THE BLOG
04/21/2012 08:17 pm ET | Updated Jun 21, 2012

The Finest Estate Home in America Found

Inspiring Cultural Consciousness

There are faux estate homes, builder homes, spec homes, development homes, but proper estate homes are much different. The finest estate homes elevate the cultural consciousness.

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Essential Characteristics of an Estate Home

When searching for the finest estate home, I have found there are essential characteristics of an estate home: there must be vast land cared for in an ecologically friendly way and the home needs to be close enough to a vibrant city center so as to enable a family to live in the home as a primary residence.

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An estate home must be awe-inspiring and still have the gentle warmth and intimacy desired by a family. It should offer the finest environment and opportunities to explore all aspects of life, entertaining, working, playing, studying, enjoying family or retreating within oneself to reflect.

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A significant estate home must have a rich architectural pedigree: the genius of the original architect in creating perfect proportions; the brilliance of a renovation architect in furthering the completion of the home; the elegance of the era in which the home was built (an era when royalty, aristocrats, industrialists, titans and United States presidents would visit or stay for a season); the history -- i.e., the stories the home has to tell; and, most important, the vision of the estate home owner, the architectural patron. It is this patron of the arts who has the eye, passion and respect for creating an estate home that transcends time -- a home that is both aesthetic perfection as well as a truly livable home. A magnificent estate home is only possible when the owner successfully draws from the past and propels the original design forward in a subtle and graceful way into the 21st century.

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Inspiring the Cultural Consciousness

While generic homes tire me, significant homes inspire me. I have found one home that is truly profound When I visited this estate home on its winding approach and then upon entering the home, I felt an adrenaline surge as well as, simultaneously, a feeling of calm, much the same sensation as an athlete experiences in the "zone." I see how it inspires others, too, in much the same way. I have watched men stand up straighter in the presence of such powerful architecture and women become softer, even lovelier, in the presence of perfect proportions and subtle refinement.

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Why Is This Home the Finest and Most Significant Estate Home?

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This estate home is surrounded by manicured lawns and cultivated gardens, with a backdrop of rugged terrain, meadows and forest, unencumbered by views of other homes. There is the idyllic feeling of the country with its vegetable garden that provides fresh produce for the kitchen and cultivated gardens that provide fresh cuttings for the home, yet it is only six miles and a few minutes away from the heart of an economically vibrant city so as to enable a family to live in the home as a primary residence.

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Ecologically Friendly Conservation of Land Becomes an Emphasis for the 21st Century Estate Property

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Here the owners of the estate conserve the land, save open spaces, and preserve the property that provides food and water for migrating birds and wildlife. Wells, ponds, rain basins and drip irrigation sustain the lawns, trees, natural and cultivated gardens, and vegetable garden.

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An Estate Property Provides a Green Oasis in the Middle of a Large City

Summer breezes across streams, creeks, ponds and through groves of trees, dense forest and over natural meadows filter the hot air of August afternoons. The estate's 25 acres dissipate the summer temperatures and heat retained by the concrete and rooftops of a large city and provide a cooling relief to the surrounding neighborhoods.

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The Strongest Architectural Pedigree

The architectural provenance -- the 20th century architect Maurice Fatio who established the design and the 21st century architect Peter Marino who furthered the design -- make up the incredible architectural pedigree of this home.

Architect Maurice Fatio

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At the pinnacle of his career Maurice Fatio designed the Crespi estate, the last estate home he completed before his death at age 45. His clients were Pio Crespi, the Italian Count sent to America by his wealthy family who dominated the cotton business in Italy, and his American wife Florence Crespi. Maurice Fatio was voted in the 1920s the Most Popular Architect in New York for the Long Island and other estate homes he designed, including those for the Vanderbilts, the Duchess of Marlborough, the Stotesburys, Edward F.Hutton, Otto Kahn and many other prominent families. In Palm Beach he followed Addison Mizner as society's architect of choice for his more restrained and refined style. Even today Maurice Fatio is still revered in Palm Beach for his perfect proportions and elegant homes.

Peter Marino -- Designer and Architect

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Many consider Peter Marino the finest designer and architect of the 21st century. Peter Moreno, like Maurice Fatio, has designed for ambassadors, philanthropists and influential titans of business. He is considered the darling of Architectural Digest, which has featured many of his projects, including apartments in New York, fabulous estate homes in California and renovations including the Owsley/Marcus estate.

Awe-Inspiring Architecture That Creates a Warm and Comfortable Home

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In this home, one experiences an awe-inspiring majesty along with a gentle warmth and intimacy. The formal rooms have accommodated throngs of guests and received United States Presidents and international dignitaries. They are equally inviting for a family member seeking moments of quiet retreat. The formal study functions as a vital part of a business empire and still retains an aesthetic allure for the family or guests.

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The bedrooms on the third floor, with dormer windows and pitched ceilings that follow the roof line, offer the simple, quiet charm of a New England cottage.

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The Stories An Estate Home Can Tell

An estate home without history is a home without character. What better room to restore and allow to tell a story than the Art Deco bar of this estate home. One can just imagine the number of influential people from around the world who have had a drink in this bar or how this expressive space fueled conga lines dancing through the home in the 1940s and 1950s. Important guests continue to cram into this space just to feel a sense of historic greatness or the enchantment of an earlier era.

An Estate Home Is the Perfect Place to Have Fun

The recreational spaces, outdoor activities, lawns for frolicking, meditative gardens and hidden paths for walks in silence all come to mind when one thinks of an estate property. All of these opportunities are discovered as one explores the property.

Pool House

From a path through the formal garden a family member or guest is able to reach the pool house, an environment that is luxurious, elegant and casual.

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The Formal Guest House of an Estate Home

A guest house and pool house are sited to make the architectural massing far more grand than the same amount of square footage. The formal guest house is graciously placed on the property for overnight guests who have a path to the kitchen of the main house for breakfast in the morning. It is as elegant as the main house while providing even greater intimacy with the garden.

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The Transcendent Characteristics of a Significant Estate Home

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The transcendent characteristic of a significant estate home is the enlightened vision of the home owner, who not only lives in the home but serves as its architectural patron. It is this architectural patron who orchestrates the integrated design of the home and the property, partly through exquisite personal taste, but also by focusing on the attributes of the original architecture and the land on which the home sits. It is this singular vision and empathy that draws from the original architect and materials and inspires the renovation architect. An estate home that completely captures one's imagination blends authentic materials and advanced technology into the simplicity and elegance of the original estate home.

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The Crespi/Hicks Estate Captures All the Finest Characteristics of an Estate Home

The Crespi/Hicks estate clearly has all aesthetic, physical and pragmatic components of the finest estate home, only five minutes from downtown. A winding private drive descends to the home beautifully placed in front of a creek flowing across the 25-acre estate property. It is majestic, dignified and graceful. The home is also warm and fun. The design exudes elegance and the architecture, a subtle power. The architectural massing of the main house, guest house and pool house convey a home that is grand yet serves primarily as a place for a family to live. The sensibility for the past is blended skillfully with the technology and resources of the present, presenting visual continuity. The estate owners honored the original family, architecture and history of the home with an inspired approach -- one that creates the impression that the home has not been renovated or expanded, but truly and magnificently completed.

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