We’ve all heard of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello – that gorgeous late 18th Century masterpiece in old Virginia. But did you know there’s an amazing replica house that was recently built in New England? This Monticello Masterpiece, located in Somers, CT, is a must see, if only virtually. It’s actually on the market, so for the right buyer, it’s a must see in person as well. Oh, if I only had $4.9M to spend – and it would be worth every cent and then some.
This house was conceived and built by Prestley Blake, who along with his brother co-founded Friendly’s Ice Cream during the depression. (I’d like to think that given my intake of Friendly’s Fribbles throughout my childhood, one of those bricks has my name on it!) Mr. Blake had the house built for his 100th Birthday in 2014, although he and his wife have not lived in it. He called in Laplante Construction of Longmeadow, Massachusetts (yay, local talent!) to work with him on this dream project. And, what a dream it is. One might consider this quite a vanity project, and I suppose it is, but Mr. Blake clearly left his own ego out of it and let Mr. Jefferson’s masterpiece shine through. The exterior is a near exact replica of Monticello and though the inside takes its cues from the original, it’s built for modern life with all the modern conveniences.
The front hall features a replica of Monticello’s famous domed roof. The floors are Versailles-patterned parquet of rift and quarter-sawn white oak. The light fixtures were custom designed and made by Restoration Lighting Gallery.
The great room features a stately scagliola limestone mantle with a Town & Country luxury fireplace and elegant custom chandelier by Restoration Lighting Gallery.
The dining room incorporates the tea room from the original Monticello design and 10’ pocket doors.
A custom built-in breakfront in the dining room features leaded glass designed to complement the cathedral arches in the kitchen cabinets.
The study is warmed with a jungle green soapstone-hearthed fireplace encircled with sapele mahogany paneling and coffered ceiling.
The millwork is the real star of this show, no question. According to the builder’s video, it took 10 master craftsmen to create this gorgeous work.
The butler’s pantry features Black Pearl granite in a leather finish
So, with a pantry that looks like this, we can expect the kitchen to be a real showstopper. While this is a real departure from the original Monticello kitchens (hearth, open fire, a few pots and pans), it’s not a crazy OTT kitchen either. Beautiful and fitting for the quality of the entire house, yet still “real” if that makes sense.
Needless to say, the bathrooms are all incredible…
This is the master complete with a zero clearance walk-in shower and soaking tub. The towel warmers are a must for cold New England winters (and fall and spring…)
The guest powder room features hand-painted carrara marble on the walls designed to look like wall-paper.
Distressed and hand painted alder wood is used in the custom vanities and installed in the ceiling of the guest suite bath.
And a final look at some amazing millwork detail. Love, love the door pulls on the upper cabinets.
Here is a fantastic video with the builders from Laplante Construction, interior designer Jennifer Champigny, and Mr. Blake himself. What I love about this project, in addition to what an amazing job they did, was that all the talent and contractors were local businesses and much of the materials used was sourced locally as well.
Visit the Monticello Somers, CT website for lots more photos of the project, plus a list of many of the contractors and vendors who participated in what had to have been a dream project. And here is the link to the listing broker for the property – Sherrie Milkie of William Pitt Sothebys of Old Lyme, CT.Would you like my Favorite Tips for a Well-Decorated Home? Click here!