Property Galleries

Compound Living: 7 Self-Contained, Private Estates

Luxury Defined tours a collection of international homes designed to accommodate 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 exclusive properties far from the glare of the spotlight. Consider a wilderness preserve in British Columbia, a private hamlet in the Dordogne, or a beachfront estate in the British Virgin Islands. Perhaps, even, a Gatsby-esque estate on Long Island’s Gold Coast. Somewhere, Garbo is smiling.

Valley Trunk Estate on Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

A jewel of the British Virgin Islands, Valley Trunk Estate is an ultra-private 18.4-acre estate overlooking the white sands and turquoise waters of Big Trunk Bay, on the sheltered leeward side of Virgin Gorda. The estate’s 18.4-acre landscaped grounds are protected by huge granite boulders fronting the entire length of Trunk Bay Beach, a 1,000-foot white sand strand named for Virgin Gorda’s trunkback turtles. Valley Trunk was built by the current owners as a three-generation family retreat in the 1980s. Situated in an elevated position to frame the views, the main compound comprises five freestanding villas with 10 suites, a formal dining room, and professional-grade kitchen. There are ample areas for alfresco dining, as well as a cinema and bar area with billiards room. The two-story principal villa opens to tropical gardens and the infinity pool with panoramic views of Sir Francis Drake Channel, Tortola, Beef Island, Scrub Island, and the Dogs. A separate four-bedroom villa with a tennis court is also on the grounds. A private road, passing through the dramatic boulder field, connects the dwellings with the beach, with dramatic rock headlands at each end. A two-story Balinese-style beach pavilion, equipment storage building, maintenance center, and staff houses are further highlights of this one-of-a-kind offering.

Four Hearts Ranch in British Columbia, Canada

Four Hearts Ranch is a vast wilderness preserve in the South Cariboo Mountains of British Columbia. Designed as a multi-generational family compound in harmony with the landscape, the 5,925-acre ranch includes eight stand-alone residences, an equestrian center, four private lakes, and an aircraft hangar with airstrip.

Four Hearts Ranch is quite simply a Canadian outdoor paradise. This biodiverse expanse in British Columbia’s South Cariboo Mountains encompasses 5,925 acres of forest, pasture, grasslands, lakes, river gorges, and preserved wetlands. Four Hearts Ranch has been a multigenerational family compound since the current owners began acquiring land in 2008. There are eight stand-alone residences, including a 10,000-square-foot log home. The equestrian center has stabling for 10 horses, an indoor arena with lounge, full kitchen, and bathroom, a hay barn and carpentry shop, a staff rec. room, a separate wrangler’s cottage, as well as a round pen and acres of fenced pastures. The estate has four private lakes, including one of British Columbia’s top fly-fishing spots; boat dockage, an aircraft hangar with airstrip, a private network of roads, geothermal heating and on-site water filtration.

Laurel Hill in Mill Neck, New York

The Gilded Age mansions of the Gold Coast on Long Island’s North Shore were celebrated in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Laurel Hill is one of the area’s rarest remaining great estates and the former home of philanthropist Abby Rockefeller Mauzé, granddaughter of oil magnate John D. Rockefeller. The estate’s 57 serene, wooded acres overlook sweeping panoramas of Oyster Bay Harbor. The main house is a stately Tudor-style mansion with 12 bedrooms, seven full bathrooms, and three half bathrooms across 14,252 square feet of grandly appointed living space. Visitors enter by a grand foyer with a staircase curving to the second level. Built for elegant entertaining, the dining room easily seats 20, and most reception rooms, such as the exquisite sunken living salon, open to flagstone patios—some covered and some open air. The first-floor library is a retreat paneled in mahogany with custom cabinetry and access to the estate’s beautiful patios. Other interior highlights include a breakfast room, staff lounge, along with seven wood-burning fireplaces. A three-bedroom guest cottage, two-bedroom carriage house, and garages for nine cars; as well as sublime gardens, a pool with pool house, a tennis court, and a greenhouse are further delights.

Private Hamlet in the Dordogne, Aquitaine, France

For those in pursuit of country life, this 190-acre estate in the Dordogne is the prize. The property has it all: seven dwellings (offering 25 bedrooms and 23 bathrooms), a conference center, recording studio, and spa, set within a pastoral landscape of verdant parkland, farmland, and forestry.

This former hamlet in the heart of the Dordogne countryside has been reimagined as a magnificent, 190-acre private estate. There are seven dwellings, which extend to nearly 30,000 square feet with 25 bedrooms and 23 bathrooms. The ancillary structures include three conference rooms, a professional recording studio, and a leisure center with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a gym, game room, and private spa with massage room, hammam, and sauna. The grounds are composed of beautiful private parkland, an arboretum, forestry, pastures (used for organic farming), a fishing pond, and several water sources. The estate is offered turnkey, including all furnishings, fixtures, and equipment. An additional 10 acres of land is available for further development. The property is just 1.5 miles from local services and a 40-minute drive from the Angoulême high-speed rail TGV station.

The Destination is a one-of-a-kind resort home and a multigenerational family compound on Charleston Lake in Athens, Ontario.

The Destination is a multigenerational family estate in Athens, Ontario. Built over five years on an expanse of natural rock formations, this secluded estate offers more than 11,000 square feet of living and play space on 535 feet of deeded waterfront on Charleston Lake. The property encompasses 32 acres: the 5.6-acre homesite and nearly 27 acres of private woodland. There are 10 buildings, six of them private villas. Each has a balcony and terrace to maximize the lake views. The other four buildings are a games-and-recreation center; a music hall and bar with a karaoke and performance stage; an outdoor bar; and a boathouse. Among the several outdoor seating spaces is a cozy lakeside fire pit atop a natural rock formation. The estate’s woodland, private creek, and pond attract a variety of wildlife, including wild turkeys, geese, ducks, rabbits, and deer. The turnkey property is equipped for year-round residency, and includes a Control4 security system, heated driveways, generator, and greenhouse. Much of the water frontage bordering Charleston Lake is protected Crown land, including the uninhabited island facing the property, which adds another layer of privacy.

The Golden West Lodge in Bigfork, Montana

The Golden West Lodge is a classic Flathead Lake cabin estate just south of the village of Bigfork, Montana. The historic 1924 lodge offers the traditional log cabin experience with all contemporary comforts. The property encompasses 15 acres with 888 feet of waterfront on the shores of Flathead Lake. Its seven cabins (with a total of 14 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms) are ideal for gatherings great or small. All have been beautifully refurbished or built anew to match the original live-edge siding and cedar interiors of the 1920s design. The interiors are luxuriously appointed for relaxation after a day’s hiking or fishing. Further amenities include a dedicated entertainment lodge, fitness center, lap pool, lakeside fire pit, and two covered docks with a combined seven boat slips. Five acres of forest and a two-acre cherry orchard provide the finishing touch.

Organic Farm and Yoga Retreat in Grosseto, Tuscany, Italy

This enchanted escape has a picture-postcard setting in the hills of the Maremma, a short distance from its ancient capital, Grosseto, and the Tuscan coast. This property currently serves as an organic farm, yoga retreat, event space, and successful agriturismo business. The grounds extend to nearly 150 acres. The estate’s centuries-old oak forests, threaded by nature trails, hiking and biking paths, are a habitat for porcupine, hare, and deer, The organic vegetable garden, orchard, and greenhouse provide farm-to-table fare. The olive groves, on 10 acres of the estate, produce high-quality extra-virgin olive oil. The residential annex includes the main residence, two guest houses, two apartments, and a guest studio, offering a total of 16 bedrooms and 23 bathrooms. The dwellings are surrounded by parklike gardens leading down to the lake. At the water’s edge is an amphitheater built from local stone to stage musical and theatrical performances throughout the summer. The newly built wellness center is perfectly integrated into the environment. The 4,842-square-foot space includes an ozone-purified swimming pool, massage room, dressing rooms and bathrooms, and a yoga center with fitness and meditation rooms. It opens to a beautiful grassy terrace facing the Tuscan hills.