Extraordinary Properties

Extraordinary Properties

Historical houses invite the curious to discover generations of hidden stories
Historical houses invite the curious to discover generations of hidden stories

R eading a historical novel or watching a biopic is not the only way to travel back in time. Imagine living in a home itself rich in history: sitting in the study of an illustrious politician, sleeping in the bedroom of a movie star, setting foot on a former battlefield in its grounds. “Selling antique houses requires a lot of research,” says Beth Cote, an agent with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in Connecticut, who divides her time between homes and history books.

One such focus is Ludington House, a landmark mansion located in Connecticut’s Old Lyme Historic District. This 1895 property was designed for Charles Ludington by architect Henry R Marshall, an enthusiast for the colonial revival style. Ludington’s daughter Katharine was a founding member of the League of Women Voters. The three-floor manor has high ceilings, intricate mouldings, an elegant staircase and French doors leading to both bedrooms and blue stone terraces, surrounded by lush gardens.

“Imagine living in a home itself rich in history.”

“The majority of estates in Connecticut are antique homes, but there are very few on the market these days,” says Cote. “What makes Ludington House special is that it has had only four owners in over a hundred years.” In the course of her research, Cote also discovered from Jim Lampos and Michaelle Pearson’s book Revolution in the Lymes that this site was where the Sons of Liberty hosted a spin-off of the Boston tea party in 1774.

New England does not hold the monopoly on historic residences. In Piedmont, California, architect Albert Farr, once commissioned by the author Jack London, designed the 1926-built Hampton House. This spectacular 11,870 sq ft property features seven bedrooms, multiple living areas and a separate guest unit. As a proponent of the Georgian style, Farr indulged in symmetrical forms, pediments and multi-pane windows, conducive to natural light. Sensitively modernised by previous owners, Farr’s vision lives on, preserving the property’s cachet and sense of indoor-outdoor living.

Overlooking Whitefish Bay in Wisconsin stands a masterpiece of Italian Renaissance revival architecture, marked by its columns and geometrical shapes, interiors vibrant with gold decoration and antique-looking frescoes. It was designed in 1915 by Roger Kirchoff and Thomas Leslie Rose for Herman Uihlein. The nine-room residence, extensively restored by its current owner, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Four decades on, it combines old-world craftsmanship with modern living.

Back on the East Coast, minutes from downtown Annapolis in Maryland, is a former Capuchin monastery. The 35,000 sq ft brick-coated property sits on 23 private acres of land at a bend of the Severn River, with 270 degree views of the water. Renovated back to its classic Georgian style, with contemporary touches, the main home retains 18th-century elements, while the exterior features a nine-car garage, 60ft infinity pool and direct access by funicular to a six-slip private dock.

Our final stop is the south coast of Sweden and the historic Högasten. Part of the Charlottenlund estate in the early 1900s, this 185.33 acre property consists of a main residence built in 1914 with high ceilings, stone floors and a three-winged courtyard. To the south is a Versailles-inspired park; to the north a 17-acre beech forest rejuvenated in 1998. Högasten’s own holdings also include a U-shaped farm and stables, and an 1861 school building that overlooks the Baltic Sea.

History invites curiosity. As Beth Cote says of Ludington House: “When selling this kind of property, it is important to find the right buyer, the perfect match – someone curious about the history of the estate, its architecture and the people who used to live in it.”

Old Lyme, Connecticut

Ludington House is a landmark historical home located on Lyme Street in the heart of the Old Lyme Historic District. Rich with history, this home offers grand spaces, high ceilings, eight fireplaces and intricate mouldings. A foyer welcomes you with a beautiful staircase, an arched “hide away” alcove and French doors. The elegant dining room has an accent dark ceiling and crystal sconces, while the large sunny kitchen and butler’s pantry is the heart of this home. The main level opens up to wraparound porches and access to a garden suite. The nine private bedroom en-suites are located on the second floor. This incredible estate’s grounds feature expansive patios, terraces, gardens, a four-bay garage/barn – and everything in strolling distance to the charming Lyme Street Village.


Property ID: Q5XNMM
William Pitt
Sotheby’s International Realty
Beth Cote +1 860 434 2400
Colette Harron +1 860 304 2391

Piedmont, California

This is an opportunity to own a completely renovated and updated heritage estate in an excellent Piedmont location. Designed by architect Albert Farr in 1926, Hampton House has been expertly modernised while preserving the home’s original elegance, with interiors that feature custom cabinetry, marble countertops, and premium fixtures and appliances, with plenty of natural light. Host gatherings in a newly expanded kitchen, impressive formal living and dining rooms and sweeping outdoor patios. A level lot facilitates effortless connection to beautifully maintained grounds that include multiple outdoor living areas, a rose garden, a tennis court, and mature planting for privacy. There is also a separate guest unit. A rare opportunity to enjoy all the Bay Area has to offer, living in a vibrant and walkable community just minutes from San Francisco.


Property ID: 88Z6GC
Golden Gate
Sotheby’s International Realty
Ann Newton Cane +1 415 999 0253
Michael Dreyfus +1 650 485 3476

Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin

The Herman and Claudia Uihlein residence is situated on more than three acres in Whitefish Bay and is a spectacular example of Italian Renaissance architecture and old-world craftsmanship re-imagined for today’s living. The residence has been carefully restored. The current steward of this property has invested significantly in upgrading and maintaining the home to perfection, installing a remodelled kitchen, new boiler and air conditioning systems, renovated baths and fine finishes. With both intimate and expansive spaces, this is the ideal setting for social living, family gatherings and events of any size.


Property ID: 6QW9TB
Mahler Sotheby’s International Realty
Peter Mahler +1 414 964 2000

Annapolis, Maryland

With 1,500ft of water-frontage on the Severn River, this distinctive East Coast estate is just minutes from downtown Annapolis. An architectural masterpiece, this 35,000 sq ft residence set on 23 private acres was formerly a Capuchin monastery. The stately brick structure offers modern amenities for comfortable family living and can easily accommodate grand scale entertainment and private events. It benefitted from an extensive renovation back to its classic Georgian style, while incorporating the owner’s contemporary tastes. As well as a nine-car garage, roof garden, pool pavilion, 60ft infinity pool and tennis court, the property also features a limestone rotunda, Asian tea house and secret vault.


Property ID: 4MF6T3
TTR Sotheby’s International Realty
Brad Kappel +1 410 279 9476
David DeSantis +1 202 438 1542

Ystad, Skane, Sweden

Located just west of Ystad on the south coast, Högasten boasts a 1km-shoreline with sandy beaches and rocky outcrops. The main building is surrounded by a beautiful park and looks out at picturesque meadows and the Baltic Sea. The two detached homes – an old school and a farm – also have captivating sea views. To the west, a Versailles-inspired garden features geometrically designed and rarely seen plant arrangements. The current owners have lovingly maintained and improved the property, creating a courtyard and beautiful lime-lined avenues.


Property ID: YLGGGM
Sweden Sotheby’s International Realty
Markus Hultman +46 739 828 004

Sotheby’s Magazine

About the Author

More from Sotheby's

Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos, events & news.

Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.

arrow Created with Sketch. Back To Top