The 2013 Ultimate Home


Special Issue - Robb Report's 2013 ultimate home. Plus, test drive McLaren's new soul-stirring 12C Spider. Also, timeless retreat, classical lines for a contemporary villa.

From This Issue

An Italian Affair

Influenced by Tuscany’s rustic farmhouses and crafted from the finest European-sourced stone and timber, this contemporary Italian-inspired  estate in Southern California radiates splendor while still reflecting, with warmth and elegance, a couple’s love of traveling and hosting family and friends. The residence’s perfect marriage of grandness and intimacy persuaded our editors to pronounce the property […]

McLaren’s Web Rouser

The definition of a supercar has changed from one era to another in accordance with what has seemed super at different times. The term seems to have been coined in 1920 in an advertisement for the Ensign Six and its 6.7-liter straight-6 engine. Muscle cars of the 1960s and ’70s, including the Pontiac GTO and […]

Wheels: Lighter Force

While super storm Sandy was hammering the East Coast and drenching rains were merging Venice with the Adriatic Sea last fall, similar weather was pounding Morocco into mud. Downpours of biblical ferocity slashed sideways across this sliver of North Africa. Roads and bridges in the Atlas Mountains crumbled and tumbled into gorges. Village streets around […]

Elements of Style

This season, other menswear designers merely dabbled in safari style, but Stefano Ricci actually took to the wild. An avid hunter, Ricci spends several weeks each year in Africa, and his experiences in the bush bring bold accents to the collection of functional clothing and accessories he created for spring. The pieces reflect his spirit […]

From the Editors: Divided Houses

A house, as the timeworn maxim states, is not always a home. For millennia, ruling families spared no expense on their vast dwellings, but these sovereign clans sought their true refuge in structures of another kind. Scrupulously balanced alliances and meticulously arranged marriages offered princes and their progeny the surest shelter from the political tempests that […]

The Robb Reader: Rande Gerber

When I go out, it’s always a great night,” says Rande Gerber, and who would doubt him? The former model (who is married to supermodel Cindy Crawford) has owned more than 30 nightclubs and restaurants, and this year he launched a new tequila brand with his friend George Clooney. Indeed, the party life is also […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Striking the Right Chords

The growl, clatter, and rattle of engines are the sounds most commonly associated with automakers, but a collaboration between the French car company Peugeot’s design wing, Peugeot Design Lab, and the 206-year-old Parisian piano manufacturer Pleyel has yielded an instrument that produces more melodious notes. The Peugeot Design Lab Piano for Pleyel (, priced at […]

Robb Design Portfolio: The Timeless Interim

1966 Lamborghini 400 GT Lamborghini made an auspicious entry into the luxury sports-car market in 1963, unveiling Franco Scaglione’s provocative 350 GTV prototype at the Turin Auto Show. When the car went on sale in 1964, as the 350 GT, it had been restyled by Carrozzeria Touring, which employed its Superleggera fabrication method to create […]

The Alpina Gstaad

The arrival in 1905 of a railroad and a ski run quickly transformed the humble farming village of Gstaad, Swit­zerland. Within a decade, three luxury hotels—Gstaad Palace, Grand Hotel Park, and Grand Hotel Bellevue—had opened along the mountain town’s slopes. A century later, Gstaad remains an upscale retreat for downhillers, a status bolstered by the […]

Palacio Astoreca Hotel

Valparaíso may be the cultural capital of Chile—and a gateway to the Chilean wine country—but until the Palacio Astoreca Hotel opened its Victorian doors this past October, the lodging options for travelers to the bohemian enclave were lacking. The new hotel offers a stylish spot from which to explore the city’s woolens shops, retro restaurants, […]

Café Royal

Over the course of its century-and-a-half-long history, London’s Café Royal witnessed the mischief of patrons from Wilde, Churchill, and Shaw to Bardot, Taylor, and Bowie. The storied bar-cum-restaurant eventually closed in 2008, but this past December—following an extensive restoration and expansion by the new Set Hotels Group—the Georgian institution reopened as a 159-room hotel. Café […]

Home Electronics: Fab Fours

Last fall, the electronics giants Sony and LG debuted the first consumer televisions with 4K screen resolutions. The 84-inch TVs, which can display images of roughly 4,000 horizontal pixels, were soon followed by 4K models from Samsung, Sharp, and Toshiba, all launched in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Offering four times […]

Wardrobe: Creativity Unbound

Though most well-dressed men are familiar with such signature Hermès pieces as the brand’s H-shaped belt buckle and elegantly patterned neckties, even the cognoscenti remained unaware of the French fashion house’s most exclusive service until very recently. Through a newly expanded bespoke program, clients can collaborate with the firm’s men’s artistic director, Véronique Nichanian, to […]

Vacation Homes: Sailing Points

Like many vacation-home communities, the new Limassol Marina in Cyprus offers homeowners direct access to a beach. But this $470 million development in the eastern Mediterranean presents an even more compelling perk for boat owners: the ability to step directly from your residence onto your yacht. Limassol Marina, which welcomed its first residents in January, […]

Spas: Off the Menu

At the Grand Del Mar, a sprawling 400-acre resort in suburban San Diego, the list of spa treatments spans six pages and more than 30 therapies. Guests can download the treatment menu from the property’s website in advance of their stay or find a copy in their room after checking into the resort. From Touch […]

Golf: Dialing for Distance

To golfers, the search for extra distance off the tee is a never-ending quest. Club manufacturers prey on this unquenchable desire for yardage, every few years tempting us with new technologies designed to add length and improve control. The club makers’ latest long-distance lure, the adjustable driver, actually debuted nearly a decade ago. But the […]

Sport: High-Wire Adventure

I am stuck in the “cat on a screen door” position, some 2,000 feet above British Columbia’s Conrad Icefield. A common mistake of rookie rock climbers, the pose has me flattened, spread eagle, against a smooth, 75-degree rock face, white knuckles gripping the steel cable from which my existence hangs. Glacial blue spires crack and […]

Jewelry: Art for Art’s Sake

Brooke Garber Neidich commands attention—not only because she cochairs the Whitney Museum of Amer­ican Art’s board of trustees and cofounded the Child Mind Institute, a nonprofit organization devoted to children’s mental health, but also because she exudes a compelling personal style. On a recent afternoon at Barneys New York, dressed in simple black slacks and […]

Autos: Ruling Class

Audi evidently believes in the rule of three, which holds that it is best and most effective to present things in threes, whether they are animals in a fairy tale, clerics in a joke, or unalienable rights in a historic document. For the 2013 model year, Audi is offering new versions of three S models: […]

Watches: Industrial Artist

“As a collector myself, I became disillusioned as I discovered how much watch brands relied on outside suppliers to create their pieces,” says Fabien Lamarche, who founded a new boutique watch company, Julien Coudray 1518, on the principle that all the crafts essential to constructing a timepiece should be performed in-house. But unlike the many […]

Collectibles: Rich Brew

If you ever have a mid-20th-century house renovated and the contractor finds odd-looking old beer cans inside the walls, do not let the containers end up in the trash bin—or in the contractor’s possession. They could be worth tens of thousands of dollars. “The really high-grade beer cans turn up in the demolition of buildings,” […]

FrontRunners: Master Plan

Ronin Motorworks, a new Colorado-based motorcycle manufacturer, has reengineered a firearms company’s design exercise and put it into production. The Ronin Motorworks Magpul Ronin 1125R ( is based on a motorcycle prototype developed in 2010 by Colorado’s Magpul Industries, which makes rifle accessories. Like the prototype, the Magpul Ronin is built around the 1125R Buell […]

FrontRunners: Winging It

The latest creation from the New York–based architect turned furniture designer Laurie Beckerman is the Wings of Steel chair ( The $4,500 chair attracts the eye and momentarily confuses it; its form appears to change depending on the angle at which it is viewed. Though the Wings of Steel chair has a light, airy design […]

FrontRunners: Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster

The convertible version of Robb Report’s 2012 Car of the Year has arrived from Sant’Agata, Italy. The debut of the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster ( took place in January, the beginning of the company’s 50th anniversary year. The anniversary celebration will culminate in May with the Grande Giro (, a five-day, 750-mile road rally […]

FrontRunners: Long and Prosperous

The 151-foot, trideck Le Caprice V is the first Vicem Vulcan 46 (, and it was the inaugural launch in the Turkish yard’s Vulcan line of semi­custom vessels longer than 100 feet. Like the 118- and 105-foot Vulcan models, the $27 million Vulcan 46 (named for its length in meters) was designed by the Dutch […]

FrontRunners: Under Pressure

Created by a watchmaker with a penchant for designing cases and movements after racecar components, the Richard Mille RM036 Tourbillon G-Sensor Limited Edition Jean Todt ( is equipped with a first-of-its-kind accelerometer. The device measures and displays g force, the sensation of weight that one feels, for instance, when accelerating, braking, or rounding a corner […]

FrontRunners: See the Organic Light

At 55 inches, the LG OLED TV ( is the largest consumer-market TV with a screen that uses organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). The OLEDs illuminate when an electric current passes through them, so the display panel does not require backlighting engines the way LCD and plasma screens do. The absence of the engines enables the […]

FrontRunners: Diamond Jeweler’s Jubilee

A 25th-anniversary retrospective will showcase the designs of jeweler Martin Katz (, who is best known for his use of micropavé. Katz’s signature style is exemplified by the 1999 gold-wire bow brooch (pictured). It is set with 1,541 tiny pink and white diamonds. The brooch will be on display, along with dozens of other unique […]

FrontRunners: Sky Writer

Like the faces of some watches that also are created in Geneva, the barrel of the Caran d’Ache Caelograph pen ( indicates the constellations that are visible overhead at a given time. The constellation display corresponds with the day and hour designated by the adjustable rings on the top of the barrel. Caran d’Ache has […]

FrontRunners: Century Marque

Among the collections licensed by Aston Martin to mark the start of the British automaker’s second century this year is the Grant Macdonald Silver by Aston Martin collection (, a line of home accessories by the London-based silversmith. The marque’s sports cars influenced the designs of some pieces, such as the paper knife, whose handle […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar May 2013

Winemaking for William Ballentine Jr. has always been a family concern. He began his career tending vines owned by his father, who established Ballentine Vineyards at the foot of Napa’s Howell Mountain. The knowledge and experience he gained there—and through his work with other growers throughout the valley—now informs the wines of William Cole Vineyards, […]

Style: Sparkle and Hiss

With its sinuous form and exotic markings, the serpent has served as the inspiration for myriad adornments throughout the centuries. Now, with Chinese astrology’s Year of the Snake upon us, top jewelry designers have made this seductive and dangerous creature shimmer anew, with scintillating diamond-pavé and colored-stone pieces that coil or drape irresistibly around the […]