A Look at American Castles

Custom Builder has searched far and wide for some of the most impressive custom projects to land on our doorstep. Take a look at these projects from award-winning architects and designers

January 01, 2010

You don't have to cross the ocean to find dwellings that are fit for royalty — these custom homes have it all.

Nestled in Beverly Park, a gated community in Beverly Hills, Calif., this home is situated near some of the most extravagant abodes in the Los Angeles area (neighbors include Sylvester Stallone, Rod Stewart, Magic Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson).

The homeowner wanted an extremely large residence designed for entertaining on a grand scale. Additionally, it was important for the home to be functional and livable for a family with children. The Landry Design Group used historical precedents as an influence in designing a home that would work in a contemporary context and be adaptable to California's climate. For example, the original French Normandy chateaux did not have large windows because the technology at that time did not allow for large panes of glass. Today, larger openings are possible that admit more light.

The home is 25,000 square feet and sits on slightly less than two acres. It sports 10 large bedrooms, 14 bathrooms and an incredible office/library. One of the home's most spectacular features is the circular cutout in the library floor with a glass oculus that peers into the brick, 2,500-bottle wine cellar below. The exterior of the study has a waterfall that flows under the driveway, becomes a stream, and feeds into the outdoor pool.

There's a full marble spa in the basement, massage rooms and an indoor pool with hot tub. The grounds are fully landscaped and permits have been pulled for a future tennis court. As if that wasn't enough, there's a large outdoor pool joined by fountains and covered loggias, and a patio/barbecue area with a complete array of appliances.

Builder: Dugally Oberfeld, Bel Air, Calif.

Architect: Landry Design Group, Los Angeles

Square feet: 25,000

 Italy with Charlotte

This elegant home, described as “Italian Fusion” by designer Jim Phelps, was built on a golf course in South Charlotte's Longview community. The site was a bit challenging: a 1-acre, long, deep lot that slopes right to left with views of the fairway. Phelps incorporated a series of courtyards that run throughout to help break up and complement the design. “The courtyards definitely aren't typical of the architecture around here,” he says, adding, “The house rambles, which makes it fun.”

To satisfy the clients' love of outdoor living, the residence has a pool, a covered dining area and an oversized fireplace.

The interior spaces include a foyer/den immediately to the left of the front entrance with stained paneling and a dramatic coffered ceiling. On the lower level is a wine cellar with a barrel-vaulted brick ceiling. A home theatre with stadium-style seating and a “wellness center” with exercise, sauna and massage rooms round out the amenities.

Other noteworthy features include a series of groin vaults (four arches that come together, usually joined with a light fixture) throughout the home and a 12-foot-radius, arched glass dome in the living room.

Location: Charlotte, N.C.

Builder: Arcadia Homes, Charlotte

Residential Designer: Jim Phelps, Jim Phelps Collection, Cornelius, N.C.

Square feet: 10,757

Robert Egge Construction and architect Jeff Loveless combined forces to create this beautiful estate, located on a bluff in north Seattle. Four bedrooms with separate baths and four fireplaces made with hand-carved French limestone top the list of features in the French Country style home. Other luxuries include hand-forged iron balusters, Brazilian walnut floors with custom inlays, and expertly carved millwork in every room.

The exquisite details of the cabinetry and millwork are complemented by a serene lighting design and expansive windows softened with electric sun shades. The estate includes a home theatre, a recording studio and a helipad.

Egge built and subsequently remodeled the home, which has breathtaking views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. “A year after we completed the estate, our client called on us to remodel the entryway using a hand-carved French limestone surround,” he says. This involved upgrading the existing structure and expanding the entry porch to accommodate the weight and size of the limestone. A new barrel-vaulted copper roof, copper flashing, delicate copper downspouts and recessed lighting add elegance to the entry.

“Although the remodel required opening a large hole in the roof, we succeeded in keeping the home dry and free of water damage during a wet November and the biggest windstorm in Seattle history,” Egge says.

Location: Seattle

Builder: Robert Egge Construction, Woodinville, Wash.

Architect: Jeffrey Loveless Residential Design & Planning, Issaquah, Wash.

Interior Designer: Bruce A. Martin Interiors, Ketchum, Idaho

Landscape Architect: Thomas L. Berger Landscape Architect Associates, Seattle

Square feet: 11,000

This waterfront vacation home in Door County, Wis., was designed to take full advantage of the surrounding views. A sunroom overlooking a private marina features a painted beam-and-plank ceiling consistent with the home's coastal design.

Other nautical-themed elements are repeated throughout, including a study finished entirely in teak. The home wraps around a courtyard, providing shelter and privacy for outdoor activities. A stonework chimney doubles as a built-in barbecue on the deck outside and a fireplace inside.

In keeping with the waterfront aesthetic, the exterior is an elegant combination of cedar shakes and stone. A lighthouse-themed turret and cupola complete the look.

Location: Door County, Wis.

Builder: DeLeers Construction, Green Bay, Wis.

Architect: Erickson Herscoe DeStefano & Partners, Naples, Fla.

Square Feet: 5,500

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