I had been to this particular mountaintop before and to this house on another day in another season and liked it. So I was glad to return and see it in its summer garb. I was there on a warm July day when the sea breeze gently ruffled the open curtains and the flower-laden drowsy smell of high summer blew lightly through the airy rooms of the house.
From the top of this hill you can see the very smart Newport Country Club in its own 300 acres. You can also see towards the childhood home of Jacqueline Bouvier– Jackie Kennedy after she married JFK. It was here at Hammersmith Farm that the couple’s wedding reception was held.
Wild Moor was designed by celebrated New York architects McKim, Mead & White – who were commissioned in the late 1800s by many of the rich and famous – and the landscaping was done by Olmstead who masterminded the design of Central Park in New York. The garden at Wild Moor has been refreshed recently allowing the house once again to make the most of its lofty position and great views.
But what I really liked about this house is the transition from outside to in. The exterior is in stone – robust, strong and masculine. But inside the house the gender changes. It becomes a more feminine space. The current owners have managed something remarkable. They have done what few achieve well in modernising a home built for another age. They have made a contemporary looking space without touching the many original architectural features that define the building – like the fine panelling, the magnificent wooden staircase and the fireplaces with Tiffany tiles. There have only been two owners here since it was built and both have loved and respected it.
This is a statement house and it has been since it was built amongst the other substantial estates in Berry Hill over a hundred years ago when the world was a different place and the American Gilded Age was in full swing. But Newport is in full swing again now with important and connected people choosing it for their summer palaces.
Of course somebody has to be able to afford all this. Fortunately, as well as the 17 rooms with 9 bedrooms and 6 baths, the pool, the guest/staff apartments, the music studio and oodles of other outhouses within these 23 special acres, there is also a helipad. This means that somebody can get to his or her Wall Street desk in about the same time as many a Westchester commuter can using the train. Good things come to those that wait. If you have been waiting for the ideal Newport home this is about as good as it gets.