Decorating & Design

November 19, 2012

Renaissance Redux in California

After last week’s over-the-top property, I thought I’d feature an even older English country estate. Just kidding — this Tudor-inspired behemoth is excessive enough for Henry VIII, but its Silicon Valley location is perhaps better suited to a modern tech mogul. Join me to explore a mere fraction of Chiltern’s 36,000 square feet.

A gated driveway leads to a limestone façade right out of The Tudors. (Just ignore the asphalt.) Steps at right lead to a sunken formal garden that’s all statues and trimmed boxwood; other landscapes on the property have a more romantic edge, like the koi pond edged with a waterfall and rotunda.

Though the house was built in 1992, its historical bona fides come from several imported architectural features. The panelling in the great hall, for example, dates from the 17th century and was taken from Dyffryn House in Wales. Panelling in the foyer, mantelpieces, statues, stained glass and even a temple in the garden were also imported from Europe.

The house isn’t all dark wood and Gothic gloom. In spite of the arched windows, dramatic chandelier, and heavy stonework, the breakfast room feels light and airy. There’s room for eight at this table — more than enough for occupants of the home’s six bedrooms.

How do you turn a Renaissance-style room into a kid-friendly space? Paint the coffered ceiling in Rubik’s-cube brights. The elaborate carved mantel will probably take some growing into, but the built-in window seat is lovely for any age.

The mossy lushness of the Pacific Northwest adds an extra Gothic tinge to this outdoor pavilion. Other outdoor spaces on the six-acre lot include a tennis court, pool, rose garden, vineyard and children’s play area.

Are you inspired by this modern home’s homage to the past? Check out the listing for 70 more photos — or get out your chequebook, as this could all be yours for $38.5 million.

Photo credits:

1–5: Christie’s International Real Estate