Rare is the couple that so enjoys shopping for antiques together. And when the couple’s house is 24,000 square feet, the fun never ends—whether it’s scoring massive majolica amphorae, Venetian sofas, vintage glass vitrines from Cartier, Axminster carpets, or grotto furniture.
In 2000, from the moment a New Jersey entrepreneur and his stylish, Alabama-born wife first saw—and immediately bought—the huge New Jersey mansion, they understood its appeal. Up the Hudson River and only ten miles from New York’s Times Square, the house is situated in a landscaped, five-acre park, complete with a pond populated by Paradise cranes and black-necked swans. Inspired in design by a royal summer palace, the Italianate house is sheathed in gleaming white-glazed faience blocks and roofed in red terra-cotta tiles.
The interior is very grand, with a columned, two-story oval-ceilinged hall dominated by a sweeping double staircase. The house has two wings and two towers. It has eight bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, a solarium, a dining room, a grand salon, a mahogany-paneled library, a “rustic” dacha-style den, and a music room. Also on the property are a seven-car garage and several architectural follies, including a thatched hut from Indonesia. It is a majestic house with an even better backstory.
It was built in 1926 by architect J.C. Hameltman, of Paterson, New Jersey, for Count Stefan de Poniatowski, heir to the Polish throne, and his American wife, Edith von Stohn, daughter of the owner of what was then the largest silk mill in the state. The house took years to build and cost $2.5 million dollars in 1926.