily Pond were very BitterSweet."

"I walked around the outside of my beautiful home —I wanted to drink in every angle and remember the beautiful moments that were spent in every place," she wrote. "I stopped at the top of the hill where I planted one of 6 tree lines of evergreen trees and 200 daffodil bulbs —-I just looked at the house, I prayed the next owners would be kind to it and love it as I did—- I cried and cried."