A trove of literary treasures went under the hammer at Christie’s Bibliothèque Marc Litzler sale in Paris on February 20. The Marc Litzler Library is made up, almost in its entirety, of 248 illustrated books or painters’ books. Highlights of the collection included Durer’s 1498 woodcut series Apocalypse with Pictures and Vesalius’s 1543 masterpiece on human anatomy, De Humani Corporis Fabrica. Inspired by the sale, Luxury Defined offers a trove of homes for the true lover of books and reading. Consider the legendary Beverly House, William Randolph Hearst’s former Beverly Hills estate, and its magnificent two-story library, or a medieval château in the Dordogne which features a Renaissance-inspired library designed for renowned French zoologist Pierre-Paul Grassé. Or, perhaps, a modern take on a classic reading room in a warehouse conversion in New York City. Feel free to browse.
The Beverly House in Beverly Hills, California
Designed by Gordon Kaufmann in 1927, the Beverly House commands more than 3.5 acres of immaculately landscaped grounds in the heart of Beverly Hills. Just three blocks from Sunset Boulevard, this Old Hollywood trophy estate has a fabled history. Publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst purchased the property in 1946, and John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy honeymooned there in 1950. But it’s perhaps best known for its star turn in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 film The Godfather. The main residence is approached through ornate wrought-iron gates by a sweeping 800-foot driveway to a motor court with a tile fountain. Built of terracotta stucco, the palatial H-shaped mansion is a perfect blend of classic Spanish and Italianate styles. Inside, magnificent period details include a two-story wood-panelled library with hand-carved bookshelves and a wraparound walkway, a billiards room with herringbone parquet floors, and a coved ballroom. The classically designed grounds by landscape architect Paul Thiene are a testament to the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Pellyn Wood Estate in Charlotte, North Carolina
This ultimately private estate is secluded within the coveted SouthPark enclave of Pellyn Wood. The manor house is set like a jewel amid five landscaped acres enhanced with formal gardens, walking trails, a pavilion with fireplace, tennis court, and saltwater pool. The main level is graced with a chef’s kitchen with butler’s pantry, and formal reception rooms, which leads into a beautiful walnut-panelled library with a cast-iron spiral staircase ascending to the mezzanine floor. The lower level houses the wine cellar, billiards room, and gym. The private quarters include an owner’s retreat with private terrace and three guest bedrooms.
Luxury Warehouse Conversion in New York’s West Chelsea Arts District
This stunning converted warehouse in New York’s coveted West Chelsea Arts District is defined by extraordinary light and scale. Meticulously restored and modernized, this unique home offers 6,400 square feet of column-free, exposed-brick living and entertainment space. A convertible layout and interlocking double- and triple-height ceilings as well as two entrances make it ideal for an artist, gallerist, or collector. The residence flows through multiple airy levels, accessible via a series of stairs and a footway bridge. The layout is currently configured with two en suite bedrooms, a great room with living and dining areas, a vast open-plan kitchen, an office, and a modern library/reading room with timber bookshelves, a beamed ceiling, and floor-to-ceiling windows. The property also includes a terrace, private garden, and buildable air rights for an additional expansion of 6,000–12,000 square feet.
Resort-Style Sanctuary in Rancho Santa Fe, California
On more than three acres of glorious grounds in the exclusive enclave of Rancho Santa Fe, California, this connoisseur’s estate celebrates the art of fine living and entertaining. The main residence boasts over 10,800 square feet of sumptuous interior spaces adorned with elegant architectural details, such as burnished wood floors, wainscoting, coffered and beamed ceilings, and picture windows. The library harks to a bygone era: clad almost entirely in exotic wood with a monumental fireplace. There are ample accommodations: five bedrooms, five full and two half bathrooms in the main house and an additional two bedrooms and two bathrooms in the separate guest cottage. The lavish resort-like amenities include a pool terrace with waterfall and outdoor fireplace.
Grade II-Listed Manor in Ottery St Mary, Devon, England
The Chanters House is an immaculately restored Grade II-listed building surrounded by 21 acres in the Devon countryside. An estate of national historical significance, the property was owned by the family of English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge for many generations. The 10-bedroom manor house has been completely refurbished to an exacting standard, yet the ornate period details have remained intact. The entire west wing is taken up on the main level by a magnificent oak library, which was built in 1890 to house Lord Coleridge’s collection of 18,000 books. The main level includes a study, formal dining room, two kitchens, gym and sauna, billiards room, a party room with bar, and a Victorian conservatory with an aviary. The parklike grounds include a walled garden, private chapel, coach house and stables, gate lodge, an indoor pool complex, and tennis court.
This sumptuous Mediterranean villa was designed as a celebration of art, nature, and the senses. Perched on a hillside with views of the Mediterranean Sea, the home is evocative of a Moorish palace, accoutered with carefully sourced antiques, rich fabrics, and decorative handcrafted finishes of wood and stone. The library is equally ornate with its intricately-carved, hand-painted bookshelves and floor-to-ceiling wood panelling. The home’s private master suite is a private oasis with a Jacuzzi, sauna, and panoramic views of the bay. Furthering the opulence are the serene outdoor spaces, which include a lavender field and a spectacular infinity pool facing the sea.
Waterfront Manor in Alton, New Hampshire
Located on the eastern shore of Clay point, this scenic waterfront retreat features 596 feet of lakefront and nearly five acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. The residence includes four bedroom suites, nine bathrooms, a gym, movie theater, and a one-bedroom guest apartment above the garage. The home boasts eight fireplaces, including a log-burning hearth in the stately library. Among the rare waterfront amenities are a stone amphitheater built into the banks of the lake and a terrace with a stone cottage and multi-dock pier. The infinity pool has a waterfall and grotto with hot tub. Two abutting properties, one with a two-bedroom barn, two-bay boathouse, and tennis court, are available for separate purchase.
Historic Château in Rouffillac, France
Château Rouffillac is a magnificent 17th-century estate in France’s beautiful Perigord Noir region. Built on an 11th-century site, the château was expanded in the 19th century and later refurbished for modern living. A sweeping driveway, more than half a mile in length, leads up to the château, guest and caretaker’s dwellings, and several outbuildings. The 10-bedroom residence is arrayed with decorative architectural details inspired by its medieval history. Most rooms offer breathtaking views of the Dordogne valley and river. The library, which overlooks the courtyard and features a ceiling with original painted beams à la française, was designed for the estate’s previous owner, Pierre-Paul Grassé, the renowned zoologist and author of over 300 publications, including the influential 52-volume academic journal Traité de Zoologie. The château is set in nearly 50 acres composed of wood- and parkland, formal gardens with a swimming pool and poolhouse, several natural springs, and the ruins of the estate’s original medieval chapel.
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Clapboard Ridge Estate in Greenwich, Connecticut
This elegant country estate in Greenwich, Connecticut, has been renovated to with meticulous attention to detail. Monumental gates open to a driveway and a paved-stone courtyard. The entrance to the main house is a palatial two-story central hall with antique marble floors, a sweeping staircase, and an elevator. The living and reception rooms include a grandly scaled library with a fireplace, an office, family room, formal dining room, glass-enclosed breakfast room, and a modern country kitchen with fireplace. Upstairs, five bedrooms include a master suite with fireplace and his-and-her bathrooms and dressing rooms. The third floor features an exercise room, a home theater, and family room with views of Long Island Sound. A two-bedroom apartment above the six-car garage provides additional accommodations. The grounds are immaculate: Grand terraces flow out to the pool with spa and poolhouse, a gazebo, croquet lawn, and lighted tennis court.Find More Homes with Luxurious Libraries Lucy Carsen
Christie's International Real Estate