Want to escape on a Monday morning? Make yourself a cup of tea (or coffee), grab a little snack and follow me to an absolutely stunning home in upstate New York.
Here's the Gil Schafer-designed Greek Revival masterpiece in its Warren Byrd-landscaped setting, complete with views of the Catskill Mountains and Hudson Valley. The young trees in front are the only sign this home was built in 2006, instead of centuries ago.
And here are the interiors by Miles Redd. Take a sip of your warm beverage of choice, then, take a moment to savour not just the curve of this entry staircase, but that slender gold key sticking out of the lock.
The kitchen is a little more farmhouse than formal, with a weather-beaten table, beadboard panelling and rough-hewn exposed ceiling beams. A white subway tile backsplash is a nice modern hit, but I like that it's confined to the stove area, so its shininess doesn't take over the room.
Opposite the kitchen is this cosy family room, where plaid curtains and a live-edge side table remind us that this is upstate New York.
Teal drapes and mustard leather are carried in from the foyer, but a leafy green takes over in the living room. The fireplace is matched by one at the other end of the room; the tiger-stripe and ikat pillows are, in my opinion, matchless.
I wish this shot was angled just a little to the right, so we could get a better view of that window seat right next to the built-in bookcase. The heavy maroon valances are a little too trad for my taste, but I'd still happily be a guest in this bedroom — or any of the other four.
What do you think? If you had $10 million, would you pack your things and head for the Hudson Valley?
For more on Miles Redd, view a gallery of his interiors.
1-6. Houlihan Lawrence
To kick off the month, it's time for another round of Where In the World Is This? If you'd like to skip ahead, you can check out the listing here. Otherwise, take a look at the following shots, and see if you can guess where this house is located.
This grey clapboard saltbox has a charming porch across the front and a chimney at each end. Though it's in a traditional style, it was built in 2006 and is a very roomy 7,000 square feet. (This includes the attic and cellar, but not the two-car garage or pool house.)
The relaxed, Cape Cod-farmhouse vibe is evident in the kitchen; beadboard cabinets painted sage green and an apron sink add country character. It's too bad the fireplace (right) is almost blocked by the lamp in this photo, because even when it's not in use, it lends real warmth to the space.
A sun-soaked, conservatory-style breakfast nook looks out over the lush green lawn and in-ground pool. This is the only room in the house that's a little more formal, thanks to the chandelier and plinths, but it's nice to see that the space could be dressed up a little.
In the living room, the grey horizontal panelling from the exterior continues behind built-in bookcases but is lightened by a creamy beadboard ceiling and wide wooden floors. I'll be perfectly honest: given the room's slightly rumpled, unpretentious feel, I think the moose head is a perfect touch.
I could probably enthuse for a whole blog post about that pink roadster and miniature silver armchair, but let's skip the toys and go right to the enclosed bed. Not only is it perfectly in tune with the cottage notes in the rest of the house, it creates the perfect child-sized reading and sleeping spot, and can easily be closed off to hide an unmade bed.
Now for the reveal: this house is actually in Schoten, Belgium! Even though it's just outside of Antwerp and about 45 minutes from Brussels, the house comes on sizeable acreage, and much of the town itself is still forested and rural. For this kind of country living, $2.4 million doesn't seem too bad.
For more on Belgian style, check out our Flemish-inspired decorating finds.
1-5. Emile Garcin Properties
It's Monday again, and after last week's Thai villa, I'm still not quite done thinking about warm vacation destinations. This week, I've crossed the Pacific to the islands of Hawaii, where sprawling villas and golf courses nestle up to white-sand beaches. Let's start the week off gently with a look at one of these villas.
Come fly with me to the northwest coast of Maui — specifically, the turquoise crescent of Oneloa Bay, where the gated Kapalua Place curves along the coastline as it leads to this $28.5-million gem.
The property is nearly 7,500 square feet indoors, and almost 10,000 square feet when the covered lanais are included. Not only does this dining area look across to the peaks on the island of Moloka'i, but the listing promises you'll see "tens of thousands of humpback whales, dolphins and other magnificent creatures" in the bay. I wonder if that figure includes tourists.
Even the expansive kitchen has ocean views (and what I can only imagine are the most delicious breezes wafting through). The pineapple-backed chairs are a nice, whimsical nod to the islands.
Plenty of beach houses veer into seaside cliché or hotel-room blandness, but these neutral interiors set the perfect calm tone for a relaxing vacation. The furniture and accents — selected by renowned local designer Mary Philpotts — are included in the sale, so what you see is what you'd get.
Pocket doors in an upstairs bedroom open to a private balcony. (We'll just pretend the neighbouring house is more than a few hundred metres away.) There are four bedrooms in total, each with its own ensuite bath, plus second-floor space over the garage that could be turned into a separate guest suite.
What do you think? Are you ready to say goodbye to a few million and aloha to the island lifestyle?
1-5. Mary Anne Fitch via Christie's International Real Estate
As a kid, I had a pretty narrow conception of what houses looked like: two or three storeys, four walls, peaked or hipped roof, symmetrical windows, and maybe a round window or fanlight over the front door. (Yes, I grew up on a street of boxy Colonials.) This house, in northwestern Thailand, totally explodes that idea. Scroll through to see why.
Built to overlook a pond near Mae Rim, the house is structured as a series of seven pavilions for living, dining, sleeping and more. They're connected by open walkways, which means that yes, you do get wet when it rains. And forget having four solid walls — while covered by those peaked roofs, most rooms have open sides or are glassed in.
The main pavilions are clustered around a green sandstone infinity-edge pool, with a view over the water and out towards the Himalayan foothills. I love the way the transom windows peek out at the undersides of the eaves, making the room feel cosy and enclosed in spite of the huge windows.
The home's architect, Bill Bensley, also designed the Four Seasons in nearby Chiang Mai, and it shows in this hotel spa-worthy bathroom smack in the middle of the garden. I'm not sure I'd want a full-length mirror in a glass-enclosed shower area (if everyone outside can see me, I don't need to be reminded of their view), but I definitely agree with the placement of those purple flowers on the upper storey.
Can you imagine looking up at this every time you went to bed? Between that gorgeous recycled golden teak ceiling and the sumptuous orange silk walls, I don't think I'd ever close my eyes. In addition to this principal bedroom suite, there are three private guest suites, too.
I think this shot just became my new happy place. Whenever we get another day of cold rain or subway delays in Toronto, I'm going to imagine myself navigating the walkways out to this traditional-style Thai sala and watching the mist move over the mountains while enjoying a subtropical breeze on my skin.
According to the listing, this villa was built as someone else's "personal sanctuary," but I'm pretty sure it would suit my personality just fine — if I only had the $16.3 million they're asking. What do you think?
For more Thai style, read Gwen McAuley's blog post.
Space comes at a premium in Tokyo, and this apartment is no exception. With over 4,000 square feet of space, including a terrace and rooftop courtyard, it's certainly spacious. This is Tokyo, though, so said space only has one bedroom, and comes at a hefty $16 million. Let's head to the Minami-Azabu neighbourhood and see what makes it so pricey.
The La Cornue-equipped kitchen is adjoined by a breakfast banquette that looks out on the terrace. There's also a casual dining room, done up in the same mid-tone wood as the kitchen, for everyday lunches and dinners.
If you're a confident cook, you can put on a show for your guests in this formal dining room. Restaurant imitations in private homes can tend to the tacky (see: basements transformed into '50s-style diners), but the wood panelling and simple, earthy tones keep this one traditional and tasteful.
The living room is long and low-slung, warmed up by a fireplace and rich wood floors. The current owners must be film buffs, since there's plenty of hidden storage for audio-visual components, blackout shades for the windows and a projector tucked into the ceiling. Settle in for a viewing of an art-house classic ... or a daytime session of binge TV-watching.
Hallways clad in imported Italian stone circle a tranquil courtyard. Lest you fear that the outdoor space is eating up what could be interior room, rest assured that there's plenty of storage. The foyer, for example, is lined with custom closets that hold up to 200 pairs of shoes.
The current owners spent 18 months renovating the apartment, and it shows in the luxe principal bathroom. In case a massive hot tub, generous shower stall and 60" TV aren't relaxing enough, the windows open to a private little patch of greenery.
Would you pay this much for a sizeable slice of Tokyo? Or would you prefer to redo an unrenovated space to your taste?
For more inspiration, check out our Asian-Inspired Rooms.
1-5. Japan Sotheby's International Realty
Blind items: fun to read, usually hard (for me) to guess. Luckily, this real-estate riddle isn't too difficult. Join me on a tour of this château-style mansion and see if you can figure out which celebrity's private island could be yours for nearly $30 million.
The listing coyly describes the owner of this stone expanse as "one of the world's most illustrious entertainers and her family." Once upon a time, the entertainer's manager — now her husband — mortgaged his home to finance her career. But it's all coming back to them now: by 2001, she was successful enough to build her own 24,000-square-foot home in her native Quebec.
Like the owner's greatest hits, the home's interiors are heavy on the drama. If you like the plush look of dark wood and red velour, you're in luck: the property is being offered with nearly all its furnishings and contents (save the family's personal effects).
Let's talk about love — mine, for this incredible La Cornue kitchen. I'm not sure you could actually cook anything in it without a small army of sous-chefs (especially since the formal dining room is meant to seat 18), but I just adore the sparkle of the copper pots on gleaming brass racks.
Perhaps green is the colour of this entertainer's love, as the principal bedroom and this adjacent seating area are done up in shades of celadon and mint. The staircase at right leads to a landing with an enormous canopied bathtub and walk-in closet that's really more of a separate room with clothing storage.
For entertaining, there's a stone-vaulted wine-tasting room, billiards room, pool and a pool house with its own kitchen. Guests do have to make it over the gated bridge, or arrive at the island via helicopter, but luckily the estate is in Laval, conveniently just outside Montreal.
I'm sure they're sad to be selling, but her heart will probably go on. (Just in case you hadn't guessed by now!) Are you interested?
See our Celebrity Homes photo gallery for more enviable real estate.
1–5. Sotheby's International Realty
I didn't dye any Easter eggs this weekend, but I've certainly been celebrating with various shades of candy. So in the spirit of the holiday, here's a townhouse on New York's Upper East Side decorated with egg-worthy pastels like lilac, teal and cotton-candy pink.
The home dates from 1860 and was briefly converted to a blacksmith shop at the turn of the 20th century. In the 1970s, it was chopped up into a four-unit apartment building before being restored to its original six-storey, single-family-housing self (supposedly by shoe magnate Steve Madden).
There are plenty of charming details left in the Italianate manse, like the fireplace, wood floors and large front windows. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of staircases left over from the building's days as an apartment house, making the layout something of a maze.
The floor plan calls this the dining room, but it seems like any meals would have to be limited to the banquette lest they be interrupted by traffic from the stairway. Fortunately, according to the plans, there are two dining rooms and two kitchens, back-to-back, on this floor.
The principal bedroom is actually on the garden level and opens to a good-sized backyard. It could be re-worked into a living space, of course, but you'd also have to figure out how to re-configure the walk-in closets, dressing room and ensuite bathroom.
This is Manhattan, so don't expect any fancy amenities — or more outdoor space — for your $9 million. If you're dying to add your own media room, yoga studio or home office, you can always transform the basement or six bedrooms, or knock out a few of the 11 baths and half-baths for some extra square-footage.
What do you think? Would the pretty paint job convince you to take on a warren fit for the Easter bunny?
See more pastel rooms in our Colourful Spring Rooms photo gallery.
1-5. Douglas Elliman Real Estate
I've heard that everything is bigger in Texas. What I didn't realize is that apparently anything can be made — but bigger! — in Texas. As in, you can build anything you want. This week alone, I saw listings for mansions claiming to be copies of châteaux, mansions inspired by Spanish monasteries, mansions that brought back the ranch style of the old West, and finally, this gloriously over-the-top mansion that's an homage to Morocco in the middle of Houston.
Here's the entry to the nearly four-acre gated compound, with what looks like a person standing in the right-hand gate for scale. You can just barely see some non-Moroccan buildings above the trees, but otherwise, the illusion of an exotic locale is pretty convincing.
From the main entrance, the property extends into a house with three kitchens, a six-car garage, and a principal suite on each of the two floors (in case you're too tired to take the elevator). To be fair, though, you'd probably get sleepy after just a few minutes of looking at the swirling patterns of the tile and rugs.
The marble-floored dining room slides into French style, perhaps as a nod to Morocco's colonial past. Both this room and the similarly Francophile living room (which you can see in the listing) are fully decked out with crystal-and-gold leaf chandeliers.
The chandelier at the centre of this photo is actually hung from a gorgeous dome inscribed in red, green and gold. White stonework was custom-carved in Morocco, then imported to middle America. Through the doorway on the left at the rear, you can see the kitchen cabinets, which also have a Moorish, horseshoe-arch motif, but are perhaps a lesser example of craftsmanship (and colour choice).
A central courtyard has seating room and fountains to spare. (I'd imagine the hallways surrounding the courtyard have plenty of light, too, thanks to those wooden doors.) For actual swimming, there's a large pool — also shaped like a horseshoe arch — in the backyard.
If you could build a pastiche of any architectural style, which would you choose? Dream big — it's Texas!
Find more over-the-top mansions for sale in our Surreal Estate blog.
1-5. Martha Turner Properties
While I'm all for turning historic estates into museums (how else would I be able to turn my prying eyes to their interiors?), it also warms my heart to see older properties still being used as homes. So seeing this château near Uzès, France, which has been kept up for nearly 900 years, really tickled me. Let's see how history has treated the old pile.
How, indeed? Here's a clue: the listing gives the price as 5/5 houses, or over five million euros. But for your very own piece of the 12th century, that's probably not such a huge price to pay. (And looking at some of the stonework, I'm guessing that it really is a piece of the 12th century, not just a reproduction.)
If I had a euro for every time I saw a plain, uninspiring house described by a real-estate broker as "fantastic," "one-of-a-kind," "a masterpiece," or "stunning," I could afford this castle. Which makes it all the more special that the listing is entirely justified in calling this a "sumptuous park."
This little nook looks like it's been a comfortable lounging spot for centuries. In the summer, you get the Provençal sunshine bouncing off the white walls; when the mistral blows through, well, that's what the fireplace and heavy stonework are for.
In addition to this larger, barrel-vaulted living room, the main residence has a principal suite, guest suite, six additional bedrooms, a Gothic chapel and an artist's studio. Before you scroll to the next photo, take a moment to sigh over the perfect aging of that black-and-white tile floor.
And here's the original 12th-century pool! Joking, of course — it was probably added quite recently, when the current owner renovated. If you'd like to leave your own mark on this estate, there are plenty of outbuildings just waiting for a makeover.
For more inspiration from southern France, check out Hilary Smyth's post on French Farmhouse Style.
1-5. Emile Garcin Properties
Have you ever thought about going to Malta? Me neither, until I took a look at this palace in Rabat (a suburb of Mdina, a walled city that was once the island's capital — thank you, internet). Let's take a look at this Mediterranean villa.
Pairing the exposed beams with older-looking stonework is a great nod to the history of the island, where Bronze Age cities gave way to ancient Greeks, Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Goths, Vandals, Sicilians, Normans and eventually, retired Brits.
The listing calls this home the "Palace of the Countess" (though it doesn't specify which countess) and, looking at these lavender walls and puddled drapes, I'm imagining a Dowager-like figure swanning about its rooms.
Another view of the same salon shows Caravaggio's St. Jerome Writing (fun fact: the artist fled to Malta and worked there for a few years). Though this is the kind of property that could be home to a stellar private collection, the original painting is, alas, in Rome.
Apparently all the new furniture went into this room! (I'm not sure how the violin artwork would really pair with a Caravaggio masterpiece, anyway.) The rest of the house is just as modern, with two offices and five bedrooms, each with an ensuite.
There are no full exterior shots in the listing, but this glimpse has quite the expanse of stucco and glass. If you tire of swimming in your private pool — or relaxing in your private hammam spa — you can always take a dip in the many turquoise bays around the island.
For more Mediterranean inspiration, check out this villa on Sardinia.
1-5. Wetag Consulting Immobiliare, via Christie's Real Estate