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Stay in Julie Andrew's former New York home through Airbnb

We catch glimpses of celebrities' daily lives through Instagram. We read their thoughts on Twitter. Now you can sleep where they slept, thanks to home owners who are renting out former celebrity homes on Airbnb.

While some of the listings, such as those for the former homes of actresses Emily Blunt and Julie Andrews, do not list the celebrities by name, Airbnb managing director of South-east Asia and India, Mr Jia Jih Chai, says the homes themselves are verified by Airbnb and their history of celebrity residents is well known to fans and the media.

"It's about being able to immerse themselves in the soul of a neighbourhood... Anyone can stroll down the Walk of Fame along Hollywood Boulevard, but staying in the home of a celebrity will add a whole new flavour to your stay in Los Angeles," he says.

JULIE ANDREWS' ARTISTIC RETREAT ($740/night)

This unusual-looking structure nestled among the boulders and forested hillside of upstate New York was owned by Oscar-, Grammy- and Tony-winning actress Julie Andrews. Called The Rubber House, it was originally built 35 years ago for dancer and choreographer Eugene Loring, known for choreographing the American ballet classic Billy The Kid, and his partner, a chef.

The two-bedroom home features a dance studio with sprung wood floors, a wall of dance mirrors and a barre; vaulted glass kitchen; and a nature-tuned palette of ochre, sage and blue to reflect the surrounding landscape, of which one has expansive views, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows.

Located on 2.8ha of wooded land, the home takes its name from its unusual exterior - unpainted neoprene, a synthetic rubber more commonly used in fly fishing waders, scuba dry suits and laptop sleeves.

Upstairs, the full-sized master bedroom features a fireplace and 270-degree views of the private meadow and woods from curved glass windows, a large wooden deck and a master bathroom with an inviting double tub that looks out into the trees.

A minimum stay of two nights - three nights between Dec 1 and Feb 28 - is required for the landmark property, about a two-hour drive north of Manhattan. Book here.

EMILY BLUNT'S HOLLYWOOD HOME ($733/night)

It is a breeze to imagine actress Emily Blunt and her husband, actor John Krasinksi, living the glamorous life in this single-storey, 278 sq m property in the Hollywood Hills. Built on a bluff with stunning views of the valley and the bright lights of Hollywood beyond, the gated compound accommodates more than 16 people in six bedrooms.

Hardwood floors and homely all-white interiors are accented by antique furniture, romantic chandeliers and Art Deco lamps.

An open-plan living room and newly renovated kitchen are great for catering to large get-togethers, while French doors lead guests to an expansive patio and courtyard with a jacuzzi hot tub and stunning drop-off views.

It is a 10-minute walk down into the heart of Hollywood. Book here. 

JOHN STEINBECK'S WRITER'S STUDIO ($259/night)

This cornflower-blue cottage with gabled roofs and original 1920s architecture was once John Steinbeck's writing studio. It sits on a property which also houses The Steinbeck Cottage, where the author lived, and The Traveller's Cottage for his guests.

The American author of The Grapes Of Wrath (1939), East Of Eden (1952) and Of Mice And Men (1937) bought the three-cottage property in the early 1940s and penned a number of his novels there, including The Log From The Sea Of Cortez (1951).

In the Writer's Studio, red accents and oceanic motifs decorate the cosy interior, which comes with a full bathroom, sitting area, fully stocked kitchen, cable TV and wireless Internet. Outside, mature oak trees cast their shade over flower beds and a quaint sitting area with two wooden chairs.

Located in the coastal city on the tip of the scenic Monterey Peninsula, the property is less than 1km from downtown Pacific Grove and the historic Cannery Row, which used to be the site of sardine-canning factories which have now been converted into restaurants and hotels.

The Steinbeck and Traveller's cottages can be rented individually for $289 a night or as a package along with the Writer's Studio. There is a two-night minimum stay for each cottage. Book here. 

APARTMENT COMPLEX BY CHARLIE CHAPLIN ($193/night)

Located less than three blocks from the former Charlie Chaplin Studios (now the Jim Henson Company Lot), the quirky apartment complex is rumoured to be built by the comedic legend in the early 1920s to house his studio stage crew.

Famous former tenants of the 25 apartments include some of Hollywood's greatest silent film stars, such as Douglas Fairbanks Sr and Rudolph Valentino. The latter lived in a 51 sq m apartment that is now for rent. It has a queen-sized loft, stained-glass windows, the original decorative fireplace and a large bay window overlooking the courtyard.

All apartments are unique - one has white stucco walls and rounded rooms, while another resembles a rustic Swiss cottage, with floor-to-ceiling pine and exposed beams.

It is within walking distance from some of Los Angeles' most famous streets, including Sunset Boulevard and Melrose Avenue. Book here. 

BING CROSBY'S PRIVATE RETREAT ($1000/night)

This landmark 1934 Hacienda-style house belonged to Bing Crosby, one of the most famous Hollywood actors and singers of the 1930s and 1940s. He is best known for his recording of Irving Berlin's White Christmas, which made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century.

The interior of this four-bedroom, 300 sq m home is done up in a Mexican-influenced style. It has vaulted ceilings with exposed beams, original tiled floors, a traditional fireplace, a newly renovated chef's kitchen and an antique jukebox playing the former famous owner's famous hits.

There is also a screening room with a 2.5m by 4.5m screen and surround-sound.

Palm Springs is known for its hot springs, golf courses and spas. But with its views of the San Jacinto Mountains and its facilities - a full- sized heated swimming pool, a ping-pong table and a full wet bar - you may find it hard to leave to explore the neighbourhood.

There is a minimum three nights' stay. Book here.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 24, 2016, with the headline 'Live like the stars'. Print Edition | Subscribe

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