When you picture an alpine panorama, what springs to mind? Chocolate-box scenes? Fairy-tale village landscapes? Elegant European manors exuding charm and tradition, surrounded by breathtaking scenery? Transport this vision to the East Coast of the United States, within 45 minutes of Manhattan, and you have Château de la Roche. The French-inspired estate is set on two acres (0.8 ha) of gated grounds, enveloped by woodland atop a hill in an exclusive enclave of New Jersey, serendipitously named Alpine.
Built in 2017 by architect Robert Zampolin of Zampolin & Associates, the seven-bedroom, 12-bathroom, cast-stone mansion is topped with a mansard roof and is finished with custom millwork, hand-carved cornices, wainscoting, archways, and pillars. Spanning 25,700 square feet (2,388 sq m), it is a completely custom-built home boasting the trimmings of a heritage property paired with all the trappings of upscale 21st-century living, including smart technology and a one-touch remote-controlled Crestron system.
“The story of this estate, and one that makes it unique, is that once the initial foundation work was done it became a joint project, with the interior design coming to life in tandem with molding designs by Robert Zampolin, the construction expertise of Ron Badalamenti, and the work of many talented craftsmen,” says Denise Albanese, Realtor-Associate for Christie’s International Real Estate, Northern New Jersey. She should know—as owner of Interiors by Denise, Albanese is responsible for Château de la Roche’s standout decor.
Chic Château Living
A horseshoe-shaped driveway provides a stately approach to the residence, and the sense of grandeur continues through a columned portico to the foyer with its marble floor, vaulted ceiling, and crystal chandelier. The wrought-iron and glass doors are mirrored by a grand bridal staircase with gold balustrade in a space that is flooded with light, making the immediate impression welcoming and warm.
“We took the influence of a traditional French château but kept the interior transitional through the coloring we used,” Albanese says. “We left out gilding, chose a gray glaze over brown, and kept key pieces simple.”
To the left of the foyer is a mahogany-paneled library with gold-leaf inlay and parquet floors, split to accommodate a sitting room with a marble fireplace and built-in bookshelves, and a study snug set behind stone columns. The formal dining room with wooden flooring and a gallery wall is to the right.
Albanese’s vision for the color palette is evident in antiqued white shades and furnishings of taupe with purple accents, which dovetail with dark surroundings while patterned rugs echo the wrought iron.
We took the influence of a traditional French château but kept the interior transitional through the coloring we used—Denise Albanese
These details are repeated in the great room, the centerpiece of the house, with its 37-foot-high (11 m) arched cathedral ceiling, three-level Palladian windows, crema marfil marble fireplace, and marble floors, plus a club-style bar and French doors opening to the rear gardens.
Adjacent is the professional-standard kitchen. Stone-colored custom-built cabinetry and a tumbled-stone floor are complemented with granite countertops and a breakfast bar with high-top powder-pink seating. There is also a breakfast nook with a dining table leading to a family room with a fireplace.
The upstairs quarters are accessed by main and secondary staircases as well as an elevator. Among the five suites on the second floor, and reached through a vestibule, is the owners’ suite with its muraled ceiling, mosaic spa-like bathroom, and doors through to an elegant sitting room. Another bedroom suite has a spiral staircase leading to a loft space, perfect for use as a secluded office.
“The bedroom suites, again, have both traditional and transitional touches,” Albanese says. “And running the length of the house, the third floor is completely finished, with a bathroom and space for additional bedrooms or recreation areas.”
When it comes to family downtime and entertaining, the château doesn’t disappoint. A hardwood-floored hall leads to the main sitting room with its vast sofas and Adirondack-style stone fireplace, a billiards area, and even a pub complete with taps. There is a 15-seat movie theater with a 120-inch (305 cm) projection screen and built-in, custom-designed leather reclining chairs.
Next door is a 2,000-bottle, temperature-controlled wine cellar with wrought-iron framed-glass doors and a tasting area. For days that demand a little more action, there is a gym, fitness studio, and spa for recovery. “When it came to the spa with a sauna and hot and cold plunge pools, we went for a total Zen vibe. It is very soft and neutral, but we played with textures for maximum impact,” Albanese says.
As you’d expect, the landscaped grounds are also spectacular. Manicured lawns are punctuated with ornamental displays and hedged with boxwood and rockeries planted with specimen trees and flowers. The rear garden has the feel of an exclusive resort, with a heated gunite pool, cabana and bar, outdoor kitchen, and fireplace. A cast-stone and copper gazebo with a domed roof, a three-tiered fountain, and exquisite paths leading to vegetable and herb gardens are further magical touches that inspire absolute relaxation.
With a setting that is so tranquil and bucolic, it’s easy to forget that the château is just eight miles (12.8 km) from New York City. As such, it is a dream property for those who work in the city but crave the country.
“Alpine, New Jersey, is so close to the city, yet here you have the privacy of a big luxurious estate,” says Albanese. “Every detail has been thought through to accomplish a feeling of comfort and coziness so that—despite its size—it feels like a warm family home. Who wouldn’t want to live here?”
Banner image: An aerial view of this exclusive New Jersey estate, Château de la Roche