The Ultimate Home Tour


The world's top designers create the ideal residence. Who really was America's first billionaire? Plus, your own private golf course, acquired taste autos and high-toned timepieces.

From This Issue

FrontRunners: Replay It Again, Sam

REPLAYTV 4320 has set itself apart from other digital video recorders by offering the most recording storage time (320 hours as opposed to TiVo’s 60), and by making it possible for you to send your recorded TV broadcasts over a broadband connection to fellow ReplayTV users. The sharing may have to cease, however. The major […]

Edifice Rex

When we set out to bring you the ultimate house tour, we didn’t realize that our ideal residence would actually be 11 different homes. When we speak of home, we speak as much of a state of mind as of a structure. Each home you own serves a different purpose in your life. When you […]

Home Electronics: Home Is Where the Art Is

Your get-together is a smashing success. The music is right, the wine is a hit, and guests mingle happily. Some spill into the media room to admire the 60-inch flat-panel screen that you’ve proudly hung on the wall, only to discover its face is darkened, because you didn’t want to distract guests with the exploits […]

From The Editors: Sheltering Minds

The Villa, perched at the river’s edge, rose into the white Italian sunlight like an immense stone eagle with folded wings. Reflected in the rippling surface of the Brenta, its famous hulk, crowned by chimneys in the form of Arabian minarets and fronted by a massive six-columned Greek portico, recalled the romantic tale the locals […]

The Smart Residence: Sensory Perception

Mark Stiving is disappointed in most home automation. “Any [system] can turn lights on. The challenge is turning them off,” says Stiving, president and CEO of Destiny Networks, a California home automation company that, he says, is truly automatic. The real lighting challenge, actually, is knowing when to turn them off. Until now, no home […]

FrontRunners: Town And Country

XV Beacon (877.XVBEACON) and the White Barn Inn (207. 967.2321) are offering the best of both worlds—city and country—for weekend travelers to New England. The tony boutique hotel in the heart of Boston and the charming Relais & Châteaux property in the quaint yet cultured seaside community of Kennebunkport, Maine, have created a $1,275 three-night […]

Travel: Natural Fit

Some people may still think of the Catskills as chopped liver, but the Emerson Inn & Spa, the first small luxury hotel in the Catskill Forest Preserve, is quickly changing that image to foie gras. Located in Mt. Tremper, a two-hour drive from New York City and 15 minutes from Woodstock, the Emerson is part […]

Leisure: The Lost Art of Venice

Upon your arrival, the glory of Venice strikes you. It is present in the architecture of the palaces, churches, and squares. The city’s onetime prosperity is witnessed in commissioned paintings by Bellini, Carpaccio, Tintoretto, and Titian. And who is not familiar with the unique cuisine that developed in Venice? After all, when the city-state controlled […]

Personal Technology: It Shoots, It Scores

Digital cameras are about the size of a wallet and are just as easy to operate. Preview screens provide infinite opportunities to get a photo right, and features such as Sony’s Night Shot and NightFraming enable you to compose and take pictures in little or no light. These cameras are foolproof—and that’s what is wrong […]

FrontRunners: Strum Thing Special

C.R. Martin & Co. (610.759.2837) wanted something special to mark the creation of the 750,000th Martin guitar, so it commissioned inlay artist Larry Robinson to enhance the instrument. The result is the $400,000 D-45 Peacock. Robinson spent more than a year inlaying each of the guitar’s 2,000-plus decorative pieces. The peacock is the dominant motif […]

FrontRunners: A Pour From The Past

Think of it as the distillers’ equivalent of cloning. Macallan whisky maker Bob Dalgarno was assigned the task of re-creating the 1861 by replicating the single malt’s color, texture, and taste. A hypodermic needle was used to carefully penetrate the cork of a sealed original 1861 and withdraw a sample that was then nosed and […]

FrontRunners: Chocolate Salut

Sophisticated chocoholics know where to get their fix, and it has nothing to do with a trip to Pennsylvania. Those who take their cocoa as seriously as their wine have come to appreciate the gastronomic standards implemented by France’s Valrhona chocolatiers (310.277.0401,   The company employs the same cultivation techniques as fine wine producers […]

Smoke: A Rolling Resort

You will need plenty of bravado for your cigar-rolling lesson at Graycliff Hotel’s cigar factory in Nassau, The Bahamas. After watching old-time Cuban leaf artists as they bunch, roll, and press tobacco with fluid grace and precision, you can join them at the bench. As a novice roller, you are humbled as you take the […]

FrontRunners: Pietà Reproduced

Michelangelo’s marble Pietà sculpture in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome depicts one of the most moving episodes of the Crucifixion, the Virgin Mary mourning over the body of her son after he has been taken down from the cross. It was, and still is, considered the great masterpiece of the artist’s early career. Vatican artisans […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Art Meets Architecture

Statuesque wineglasses in wheel-cut crystal on a hand-wrought silver tray (left), a towering skyscraper centerpiece in silver and ivory, a cigar humidor in repoussé silvered brass with an ebonized interior, and a silver caviar server with oval cabochons of malachite are some of our favorite things from Vienna 1903–32, which is showing at New York’s […]

Dining: Fruitful Abundance

On a single visit to Copia: The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts in Napa, Calif., it’s possible to sip a cool glass of Viognier, join a poetry workshop, dip freshly baked bread into locally pressed extra virgin olive oil, and learn how to design an edible centerpiece or plant an Asian garden. […]

Art: Resale Value

There is no such thing as a permanent collection. The artworks that you donate to your favorite museum can be deaccessed—sold off to the highest bidder as it prunes its holdings to make room for, and fund the purchase of, new works. In practice, it means that the museum curator takes a second look at […]

Spirits: Duty-Free Discoveries

When flying internationally, I like to arrive at the airport at least an hour earlier than required. It has nothing to do with the new measures of heightened security. Rather, the time I build into my itinerary is spent seeking out the unique whiskeys and Cognacs found exclusively in duty-free stores.   Distributors know that […]

Golf: Sticks for Woods

When Nike designed its first line of golf clubs—drivers, irons, and wedges—it did so with Tiger Woods in mind. The company reasoned that if it could convince Woods to use its new clubs on the PGA Tour, Nike might be able to claim a significant share of the $2 billion worldwide golf equipment market. It […]

In Your Own Backyard

Tim Blixseth stares down from a rocky ledge to a picture-perfect fairway as he describes how he built this course in the hills near Palm Springs, Calif. The 51-year-old timber baron and real estate developer picks up a stick and draws a line in the earth, adding a few curves as he speaks. “A new […]

Style: Rare Birds

A complicated watch movement—its intricate mechanisms engaged in the rhythmic tracking of time—is beautiful to behold. But to truly appreciate one of the highest complications in watchmaking, you must close your eyes. Hearing the delicate chimes of a minute repeater is a uniquely gratifying experience, far beyond simply peering at gears and wheels through a […]

Health & Grooming: Blade Runners

My college roommate, Ira, knew how to live well. “Come on!” he said one day as he dragged me into an old barbershop in Providence, R.I., that I had walked by hundreds of times, and ordered each of us a shave. I settled into the smooth contours of the leather chair, my face moistened under […]

FrontRunners: Ahead of the Curve

Parmigiani Fleurier has marked a watchmaking milestone with Forma, the first timepiece from the exclusive boutique brand that is powered with an in-house movement, the new automatic Calibre 331. “Given that we completely manufacture the movement as well as the case, there is great harmony between the container and what it contains,” says master watchmaker […]

FrontRunners: Natural Woman

Laura Munder’s jewelry offers a glimpse of her life and loves. Her 18-karat gold Wave necklace set with colorful wave- and dome-shaped semiprecious stones was inspired by carefree summers at the Palm Beach and Sag Harbor seasides. Hours spent strolling European gardens yielded her Butterfly necklace and earrings, with more than 1,000 carats of faceted […]

Finance & Investment: Cash of the Titans

These days, there’s not much mystique about being a millionaire. A game show contestant can become one in half an hour, and each week state lotteries mint new fortunes. The Millionaire Next Door informed readers about the relatively quotidian lifestyles of penny-pinchers. Millionaires may not quite be a dime a dozen, but some 3.5 percent […]

Motorcycles: Formula for Flair

Formula One fans are used to seeing Michael Schumacher, Ferrari’s championship driver, zooming through turns and blasting down straightaways in a fluidly sculpted, bright red F/1 race car. So you might expect Schumacher, who rides motorcycles away from the racetrack, to pilot a similarly sleek Italian sportbike. Until recently, Schumacher’s personal stable comprised a vintage […]

Autos as Acquired Tastes

One of the more poignant moments in American cinema occurs in the 1987 classic Tin Men, when aluminum siding salesman Danny DeVito tells his wife, Barbara Hershey, about the importance of driving a Cadillac. A less substantial vehicle, DeVito’s character explains, would not instill confidence in his clients, but “a Cadillac means you’re dealing with […]

Autos: Luxury with Purpose

The patriarch is moving out, community assets have been divided, and it is all over but the garage sale as Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and Bentley Motors end their 71-year marriage. After a three-year transition involving negotiations more complicated than those for the Gadsden Purchase, a resolution has been reached: Rolls-Royce, 98, a stolid and inimitable […]

Aircraft: Sky TV

Psst. We know the truth, all you Airshow customers. Sure, you might say you have Airshow’s Tailwind 100 satellite to stay connected to CNN and your stock quotes while you fly to your next business meeting. But we know what you’re really watching in your Gulfstream. “In most cases, the satellite is being bought by […]

FrontRunners: Always On Call

In the summer of 1998, Donald Diamond was circling the globe in Queen of Diamonds, his 132-foot Feadship yacht, when the engine sputtered, then stopped, leaving him stranded off the coast of Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania on the east coast of Africa. Instead of abandoning ship and hopping the first flight home, […]

Wings & Water: Ace of Clubs

The Cruising Club of America, one of the world’s most exclusive yacht clubs, has no trophy room, no dining room, no marina, no docks—and no clubhouse. Rothschilds, DuPonts, Kelloggs, the Browns of Brown University, the Adamses of Raytheon, and the Watsons of IBM have all been members, but annual dues are only $125, and arriving […]

Symposium: A Smart Home Becomes Too Clever

Good evening, sir,” my house said. The face recognition camera cued the front door to open. I wiped my feet and stepped inside. “Hello, Alfred,” I replied as I removed my coat. “I sense tension in your movements, sir. The deal did not go well?” “No, Alfred, it did not. Could you fix me a—” […]

Connoisseur at Large: Reunited Amid Kryptonite

It would be like old times, the Connoisseur reflected, the chance to relive those innocent years of youth. His old school chums would dredge up long-suppressed memories of awkward moments in the classroom and on the athletic field, laugh over each other’s ill-fated teenage romances, and call each other by nicknames whose origins were too […]

Journeys: Café Klatsch

In the world of the Parisian sidewalk café, where rudeness is no more remarkable than cracks in the pavement, Jean Francois, the waiter at La Palette on the rue de Seine in St-Germain, looms as a cultural high-water mark. “He is the rudest waiter in all Paris,” says the Paris-based Barbara Pasquet James, editor-at-large for […]