Beaujolais, France
11 bedrooms, 11 baths, 13,200 sq. ft., $6.5 million
Pedigree: Nestled between the villages of Le Vivierand Fleurie in the Beaujolais countryside, this 17th-century château is surrounded by a wine-producing vineyard. Previously occupied by several noble families, the restored estate is offered fully furnished, right down to the sumptuous four-poster beds and the library’s complete collection of Pléiade classics.

Lake Forest, Illinois
8 bedrooms, 8 baths, 11,075 sq. ft., $7.9 million
Pedigree: Architects David Adler and Henry Dangler designed this 1914 classic country house for Joseph M. Cudahy (of the meatpacking family) and his wife, Jean Morton Cudahy (of the salt dynasty). With gilt moldings and herringbone floors, the rooms are as grand as you’d expect.
Property Values: Landscape legend Jens Jensen’s plantings still grow on the two acres. Plus, a pool and tennis court.
Talking Point: Sphinx statues flank an imposing iron front door.

Watch Hill, Rhode Island
5 bedrooms, 5 baths, 10,500 sq. ft., $17.5 million
Pedigree: In 1917 architect John Russell Pope erected the Timbers, a Tudor manor on the shores of Rhode Island. Baronial details—bell tower, cathedral ceilings, oak beams—have been faithfully rehabilitated.
Property Values: Eight acres of lawns, specimen gardens, and orchards set above 800 feet of beachfront, plus a pool and a pair of three-bedroom guest cottages.
Talking Point: Stone arches frame ocean views in the octagonal outdoor dining room.

Santa Monica, California
3 bedrooms, 5 baths, 4,750 sq. ft., $11 million
Pedigree: Legendary MGM art director Cedric Gibbons worked on more than 1,000 movies, but he’s best remembered for introducing American cinema to the crisp geometry and gleaming interiors of Art Deco. In 1930 he fashioned a streamlined love nest to share with his wife, actress Dolores Del Rio. Its most recent owner, producer Joe Roth (Alice in Wonderland), recruited Michael S. Smith to add an extra dose of old-Hollywood glamour.
Property Values: Swimming pool, tennis court, and cabana.
Talking Point: A backlit terrazzo staircase encourages movie-star entrances.

Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic
6 bedrooms, 6.5 baths, 19,350 sq. ft., $15 Million
Pedigree: Spanish architecture firm A-cero recently designed a vacation compound that evokes Caribbean breakers. Curling roofs and walls contain separate sleeping and living areas, clad in local coralline stone. Courtyard gardens and floor-to-ceiling windows blur the line between interior and exterior.
Property Values: Nearly two acres of landscaped grounds overlook the turquoise sea.
Talking Point: That pool.

Amazing! See why I love my job?!? I love to see great design and when that great design is nestled in a 1914 home or a modern new construction, it's thrilling. As I've said before, I appreciate many styles of homes and love it when people strive to honor the architectural integrity of the house. My hope is that people who are fortunate enough to afford such lovely homes also fill it with laughter and good memories. After all, why spend money on such a house if you don't plan to really LIVE in it! When I look at a house for myself, often the first thing that comes to mind is how it flows for entertaining because I always want friends and family to feel welcomed. When I was younger, I probably would have put much more value on the external side of a house. Today, I would notice how it makes me feel and how it would work for real life:
Does it fit my stage in life? Where will the Christmas tree go? Is it good for my dog and cat? Will my kids want to come home and hang out?

Whatever house you dream of, I hope you get it! Big or small, expensive
or not - make it your home, not just a house.

All photos and house descriptions from: Architectural Digest, May 2011