Nemours Mansion and Gardens – Wilmington, Delaware

Just outside Wilmington, Delaware, lies the largest mansion every built in the state. Nemours Mansion and Gardens, residence of the DuPont family, contains five floors of living space. At more than 47,000 square feet, the residence is a acre in size just under its roof. Adding to the beauty and size of Nemours are its grounds, extending another 220 acres, which feature a formal French garden modeled after Versailles.

Nemours Mansion

Following a $39 million restoration completed in early 2008, the Nemours Mansion and Gardens has been restored to its original glory, a mansion in the style of a Louis XVI French chateau. Originally the design of Carrere and Hastings (architects famed for the Frick Mansion in New York, as well as the New York Public Library) and built by Smyth and Son of Wilmington, Delaware, in 1909-1910, the Nemours Mansion’s 102 rooms are filled with French furnishings from the 18th century, as well as a stunning collection of artwork.

Included among those artists on exhibit at Nemours are British artist J.M.W. Turner and American artist James Peale, as well as American sculptor Frederick Remington. Other art objects at Nemours include work by Tiffany and Limoges. Added to these treasures are many more tapestries, statues, paintings (some dating back as far as the 15th century), and oriental carpets, which are incorporated into the mansion to give it the feel of a home, not a gallery.

Nemours Grounds

With the largest French-styled gardens in the United States, Nemours is a very special place. Following from le Petit Trianon design (the gardens at Versailles beloved by Marie Antoinette), the Nemours Gardens may be even more beloved than the mansion. Dominating the garden is the statue “Achievement,” which rises over the gardens’ maze. Designed by Henri Crenier and covered in gold leaf, this sparkling statue draws the eye to the gardens’ center.

Another dazzling spot in the gardens comes from the reflecting pool, set amidst the gardens’ lush landscaping. Beyond the formal French gardens lie the Brandywine Valley woodlands, with indigenous wildlife including red-tailed hawks, white-tailed deer, and fox. The original Nemours Mansion and Gardens was run to be self-sufficient, with its own orchards, kitchen garden, greenhouses, and cattle.

Legacy of Alfred I. DuPont

Nemours Mansion and Gardens was part of the legacy of Alfred I. DuPont (creator of what is today known as the DuPont Company), who named it for the town in France where his great, great grandfather lived. In addition to the Nemours Mansion and Gardens in Delaware, DuPont left a generously endowed Nemours Foundation, which focuses on children’s health and includes the nearby Alfred I. DuPont Hospital (a working children’s hospital). Upholding his belief that, “it is the duty of everyone in the world to do what is in his power to alleviate human suffering,” the charitable Nemours Foundation today works toward the goal of improving the lives of children.

Touring Nemours Mansion and Garden

Today, the only way to visit the mansion and its grounds are …

The Mystery Behind the Winchester Mansion

The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California is one of the most beautiful mansions in the world.

It’s also one of the most bizarre. Windows in the floor. Doors that open to a two-story drop. Secret passageways. Stairways to nowhere (which could have been a famous song by Led Zep had they ever written it).

Why such an odd construction? It was built by ghosts.

The mansion was the brainchild of Sarah Winchester, the wife of William Wirt Winchester, who was the heir to the Winchester rifle fortune. After her infant daughter and husband died, Sarah Winchester sought the guidance of a spiritualist.

The Boston Medium explained to her that her family was cursed by the ghosts of all those who died by the “The Gun That Won West.” The only way to appease the spirits and save her life was to move west and use her blood money to build the spirits a house.

Legend has it that Mrs. Winchester literally let the spirits design the house. She would conduct nightly sances where good spirits would give her instructions that she passed to her foreman every morning.

That turned the mansion into a sprawling 7-story maze of 160 rooms, 47 stairways, and 13 bathrooms. In fact, the number 13 appears quite a bit in the house: rooms with 13 windows, walls with 13 panels, chandeliers with 13 candles, even walls with 13 coat hooks.

The unusual design of the mansion was also spawned by Mrs. Winchester’s attempts to disorient evil spirits that were stalking her. She allegedly never slept in the same room two nights in a row and would often sneak through secret passages to deter ghosts… because ghosts can’t pass through walls or anything.

Mrs. Winchester also believed that if construction never stopped, she would live forever. So her crew worked around-the-clock, even on weekends and holidays, for 38 straight years, until Mrs. Winchester died of heart failure in 1922. Today, her eccentric $5.5 million construction (that’s around $20 million in today’s money) still remains in an unfinished state… which I’m sure didn’t look good on the architect’s resume.

The tour of the house was an informative and entertaining look inside the mind of a woman gone mad. And you have to stay with the group because if you get lost, they literally have to send a search and rescue team to find you (if the bad ghosts haven’t gotten you yet). I always had the feeling that one wrong turn would lead us into a portal to nowhere; after all, the mansion is basically a mirror maze away from becoming a carnival funhouse.

Unlike the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, however, when you leave you don’t hear a man say, ” a ghost will follow you home!” Bummer – that would have been a cheap souvenir.…

Elite Modular Mansion Homes

Modular mansions come in sizes that might startle the average home buyer. Elite modular homes are available in five, ten and sometimes fifteen thousand square feet. These homes are the latest trend among the financial elite. To the wealthy, modular mansions make sense because you get more home for less, receiving all the extras they expect without any sacrifices.

The general public takes longer to catch up with new trends. Some still believe modular homes are just fancy trailers, but nothing could be further from the truth. Just like trucks were once considered just a work vehicle, some trucks are now considered luxury vehicles. The same can be said for modular homes, they are now available in every size with any floor plan that the customer desires.

From their humble beginnings modular homes have evolved to become high precision homes, with built-in fixtures that incorporate the latest advances in automation, cad-cam design, and quality control. From a construction standpoint, the accuracy and strength excels over the traditionally stick-built home. The average modular home contains 17-20% more material compared to the same home built on location.

The additional material comes from the need to strengthen the home for shipment and the crane assembly once it reaches the building site. The added strength and rigidity helps maintain a solid home for generations to come. At the site, most homes are set in place in two to four days, and the finish work which includes electrical, mechanical, septic, garage, driveway, and other architectural details, are normally completed in a 60-120 days. The shorter completion time is an added attraction for many buyers, waiting to see their dream home.

Size has no limit as attested by the 12,700 square foot Cape Cod modular mansion built in Massachusetts that was comprised of 26 individual sections. The owner achieved the appearance of a traditional “period home”, using modern materials giving the feeling of warm and cozy, new antique. The home was designed for its ocean front site, with all the rich details you would expect in a custom high-end home. Skeptical buyers can take a virtual tour of their home plan, room-by-room before it is ever built and see every detail, right down to the placement of their furniture through the use of modern computer technology.

From a financial standpoint, there is an average savings as much as 10-20% for the same floor plan compared to a stick built home. If wealthy buyers are reaching to the modular format to build their dreams, they understand the value in using modern automation for a quality built home, and perhaps the average home buyer should look closer at the modular option when searching for a home builder.…

Top 5 Atlanta Condominium Amenities

While location and floor plan layouts might be the key to choosing your new condo, don’t forget about considering the amazing amenities of the condo property. Perhaps some of the best features of the condo-lifestyle are the resort-like amenities including: private club rooms with bars, 24-hour concierge services, private poolside cabanas, game rooms equipped with everything from pool to poker tables, valet parking, guest suites, etc. After scouring Atlanta for some of the best condo amenities we have compiled a listing of the top 5 to keep your eye out for when looking for your new condo residence!

1. Indoor and Outdoor Movie Theatres at the Paramount. A state of the art indoor theatre is just the beginning of celebrity-inspired amenities at the Paramount. Add to it the outdoor theatre capabilities where you can host a private viewing party while enjoying a delicious grilled out dinner and it’s over the top!

2. Putting Green and Golf Simulator at the Aberdeen. Golf lovers agree that being able to practice on this well-manicured putting green is key to improving their game. And when it is raining, being able to head inside and enjoy a state-of-the-art golf simulator makes this any golfer’s dream residence.

3. Saline-infused Heated Swimming Pool at the Ritz Carlton Residences. Overlook Buckhead, Midtown, Brookhaven, and Downtown Atlanta all while soaking in a luxurious resident-only pool with private dressing rooms and pool-side towel service.

4. His and Hers Saunas at Luxe. What could possibly be better after a hard workout or a long and stressful day at the office than a relaxing sauna? The his and hers sauna accommodations at Luxe provide a spa-like escape in your own home!

5. Expansive and State of the Art Gym at the Manhattan Condos. From new and diverse equipment to mounted televisions on each cardio machine, the Manhattan gym is perfect for the hardcore weightlifter, power speed walker, yoga enthusiast, and personal training rooms.…

7 Reasons for Buying a Condominium

Hi Everyone:

I’ve been invited to speak to a Heritage Group, comprised of retiree’s who are interested in learning more about the condominium life style. In preparation for this presentation, I’ve examined some of the main reasons what makes a condominium so popular, and some of the advantages that come with this life-style. By the way, condos come in different types.

So here we go: 7 Reasons for Buying a Condominium

1) A cost-effective alternative to houses.

I’ve just listed and sold a 700 sq ft bi-level home which received 11 offers and sold for well over $200,000. No garage, no appliances included, nothing fancy…a good solid house with a few upgrades. By comparison, there is an 1100 ft condominium, with central air and central furnace, insuite laundry and all appliances that will sell for approx. $165,000. For First Time Buyers, who are sick of the bidding wars, this is an excellent alternative.

2) Lifestyle

Do you like to travel? Or perhaps you’re both working full time and looking after the house and yard is a chore you simply don’t have time for? A Condominium offer a simple ‘lock-up-and-go’ lifestyle. In many cases, your neighbours won’t even know you’re gone,….unless you tell them.

3) No Yardwork

Getting tired of shoveling all winter, and mowing all summer? Is house and yard maintenance weighing you down, or simply getting away from you? In a Condominium, you don’t have to lift a finger. Walks are shoveled, grass is cut, garbage is picked up and halls and common grounds are cleaned and maintained. Just enjoy…

4) Security of a Condominium

A Condominium (especially Highrise Units) offers secure entrances, with security cameras and often even patrolling security companies. As a former police officer I can tell you that break-ins to high-rise condos are rare. While they DO occur, when compared to break-ins to houses, they are statistically insignificant. Piece of mind living in a secure condo.

5) Community

Many condominium owners find that in a condo, their neighbours are enjoying a similar lifestyle, and so they have more in common with these folks. Many condos also offer “common-rooms” where people can get together and talk, or fitness rooms, pools etc etc. This is especially true for the 55+ buildings where all your neighbours are in a similar age group as yourself.

6) Lower Operating Costs

In most condos, especially in the highrise and townhouse variety, the building insurance is already included in the condominium fee. As is the water-bill. And sometimes the heat and hydro as well. Building maintenance is included, so you dont have to worry about replacing a furnace, or the shingles or the windows. And if heat is NOT included, heating a 1000 sq ft apartment style suite is far less expensive than the average 1000 ft bungalow, often even as low as half the cost. (Thats because the units above, below and beside you help insulate you from the elements)

7) Benefits of Home Ownership

With some limitations, condominium …