This historic Italian Renaissance style estate, built in 1911, represents an era of great style and opulence. Throughout the decades it has been beautifully maintained and graciously updated to preserve all of its architectural grandeur. With commanding views, beautiful stonework, and lush gardens, this remarkable property evokes the splendor of a European villa.
From the magnolia lined streets of Charleston, South Carolina to the rocky shores of the Italian Riviera, explore homes we’ve collected in some of the world’s most romantic places as we approach the holiday of love, Valentine’s Day.
Charleston, South Carolina
According to Fodor’s, Charleston’s pristine gardens, historic ambiance, and laid-back Southern charm make it an ideal romantic getaway. The Jacob Mott House, a distinguished 18th Century masonry home in the heart of downtown Charleston is a true historical gem. Located South of Broad, this early Georgian 3 1/2 story masonry single house was built by Jacob Motte, who was a Huguenot and Royal Treasurer of the Province. Considered historically important to the city, this well-appointed historic treasure offers gracious rooms, two prominent piazzas which provide beautiful vistas of St. Michaels, Charleston’s oldest church. Located in the perfect downtown location for a romantic stroll among historic homes and lush gardens.
Overlooking the sea on the Levante Italian Riviera between Santa Margherita and San Michele di Pagana, this villa boasts a luxurious oasis of peace and tranquility. The property covers approximately 2500 square meters of terraced land cultivated as a garden with illuminated plants and a panoramic swimming pool with beautiful views of the sea. From climbing the Cinque Terre trails, exploring the harbor villages and exploring endless vineyards, romance is abounding in the Italian Riviera.
Turquoise waters, endless mountain views, white sandy beaches and authentic Mediterranean food, there’s no question that The Greek Isles are a favorite for romance seekers. Villa Hypatia in Mykonos sits on a cliff facing the west to take in the most spectacular sunsets. With ample lounging areas, infinity pool and striking ocean views, romance will never be far away.
The City of Lights is synonymous with romance. Whether it’s a romantic photo in front of the Eiffel Tower or a stroll along the Seine, Paris is for lovers. This penthouse that sits atop a high standing Art Deco building built by Roux-Spitz, offers a breathtaking view of Paris and its monuments including the Grand Palais, Sacré Coeur and the Eiffel Tower. A raised terrace above the apartment features 360 degree views of the city below.
Originally built in the late 1880s, an impressive Greek Revival addition was later added to this country estate with historic redwood columns. Imported French solid mahogany doors, reclaimed Spanish marble floors, and a Murano chandelier decorate the stunning entrance. The historic fireplace mantle was imported from the French-German border and gives the home one of its many European influenced touches.
This superb Italianate mansion, the only survivor of the many mansions that once ringed Dupont Circle itself, was built in 1901 by New York architect Stanford White for Robert Patterson, editor of the Chicago Tribune, and his wife Nellie Patterson, heiress to the Chicago Tribune fortune. It was built by Nellie Patterson, daughter of the Chicago Tribune owner, in 1901, when Dupont Circle was the hot new neighborhood for the nouveau riche, many of them also from Chicago. The grand Beaux-Arts edifice was inspired by the “White City” of the Chicago World’s Fair. “It was meant to entertain, and for Nellie Patterson to show off her wealth,” says historian Amanda Smith, author of “Cissy Patterson: Newspaper Titan.”
Designed by William Bates and completed in 1896, Wildwood is located in Bronxville, New York and was extensively renovated in 2001 to luxury standards. It has the original Victorian-style windows, hardwood floors and 3 historic fireplaces.
“The Sword Gate House rests behind one of the most recognized gates in all of Charleston. This very fine Federal style home is grand with Adam detailed beautiful wood and plaster work. This home is positioned well back from Legare and Tradd Streets and is surrounded on all sides by a magnificent collection of Charleston gardens and patios.”
It’s no secret that the mid-century modern style has come back in a significant way in recent years. From furniture to art to design, the mid-century modern movement has reemerged as one of the preeminent trends of this decade.
Left: Barcelona® Chair Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, produced by Knoll®, $5,271.00, designwithinreach.com; Right: Frank Lloyd Wright Laylight from the Darwin D. Martin House, Buffalo, NY (c. 1903-1905), LOT SOLD. 149,000 USD, Sothebys.com
With it’s clean lines, natural style it’s no wonder there has been a resurgence in its popularity. In honor of this classic modern style, explore our collection of 5 mid-century modern homes currently available for purchase.
$2,795,000 USD / New Canaan, Connecticut / William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty
Situated on 2.2 acres, this important and significant Philip Johnson modern has been completely restored. Surrounded by manicured lawns, mature plantings, this stunning house designed of stone and glass, boasts high ceilings, original period fixtures, and original cabinetry. A true masterpiece that incorporates the landscape and nature into its interior experience.
$1,950,000 USD / Madison, Connecticut / William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty
With a spectacular glass barn-style guest house designed by the renowned architect Philip Johnson, The Tremaine Estate (c. 1720) is an enchanting property set on 6 country acres. The main residence is a historic and meticulously updated Cape Cod-style house boasting a mid-century glass room overlooking the pool, stone walled courtyard and expansive lawn.
$2,400,000 USD / River Forest, Illinois / Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty
The William H. Winslow House (c. 1893) was Frank Lloyd Wright’s first independent commission. This iconic home features Wright’s emerging design philosophy and contains numerous original details throughout including bronze and iron ornamentation, exquisite oak floors, built-in seating nooks, four fireplaces and original art glass windows.
$12,900,000 USD / Greenwich, Connecticut / Sotheby’s International Realty – Greenwich Brokerage
Considered one of the area’s most prominent architectural achievements, this extraordinary mid-century modern style home is unmatched in its expert design, craftsmanship, and meticulous attention to detail. Superbly crafted by Warren Platner, an internationally acclaimed architect, his distinctive style creates an intrinsic balance of indoor spaces that merge with the surrounding landscape to incorporate the native environment into daily living.
$3,995,000 USD / New Canaan, Connecticut / William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty
This prestigious private lane estate was designed by John Howe, Frank Lloyd Wright’s head architect. Set on seven gorgeous acres, this magnificent modern masterpiece was totally renovated and expanded in 2007 using the Master’s original concept drawings as a guide.
A historic residence is a work of fine craftsmanship and high design with an intangible element no newly constructed home can match–a sense of permanence. But what passed for creature comforts generations earlier falls short today.
3.563.800 € EUR / Berlin, Germany / Berlin Sotheby’s International Realty
Vintage estates were built for a dramatically different way of life, says Michael Rankin, managing partner at TTR Sotheby’s International Realty who, over the past 24 years, has purchased 15 homes–and torn every one apart. Kitchens were in the basements. First-floor powder rooms were non-existent. Luxury homeowners demand residences designed for the way they live and entertain today, and they’ve found inventive ways to bridge the eras by reinterpreting the architecture of yesteryear.
Here are four things to consider when purchasing and renovating a historic home.
Tip #1 / Today’s updates are cosmetic, aesthetic, functional and structural.
State-of-the-art kitchens and spa bathrooms are a given but renovations extend beyond to incorporate quality-of-life amenities throughout the house. Homeowners want gyms, home theaters, outdoor entertaining spaces and smart home technology, and they’re not willing to give up on the historic homes they love in order to get them.
$9,995,000 USD / Washington DC / TTR Sotheby’s International Realty
Tip #2 / The older the home, the greater the challenges.
In France, for instance, 70% of luxury homes are historic, dating back not just decades but centuries. Some still have Roman foundations. “From a practical standpoint, one should never underestimate the challenges of restoring a historic home,” says Alexander Kraft, chairman of Sotheby’s International Realty France-Monaco.
Price Upon Request / Neuilly, France / Paris Ouest Sotheby’s International Realty
Tip #3 / A successful renovation feels cohesive.
Celia Dunn of Sotheby’s International Realty in Savannah, Georgia, says restoring a historic property requires an architect who has great eye and creative imagination to envision how to adapt a home for today’s families.
$2,900,000 USD /Savannah, Georgia / Celia Dunn of Sotheby’s International Realty
Tip #4 / Research is an important element of the renovation process in order to determine what is original to the home.
Janet Bloomberg a partner at Kube Architecture in Washington DC, a firm that specializes in historic renovations says a homeowner’s desire to preserve an architectural feature, which may be old but of no historical value, can impede a successful re-design. “When there are redeeming elements, however, we like to highlight them. We like people to see them in a new way such as an old fireplace in house that’s been opened up so you see it in the context of a larger space.”
Content provided by Iyna Caruso exclusively for Sotheby’s International Realty for RESIDE® Magazine.
Stately and elegant, Georgian-style homes are regal without being flamboyant like early European architecture styles such as Baroque and Gothic. The Georgian style dates back to the 18th century during the reign of King George I in Britain and continued through the American Revolution. This classic style of homes are prevalent along the east coast of the United States from Maine to the southern states and continue to be a popular architectural style today.
Here are four examples of current homes for sale that epitomize the Georgian architecture style.
$16,200,000 USD / Larchmont, New York / Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty
Westchester County, New York — Built in 1900, this magnificent Georgian Colonial estate is situated on 3.36 acres along the picturesque Larchmont Harbor. The luxurious 7 bedroom, 6.3 bathroom residence perfectly mix traditional sophistication with a relaxed and elegant style and include numerous hand-crafted details including built-in cabinetry, beautiful millwork, wainscoting, and substantial dentil, colonial and hand-carved crown moldings vary from room to room.
$14,950,000 USD / Greenwich, Connecticut / Sotheby’s International Realty – Greenwich Brokerage
Greenwich, Connecticut — With the most beautiful manors as design inspiration, this impeccable estate offers architecturally stunning, grandly scaled spaces with light-filled interiors and museum quality finishes. Built in 2001, it has been maintained to mint condition with intricate millwork, exotic hardwoods, imported fabrics, and hand chosen European fixtures.
$10,900,000 USD / Scarborough, New York / Hudson Homes Sotheby’s International Realty
Westchester County, New York — Rabbit Hill is a majestic 1928 estate designed by Mott Schmidt and is one of the last masters of American Georgian architecture. Schmidt’s works include New York City’s Gracie Mansion, Sutton Place and selected commissions for the Rockefeller family. Rabbit Hill is magnificently situated on 16 acres with sweeping Hudson River views which have inspired artists for centuries.
$9,995,000 USD / Washington, DC / TTR Sotheby’s International Realty
Washington, D.C. — This historic 1911 mansion built by noted architect Clark Waggaman with unparalleled workmanship and detail. Twenty-first century systems merge seamlessly with exquisite historic, period details which are found throughout and include original plaster moldings, imported 19th c. French lantern chandeliers, 18th c. iron fireback backsplash in the kitchen, 19 c. wide plank oak floors, 18th c. French terracotta tile and a 19th c. French limestone fireplace.
During the Industrial Revolution Victorian builders used new technology and materials to create homes with unparalleled charm. Today, these homes are historic treasures that reflect the elegance and beauty of Britain’s Queen Victoria.
“Homes of the Victorian Era were romantic, distinctive, and abundant with detail, from the fabrics and patterns to the colors and textures,” according to a recent article by Better Homes and Gardens.
Here are some stunning Victorian homes that have preserved history in their delicate features.
Boston — This prestigious mansion built in 1848 overlooks Boston’s famous Public Garden. The formal entertaining room combines soaring ceiling height and stunning detail, to create a breathtaking space.
Bronxville, New York — Built in 1896, this hilltop masterpiece has sustained classic Victorian beauty while maintaining modern luxury. The original Victorian-style windows, hardwood floors and 3 historic fireplaces remain in the home.
Newton, Massachusetts — Set atop Mount Ida, this stately residence is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 7 fireplaces, intricate decorative plasterwork, Corinthian columns and elaborate mahogany and oak millwork have been exquisitely preserved.
New Hope, Pennsylvania — This restored Victorian farmhouse with extensive grounds features an extravagant barn, award winning pond and 3 porches. The family room includes an oversized fireplace with antique mantel and French doors to an outdoor brick patio.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire — This Queen Anne Colonial Revival Victorian built in 1892 is complete with a wrap around porch, patterned shingles and intricate exterior color palette. The turret living room with hand painted and gold leafed walls is enhanced by ornate oak woodwork. Alluring period details include cylinder glass window panes, parquet floors, laundry chute, talking tube and original wall phone.