Property Galleries

Compound Living: 8 Self-Contained, Private Estates

Luxury Defined tours a collection of international homes designed to accommodate immediate family, extended family, and friends in utmost privacy

Greta Garbo not-so-famously observed, “I never said, ‘I want to be alone.’ I only said, ‘I want to be let alone!’ There is all the difference.” For those who crave privacy, the best way to be let alone is in the ultimate of private homes: the luxury residential compound. Within these exclusive, expansive properties, residents and their guests can enjoy rest, relaxation, and recreation in utmost privacy and—by default—security in that seclusion. In this Luxury Defined collection, we explore eight private properties far from the glare of Garbo’s spotlight. Consider Shangri-La on Narragansett Bay, an aptly named beachfront compound in Rhode Island; the Grid House, a distinctly “off-the-grid” rainforest retreat in Brazil; or Black Hole Hollow Farm, a country idyll in Cambridge, New York, where James Bond creator Sir Ian Fleming wrote Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever. Or, perhaps, the ultimate celebrity escape: Red Gate Farm, the 340-acre oceanfront refuge of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Garbo would approve.

Green Gables—The Estate in Woodside, California

In the heart of Silicon Valley, Green Gables is a historic, ultimately private 74-acre estate with an unparalleled breadth of homes, natural habitats, and lands for enjoyment, relaxation, and development.

Green Gables is an architectural masterpiece in nature’s finest setting. The creation of businessman and banker Mortimer Fleishhacker, the magnificent 74-acre Woodside, California, property has remained fully preserved under the stewardship of its founding family since its inception in 1911. At the heart of Green Gables is the main residence, designed by Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene, leading figures of the early 20th century Arts and Crafts movement. Famed New York interior designer Elsie de Wolfe selected and designed many of the home’s furnishings. Each room is oriented to maximize the spectacular views of the property’s celebrated gardens and grounds, composed of flower and vegetable gardens, orchards, an allée of Camperdown Elm, and natural woodlands and parkland with majestic old-growth trees. Further complementing this extraordinary private estate are six separate dwellings, including a lovely 1930s home designed by acclaimed Modernist architect William Wurster, three swimming pools, a tennis court, nature trails, and two private roads. The property’s location in the heart of Silicon Valley and only 20 minutes from San Francisco International Airport further distinguish Green Gables as a truly unique offering.

The Grid House in São Francisco Xavier, São Paulo, Brazil

The Grid House is one of a kind: a private compound of several sustainably designed modular dwellings on nearly 42 acres overlooking the tropical rainforest and the Mantiqueira Mountains.

The Grid House is a pinnacle of contemporary design, an eco retreat surrounded by 42 acres of protected rainforest in Brazil’s Mantiqueira Mountains. Embedded in the sublime natural landscape, this bold modular compound’s main dwelling contains the social and entertaining areas, owner’s suite, and guest room. Satellite structures include three isolated modules with two bedrooms each, a leisure pavilion, and staff quarters. Each structure has a unique, grid-shaped frame, sustainably sourced from native wood and stone and built above the ground as a cooling mechanism during the region’s hot, humid summers. Large trussed beams of weathering steel anchor the structural elements, while walls of glass flood the space with light and panoramas of the mountains and forest. The living spaces flow out to serene tropical gardens with a water mirror and the rainforest beyond.

Shangri-La on Narragansett Bay in Bristol, Rhode Island

The aptly named Shangri-La on Narragansett Bay is an extraordinary 1.8-acre waterfront compound comprising several luxury dwellings, beautiful landscaped gardens, and a private beach in Bristol Highlands, Rhode Island.

Named from novelist James Hilton’s famous novel, Lost Horizon, this seven-bedroom utopia is a result of over 30 years of carefully chosen landscape and architectural design. Shangri-La on Narragansett Bay is a stylish, carefully curated collection of four waterfront residences on 1.8 acres of private shoreline in the historic seaside community of Bristol Highlands. Built over three decades, this extraordinary bayfront estate is the result of talent, time, and love of place. The property comprises a main house, two guest houses, staff quarters, two greenhouses, a teahouse, and garages. The outdoor living spaces, expertly placed among the residences, capture the dramatic sunset views of Narragansett Bay, include a heated infinity pool with two cabanas, a koi pond, and a private sandy beach.

Historic Manor near Tallinn, Estonia

The Estonian Manor comprises a magnificent 20-bedroom main house, coach house, granary, and regent's house, set within 37 acres of parkland surrounded by a forest.

This enchanting manor house commands 37 acres near the Estonian capital of Tallinn. The property has been owned by several noble families and luminaries since its construction in the 13th century, including the 19th-century Baltic-German navigator Otto von Kotzebue. An impressive driveway winds through the estate’s historic parkland, past ponds and landscaped gardens to the coach house and palatial main residence. The manor house has been fully restored, while preserving its architectural integrity with the addition of unique details inspired by the life and travels of von Kotzebue. Each of the 20 bedrooms offers glorious views of the private grounds or the surrounding forest. A wine cellar, cigar room, library, and sauna with indoor pool are among the amenities. The grounds are composed of three ponds, formal gardens, a pavilion, as well as the original stables, granary, and regent’s house.

Black Hole Hollow Farm in Cambridge, New York

This Saratoga equestrian estate’s 18th-century farmhouse, four delightful dwellings, and 948-acre grounds have hosted royalty and celebrities, including HRH The Princess Margaret, Jacqueline Kennedy, and legendary British novelist Ian Fleming.

The allure of Black Hole Hollow Farm, a historic 948-acre estate on the New York–Vermont state line, goes far beyond its pastoral beauty. Back in the ‘50s, the farm’s then-owner, A&P heiress Josephine Huntington Hartford Bryce, came for the summer season at Saratoga. Her husband, John Felix Charles Ivar Bryce, was a former British intelligence officer and close friend of British novelist Ian Fleming. It was here that Fleming wrote the James Bond novels Diamonds Are Forever and Goldfinger. Black Hole Hollow Farm is threaded by White Creek, with tiered ponds, open pastures, and 33 miles of wide private trails, which border a 5,000-acre forest preserve. The home’s heart is an 18th-century farmhouse surrounded by picturesque English gardens with a greenhouse and koi pond, three stocked ponds, and a swimming pool. Further amenities include four delightful dwellings, a maple-syrup production facility, four barns, a riding arena, and fenced paddocks.

Villa LGM in Colombier, Saint Barthélemy

St. Barths’ Colombier hills are the setting for this ultra-luxury villa overlooking the Caribbean Sea and the islands of Saba and Statia.

Villa LGM (La Grande Maison) overlooks the Caribbean Sea and the islands of Saba and Statia from its sun-worshipper’s perch in the Colombier hills. This ultra-luxury contemporary Caribbean villa has an exclusive location in the St. Barths Lotissement of Les Etoiles. The villa’s several bungalows and cottages include nine bedrooms in total: seven are for guests, with two additional bedrooms serving as staff quarters. The five-bedroom main villa opens to lush tropical gardens and features a chef’s kitchen, dining room, outdoor dining space, and a cozy living room. The two-bedroom guest cottage has its own kitchen and a children’s playground. The estate’s resort-inspired amenities include three swimming pools: a main pool with sundeck, barbecue area, and bar; a private pool for guests; and, a pool on the master suite’s terrace.

Bridger Mountain Legacy Estate in Bozeman, Montana

This legacy estate on 46 acres in the fields, woodlands and shining mountains of Bridger Canyon is a harmonious habitat for humans, horses, and wildlife. But the showpiece is the original Bridger Canyon dance hall, built in the 1930s.

This legacy estate set within the majesty of Montana’s Bridger Canyon has everything for entertaining family and friends. There are spring-fed stocked ponds and 1,000 feet on Bridger Creek for excellent fishing and great hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and four-wheeling through the estate’s hay fields and Douglas fir and aspen forests, inhabited by wildlife, including elk, moose, deer, and bald eagles. In fact, the Bridger Canyon zoning district limits development to one house in 40 acres. In addition to the main house (built in 2008 and designed by architect Van Bryan) and cabin, there is a big refurbished red barn for horses, and the original Bridger Canyon Dance Hall, where canyon families gathered in the 1930s and ’40s to dance and socialize. Sheltered by its cottonwoods, Douglas fir, and aspen, the compound is on the edge of the Gallatin National Forest and 10 minutes from downtown Bozeman.

This 27-acre equestrian compound on Idaho’s Bigwood River offers a 21st-century take on the Western lifestyle.

Avalanche Ranch is a 27-acre equestrian compound on the East Fork of Big Wood River, near the historic town of Ketchum, Idaho, and the Sun Valley Resort. Here, residents and their guests can escape the daily grind, for this is Hemingway country, where the writer chose to live out his days. In addition to the ranch facility, this ultra-private escape includes a main house (set on a tranquil pond), bunkhouse, and guest suite atop a large barn. The main residence is styled as a traditional log home with rustic finishes that can’t hide its contemporary spirit. The house offers 5,680 square feet of airy living spaces, professional-grade kitchen, office, and recreation room. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom guest house has the same traditional western finishes as the main residence. The horse barn has guest/staff quarters on the upper level. The buildings are surrounded by private land with an outdoor arena, corrals, pasturage, and woodland. The property is offered in turnkey condition with all furnishings and accessories included.