Once in a while a home comes on the market that makes all other homes seem to be lacking that little something. And what’s lacking? That estate factor, that’s what! You see many of these more prestigious homes in the US are complete estates which, although they may have been a family home across several generations, have seen sympathetic and extensive modernisation, to create stunning homes and awesome accommodation. So where can you home-in on such high end accommodation?
The Crespi / Hicks Estate
This estate’s so prestigious it’s even been home to former president George Bush. Found nestled in the eminent Mayflower Estates of Preston Hollow, Dallas, the estate includes 25 acres of land and is known as one of the finest estate homes inAmerica. As an example of architectural significance, the estate has indeed had a high level of architectural input - from Maurice Fatio’s original design of the mansion, to Peter Marino’s later renovations and the gorgeous landscaping artistry of Arabella Lennox-Boyd.
The estate itself is a genuinely unique offering within the whole classification of ‘estate’ living, as instead of one large mansion with add-on structures, the estate has instead separate structures, including the main four storey house, a two storey guest house and a three storey pool house, with each structure separately designed to allow plenty of light and space.
The Crespi / Hicks estate has recently featured in the high-end Private Air Luxury Homes magazine, generating plenty of interest in the estate particularly and reviving interest in luxury estates in the US generally, although the Crespi / Hicks estate is thought to be one of the most expensive of all estate properties in the US, at a cool $135 million.
The American “Versailles” in Florida
One of the largest houses in the US… and still growing, is the fabulous Floridamansion known as the American “Versailles”. Located in Windermere, Florida, the 90,000 square foot property is not yet fully constructed – so potential buyers have the option of paying $75 million for the property in its ‘as seen’ state, or for $100 million the property will stand in completed splendour, ready for its new owner.
The original specification is based on the flamboyant 17th century Versailles Palace, home to Louis XIV and although work stalled whilst a business hiccup affected the current owners, construction has now picked up again and is due to be completed in 2015 – 11 whole years after construction originally began.
Meanwhile, in the Napa Valley
Another estate currently on the market with a significantly less price tag of $15 million, is the Napa Valley Mansion estate which was recently named “Best Estate in the United States”. The estate comprises of 20 acres and a 12,000 square foot house which spreads across six bedrooms, ten bathrooms, three offices, a guest house and wine cellar and a genuine Louis XIV fireplace reclaimed from a French chateau.
…And speaking of Castles
Down in rural Great Barrington, Massachusetts is another French-inspired property, the Searles Hopkins Castle. Constructed from stone, the 1888 French-style seven storey property covers over 54,000 square feet and includes 14 bedrooms ad 15 bathrooms. Another Louis XIV accent is present in an ornate drawing room with original painted ceiling, whilst there are 36 fireplaces across the castle, which enjoys extensive grounds, gardens, woods, waterways and outbuildings. At one time the castle accommodated a girls’ school, later becoming an academy for troubled teenagers. The castle has since remained on the market, with its original asking price of $15 million having been slashed to $11 million.