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Modern Living

Combining the best of Old World and nouveau, an empty castle in the hills of Newbury Park awaits its royal family.

By Saundra Sorenson

 

ho says castles are a thing of the past? Via Nicola, a Newbury Park residence deserving of the “estate” descriptor, brings back the old trappings of a proper family fortress. Standing tall as a stately mansion in the Conejo, the 6,240-square-foot home is framed by a 10-acre landscape of olive and Italian cypress trees, seeming to name “Tuscan villa” as one of its major influences. As a testament to its location, however, gated access to hiking trails and the Twin Lakes area remind residents they truly are in the heart of California.

From the grand entry vestibule with inlaid French limestone to a master suite in its own wing, Via Nicola taps tradition—his-and-hers dressing closets, grand terraces, full masonry fireplaces with Spanish gold and limestone counters, formal living and dining rooms—to reintroduce architectural custom. The professional kitchen complements the butler’s pantry and breakfast room, and proving that function need not sacrifice form, even the laundry room features marble counters and Alder cabinetry.

But this contemporary palace also offers modern fixtures, from the spa bath tub to the plasma screen-ready bedrooms, all set among walnut cabinetry, mahogany doors, crown molding, and arched passageways.

Yet the more personalized touches one would expect in such a dwelling—the ornate crystal chandeliers, the occasional wall mural, even Greek restoration-style statues scattered among the property—are strangely absent from Via Nicola. So it’s no surprise that this perfect union of classic beauty and modern convenience is as-yet unlived in; the property was completed this year. Still, the spiral staircase, open verandas, and rock-lined water features appear to come pre-loaded with their own sort of history.

10-01-07

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