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Luxury living: homes for bookworms

Five homes with lavish libraries and resplendent reading spaces, from New York to Paris via South Carolina — all from Christie’s International Real Estate

Encompassing 740 acres, Stonewall Farm is the largest privately owned property in Westchester County and includes a magnificent main residence, superbly maintained grounds and world-class equestrian facilities. Over four decades, Barry K. Schwartz, co-founder of the Calvin Klein global fashion empire, and his wife Sheryl have created an estate of refined elegance. The luxurious, two-storey library would delight any devoted reader: built-in shelves sit below and above the second-tier balustrade, while saddle-leather tiles accent the floors and fireplace in proper homage to the equestrian lifestyle. Beyond the main house are formal gardens, orchards, woodlands and ponds — all just an hour from New York City.

A gated, private road is the grand introduction to this 11.47-acre estate on Michigan’s Rouge River. Encompassing more than 16,000 square feet, the stately Craftsman-style residence was custom-designed with the finest materials and artisanal finishes. The grandly proportioned reception rooms include an entrance hall with a magnificent stained-glass ceiling dome, a dual-level library with a wrought-iron spiral staircase, and a banquet-size dining room. A spectacular chef’s kitchen, a theatre and an owner’s suite are further highlights of the main level. The second level houses five additional bedrooms, while the lower level is suited to entertaining with a professional bar and wine cellar, a recreation room, kitchen and gym, and an art studio. Surrounding the home are picturesque wooded grounds enhanced with formal gardens, a pond and a barn.

Herrick House and the Granary Art Gallery (also pictured top) are part of the former country estate of the celebrated art patron and collector Melva Bucksbaum. The property is situated on 51.3 manicured acres and comprises an elegantly restored main house, a library and a pool house, a guest house, caretaker’s house, guest log cabin and garage, and a breathtaking, museum-quality art gallery. Overlooking the pool house is a second-floor art library designed for reading and research, with a floor and ceiling of hardwood ash, built-in bookcases for hundreds of books, and large pendant lights hanging down from a pitched ceiling.

The elegant building in Paris’s 8th arrondissement that houses this pied à terre was designed in 1907 by the renowned architect Jules Lavirotte. The original music room was converted into an exquisite two-bedroom, two-bathroom duplex apartment, with all the decorative elements, from the furnishings and lighting to the plant motifs, arabesques and objets d’art, faithfully reconstructed in the Art Nouveau style. The entrance hall — inspired by the Brussels residence of the great 19th-century architect Victor Horta — leads into a majestic double-height library/living room with antique bookcases. Above is a mezzanine with a study, which leads to a bedroom suite. 

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Fairwinds Castle in Landrum, South Carolina, has all the hallmarks of an English country estate. The grandeur begins at the wrought-iron entrance gates, which open onto a drive that sweeps past picturesque pastures to arrive at the three-story manor house with its crenellated stone tower. Arched front doors lead into a foyer with a Gothic-inspired spiral staircase. Beyond is the great room, with a wood-panelled library on the mezzanine level. Other Old World details include stained-glass doors, stone fireplaces and antique chandeliers. The lovely grounds encompass a saltwater pool, a firepit, a pond, a two-stall barn and paddocks.