"Why is no one focusing on the high end?" wondered Cody Vichinsky shortly before striking out with his brother Zachary to start Bespoke Real Estate in 2014. The two men represent only properties worth $10 million or more and, they say, they cleared $400 million last year.
The crown jewel of their collection is Villa Maria, a gussied-up former convent now on sale for the very unchaste price of $72 million. The 20,000-square-foot harbor-front estate spans 15 acres in Water Mill, New York.
According to Forbes, the original structure, then known as Red Gables, was erected in 1897. In 1919, a shipping magnate bought the property, doubled its size, added elaborate flourishes and, after changing the color of the roof, re-christened it Grey Gables.
Then, in 1931, the house changed hands again. The Sisters of the Order of St. Dominic of Amityville owned and operated it for 75 years, after which it was ripe for a makeover.
Forbes reports that "[Vince] Camuto and his third wife, Louise, bought Villa Maria in 2005 for $35 million. They spent five years renovating, a project that cost about as much as the home's purchase price, agent Cody Vichinsky estimates." Camuto passed away in 2015.
There are 11 bedrooms in the palatial main house, including a six-room master suite, and twelve-and-a-half bathrooms. No traces of the abbey remain, though there are still spaces designed to encourage reflection, such as the wood-paneled den.
The interiors are spacious, inviting and well-lit, especially the dining room.
And the open, airy living room.
There's certainly nothing restrained or modest about the climate-controlled wine cellar.
The expansive property, complete with manicured gardens and rolling lawns, sits on over 1,000 feet of Mecox Bay, an unimpeded view of which residents can enjoy from the house.
For relaxation, there's a private, all-weather tennis court on the grounds.
A heated swimming pool is served by two pavilions, each of which includes a kitchen and bath.
The one-of-a-kind luxury property also includes a carriage house and a guest cottage/gatehouse.