Life

Inside the $50 million Hamptons estate that was once a convent for Catholic nuns

This Hamptons mansion, recently on the market for $72 million, was once a convent that housed Catholic nuns for nearly 75 years.

The "sprawling waterfront" estate, called Villa Maria, is featured in a recent episode of CNBC's "Secret Lives of the Super Rich," and it is described as "one of the most exclusive properties in the Hamptons." The episode notes that the property ended up selling earlier this year for "just under $50 million."

Bespoke Real Estate

Sitting on a 15-acres overlooking Long Island's Mill Creek, the mansion was originally built in 1887 before being refurbished and expanded by shipyard tycoon Edward Morse in 1919. The 20,000-square-foot was purchased in 1931 by the Sisters of the Order of St. Dominic of Amityville for roughly $250,000.

The nuns maintained control of the estate until it was sold again for $35 million in 2005, when it reportedly went to footwear designer and Nine West co-founder Vince Camuto. The estate reportedly went back on the market in 2008 with an asking price that reached $100 million at one point.

Bespoke Real Estate

Camuto died in 2015 and the estate's most recent sellers and buyers were not publicly revealed (though Camuto's family were reported to be the sellers).

Bespoke Real Estate

Cody Vichinsky of Bespoke Real Estate, who handled the deal, told "Secret Lives of the Super Rich" that Villa Maria's most recent owner invested nearly $40 million over several years to refurbish the property, which now features such luxuries as $500,000 wrought-iron decorative railing that Vichinsky says was custom-made in Austria "by a gentleman whose sole job is to make this look like it's been here for a hundred years."

Bespoke Real Estate

The mansion also features a dome imported from Italy that Vichinsky says is "centuries old," as well as a marble tub in the master bathroom that cost $50,000 and weighs 4,000 pounds (it was cut from a single piece of stone, the broker says).

Villa Maria 51 Halsey Lane, Water Mill, NY, Long Island
Bespoke Real Estate

The house's master suite is 2,700 square feet, made up of six rooms and spans the entire western wing of the house. Meanwhile, all of the furniture at Villa Maria was custom-made for the house and "meant to evoke 'Hamptons chic,'" Vichinsky says.

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