Great art demands a great space for its display. The curator, the gallerist, even the humblest art collector needs that special wall or corner to show and to savor that treasured painting, that cherished sculpture. It’s a question of scale: Consider the Netherlands’ glorious Rijksmuseum, which devotes a single, great room to the lights and shadows of Rembrandt’s colossal (11′ 11″ x 14′ 4″) The Night Watch. But just a few steps away is Vermeer’s intimate The Milkmaid: Just 1′ 6″ x 1′ 4″, you’ll find it reverentially tucked away in a quiet corner, under dim, respectful light. Each space displays its art without understating or overwhelming it, as might a gilt Rococo picture frame around a Mondrian grid. That is the essence of this Luxury Defined collection of international homes: Step back, see composition, design, palette; step in, see details and fine finishes. Tour these architectural masterpieces and call them home.
Herrick House and the Granary Art Gallery—The Former Estate of Melva Bucksbaum in Sharon, Connecticut
Melva Bucksbaum was a philanthropist, curator, trustee of the Whitney Museum for nearly two decades, and one of America’s leading art collectors. Part of her legacy is a bucolic 51.3-acre estate off a quiet country road in the little town of Sharon, Connecticut. The Herrick House and Granary Art Gallerycompound includes the impressive 9,000-square-foot restored main house, a 14,000-square-foot custom-built art gallery known as the Granary, the “Art Barn” library and pool house, as well as a guesthouse, caretakers’ house, guest log cabin, and garage. The Granary, designed by architect Steven Learner, features floor-to-ceiling windows, a large flagstone front courtyard, and oversized doors. Its 4,000-square-foot fine art storage area—accessible by the oversized art transport elevator—has 82 storage racks for hanging paintings, rolling cabinetry and storage cubes for flat artworks, crated storage, and a framing station. The gallery is equipped with high-tech art preservation technologies: humidity control, fire suppression and security systems, and automatic timed shades.
The Former Estate of Senator Leo Kolber in Westmount, Quebec, Canada
Perched atop Westmount, Montreal’s most affluent suburb, the former home of the late Canadian Senator Leo Kolber extends across a 35,000-square-foot lot facing Summit Woods, a bird and wildlife sanctuary. With entertaining in mind, the 11,489-square-foot, five-bedroom, five-and-a-half bathroom home welcomes the visitor with a striking, cylindrical entrance hall, ideal for the display of art. It serves as an axis point for the home’s public rooms; among them is the palatial reception room with soaring ceiling, built-in bar, and grand piano. It is large enough to accommodate up to 200 guests. The library is another highlight, with its rich red walls, vast bay windows, and intimate seating areas. The contemporary kitchen, renovated about four years ago, is ideal for catering large events. It has a breakfast area and a butler’s pantry connecting to the grandly scaled formal dining room. The main-level primary suite has enormous walk-in closets and dressing areas, separate bathrooms, and opens to the gardens. This exceptional residence also includes a theater, gym, wine cellar, and lavish grounds with a pool, gazebo with kitchen and dining area, and a verdant lawn bounded by mature trees.
The Henry L. Atherton Villa in Riverdale, Bronx, New York City
The Henry L. Atherton Villa is one of just four original homes built on Independence Avenue in the Bronx’s Riverdale Historic District. The villa was originally built in 1853 in the Gothic Revival style, with Colonial Revival style additions in 1910 and 1914 giving the property its grand appearance. At the entrance is a ballroom-like parlor with gallery walls. The long, light-filled living room is ideal for the artist or collector with its gallery walls, studio space, and French doors opening to an expansive veranda with Hudson River views. The oversized formal dining room exudes Old World elegance with ornate millwork, original hardwood floors, and sizable windows. Just off the dining room is an eat-in kitchen with butler’s pantry. A handcrafted turned staircase ascends to the private quarters, with nine bedrooms, four with cozy wood-burning fireplaces.
Residence 1502 at 99 Union Street, Seattle, Washington
This distinguished two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment is on a high floor of the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Seattle. Once the home of renowned art collectors and philanthropists, Residence 1502 is defined by its stylish living spaces and minimalist design. The footprint measures 5,281 square feet and the grandly proportioned rooms have high ceilings, gallery-like walls, and museum-quality lighting to display fine art. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame views of Puget Sound and the city skyline, while illuminating the interiors with natural light. Additional interior details include terrazzo flooring, custom cabinetry, and spa-like bathrooms. Among the appointments are a spacious chef’s kitchen, wine room, two private terraces, three dedicated parking spaces, and a private storage unit. The Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences Seattle is a five-star property with concierge, security, porters, doormen, on-demand housekeeping, and valet parking. On-site amenities include an award-winning restaurant, an in-room dining services, a pool, spa, health club, and pet terrace. The building is steps away from Pike Place Market and the Seattle waterfront.
Villa Alcuzcuz in Benahavis, Marbella, Spain
Symmetry and scale define Villa Alcuzcuz. The sleek contemporary villa sits on one of the highest plots in the private residential enclave of La Reserva de Alcuzcuz in Benahavis, Marbella, Spain. The home’s two wings converge in the great room, where its two-story walls of glass provide monumental space for the display of art. The villa won best in category at both the European and the International Property Awards. Floor-to-ceiling windows and glass walls let the vast interior living and entertaining areas flow to the ocean-facing outdoor spaces, including a 3,229-square-foot terrace with an art display area. Lounges and basking areas adjoin an infinity pool and nearly an acre of gardens. The interior appointments include a fully equipped kitchen, formal dining room, living room, and office. A cinema, game room, and wine cellar are among the home’s private amenities. World-class golf courses and recreational opportunities are all close by, as is La Zagaleta—Europe’s most exclusive resort community.
Flathead Lake Estate in Bigfork, Montana
This 7,985-square-foot, lodge-style retreat nestles on 234 feet of waterfront on northwest shore of Flathead Lake. The main floor is anchored by a beautiful great room with panoramic views of the lake and mountains. Notable for its polished wood floors, custom metalwork, and fieldstone walls, its highlights include a library, solarium, commercial-grade chef’s kitchen, and the first of two owner’s suites. The home’s art gallery and artist’s studio are on the second floor, accessed via an iron staircase handcrafted by a local artisan, as well as the principal suite, with a wood-burning fireplace and covered balcony overlooking the lake; and a guest suite with its own private balcony. Glacier National Park, Whitefish Mountain Resort, Blacktail Ski Resort, Jewel Basin Hiking area, and Bob Marshall Wilderness are all nearby.
Modernist Masterpiece Designed by Rafael Viñoly in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania
One of the most prominent estates in the Philadelphia area, this 29-acre property is the creation of internationally acclaimed architect Rafael Viñoly, whose works include the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate in Boston. Set within an impressive stone courtyard, the 37,000-square-foot modernist main house abounds with museum-quality galleries and hallways suitable for the display of vast art collections, yet it is also perfect for a more casual and intimate lifestyle. The house is divided into three wings: The south wing features a grand foyer, 2.5-story living room, and media room; the east wing comprises two dining rooms; and the north wing houses the family areas. A tower offers 360-degree views of the grounds, which include a pavilion, swimming pool and pool house.
Elegant Home in the Heights, Houston, Texas
The home of a prominent Houston art collector, this elegant residence in the Heights has an abundance of wall space to house his private collection of paintings by Salvador Dali, Donald Roller Wilson, Matthew Moffett, Peter Robert Keil, and Stacey Brown, among others, and sculptures by Damon J. Thomas. The interiors are designed for functional living and stylish entertaining, with outdoor spaces on every level to take in the skyline views. The formal dining room adjoins an eat-in kitchen with Bosch appliances, cabinetry, granite countertops, butler’s pantry, and a bar with wine storage. The living room also opens to the kitchen for easy entertaining. French doors lead out to the rear garden. The main bedroom suite and secondary bedroom/bathroom are on the second floor. An additional bedroom and bathroom are on the third floor, along with an expansive outdoor terrace. This elegant home is just two blocks from the Houston Heights hike and bike trail.
Artist’s Aerie on Magnificent Mile, Boca Raton, Florida
Residence A at Sabal Ridge overlooks Boca Raton’s Magnificent Mile. Designed by Toby Zack, this 17-story, white-glove boutique building features beautifully landscaped tropical gardens, a spectacular beachfront pool, and a private dune walkway to miles of sugar sands. The three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom home has more than 3,000 square feet of custom-configured interiors as well as east- and west-facing balconies to take in the sunrise and sunset views over the water. The home’s gallery-like display areas are suited for the art collector. Flowing off the gallery foyer, the airy oceanfront great room has walls of windows to bring in the ocean view. French doors open to a balcony. The dining area has a pass to the oceanfront kitchen: a chef’s dream with Dacor and Sub-Zero appliances, handcrafted cabinetry, and stone counters. A custom-built glass door leads to a luxurious lakeside den/bedroom with its own balcony. The owner’s suite has another dramatic ocean view as well as two dressing rooms, a spa-like bathroom. A third bedroom is converted into a lake-view office/gym. Residents have access to two garage spaces and the building’s resort amenities.
Grand Mansion Near the Louvre in Paris, France
This private mansion is in the heart of the Carré des Antiquaires neighborhood in Paris’s prestigious 7th arrondissement. Originally built in 1823 century as an hôtel particulier, the residence has been beautifully restored and renovated with luxurious contemporary décor. The home’s three levels are accessed via elevator or the striking spiral staircase, which was designed by contemporary artist Jean-Michel Othoniel. The grand reception room with its 23-foot-high ceiling is the ideal space to showcase fine art. Other notable features include an entrance hall, study, drawing room, lounge, dining room, modern kitchen, three bedroom suites, and a lower level with a guest bedroom and sauna.
Avalon Place Contemporary in Houston, Texas
A quiet corner lot in the leafy Houston enclave of Avalon Place is the setting for this contemporary masterpiece by architect Kurt Aichler. This impressive home is perfectly designed for a homeowner to display their art throughout its free-flowing interior and exterior spaces. Warm and understated, the modernist interiors begin at an expansive two-story gallery hall with an open staircase. Oak and marble floors and custom light fixtures among the fine details. There are five bedrooms and five full and one half bathroom. Other luxurious appointments include a chef’s kitchen with Viking, Sub-Zero, and Bosch appliances and an ultra-luxurious owner’s suite with a vast walk-in closet. The pool terrace is an art-inspired retreat with a sculpture garden and alfresco dining areas.