Look up. It’s what people do when they seek inspiration. Scientific research suggests that rooms with high ceilings inspire creativity and imagination—especially in sacred places. Michelangelo looked up in the Sistine Chapel and saw God reaching out to touch the hand of Adam. And so it goes. Throughout history, the ceiling has become a unique surface for art, a showcase for the beautiful and the sublime, from the temples of the ancient world to the cathedrals of the Middle Ages and the palaces of the Renaissance. Grandly designed ceilings are no longer exclusive to church and crown: Cathedral ceilings embellished with frescoes, vaults, bas reliefs, gold-leaf moldings, and other museum-quality details adorn many private homes around the world. In this Luxury Defined collection, we spotlight five fine examples.
Historic Montreal Apartment
This sumptuous 4,500-square-foot residence has a prized setting in the St. Regis, a neo-Renaissance-style building designed in 1894 by architect Richard Alfred White. Originally built to house the Canada Life Insurance Company, the building has been transformed into a handful of exclusive residences. This palatial, yet elegant condominium has been completely restored, renovated, and decorated with great attention to detail and refinement. Original period details, which include vast windows, marble pillars, decorative moldings, a grand staircase, and intricate hand-carved ceilings, remain beautifully intact.
Terraces on the Navesink
Locust, New Jersey
New Jersey’s Navesink River forms the backdrop to this extraordinary château-style estate. Resplendent, multi-terraced gardens lead to the 20,000-square-foot main residence. The interiors reveal exquisite architectural details: exotic hardwoods, imported marble, bespoke window treatments, and hand-painted vaulted ceilings. The home’s centerpiece is a three-story glass solarium with a breathtaking panorama of the grounds. This magnificent 4.15-acre estate is also a recreational paradise with indoor and outdoor pools, a two-lane bowling alley, racquetball court, fitness center and spa, and a private boat dock, all within access to several local beaches.
Grandeur in the Triangle d’Or
Built in 1900, this superlative Parisian residence near Avenue Montaigne abounds with magnificent period details. The apartment has been fully renovated and offers more than 3,132 square feet of living space. Vast windows and French doors provide scenic vistas of the Eiffel Tower and the city skyline. There are two grand reception rooms, each graced with parquet floors, wood paneled walls, and high ceilings with gold-leaf moldings. The home is made for luxurious modern living: A gourmet kitchen equipped with high-end appliances and a fireplace; an office; two bedroom suites, each with a dressing room; and an en suite guest bedroom are among the amenities.
Grand Manor House in Vinho Verde
Santo Emilião, Braga, Portugal
The main residence of this quinta in Portugal’s Vinho Verde wine region is akin to a royal palace. The grand, four-story mansion is ornately decorated throughout. The façade is adorned with blue mosaic tiles, while the interior is accoutered with rich finishes of exotic wood and marble, coffered and vaulted ceilings featuring reliefs and frescoes painted by hand. Bordering the residence are formal gardens, which lead down to the banks of the River Ave. The wine estate, comprising mature vineyards, and a commercial winery with an oenology lab, cellars, warehouses, agricultural buildings, and a caretaker’s house, is within 40 minutes of Francisco Sá Carneiro International Airport.
Paradise Valley, Arizona
A vast open plan, with eye-popping architectural details and elegant creature comforts, sets apart this Mediterranean-style manse. The opulent interiors begin at the grand living and dining room, crowned by high ceilings and elliptical arches, walnut finishes, marble floors, and hand-hewn cabinetry. The family room has an open-truss beamed ceiling, while the master bathroom features a beautiful painted ceiling reminiscent of the desert sky. The service areas comprise a gourmet kitchen, butler's pantry, and wine cellar. Glass doors lead out to a hacienda-style pool, surrounded by patios with an outdoor kitchen, barbecue, and cozy fire pit. A serenity garden with koi pond, pool house, and basketball half court add to the resort ambience.