Living by the water, whether on a lake, river, or sea, was hard wired into the first human soul. Fast-forward a few hundred-thousand years, past a few million luaus, clambakes, and beach barbecues to the epicurean customs of today, where humans gather for sunset cocktails by the pool before dining on a moonlit terrace overlooking the sea. Luxury Defined herewith showcases seven homes designed for living on the water and fulfilling that ancient urge. A regal, airy lakeside villa outside Chicago offers restorative terraces, decks, and a pool; further southward on historic Charleston Harbor, a former maritime station, cleverly reimagined for the waterfront lifestyle, is dedicated to lavish entertaining with a bar, lounge, and 360-degree wraparound deck. Oh, and ample space to moor your superyacht.
Charleston Harbor Estate
Charleston, South Carolina
Landmark views, Southern elegance, and architectural ingenuity meet at this unique waterfront estate on Charleston Harbor. Formerly a degaussing station for the United States Navy, the main structure, now a luxurious family home, sits on concrete pilings above the water and takes full advantage of the panoramic vista: Charleston Harbor, Fort Sumter, and the Charleston peninsula. There are four bedrooms, a library, wine room, and designer kitchen. The top floor is dedicated to entertaining with a bar, lounge, and wraparound deck, offering unsurpassed sea views. The 2.7-acre estate also has a guest house and the only privately owned dock in downtown Charleston: a 240-foot-long jetty with a 20,000-pound-capacity boat lift.
Barrington Hills, Illinois
The grand Lake View Estate in the prestigious Barrington Hills area of Chicago sits on 8.5 private acres composed of manicured grounds with two lakes, a resort-style swimming pool, and serene waterside terraces. Every aspect of this home conveys Old World grandeur, from the double walnut doors and the formal entrance hall to the floor-to-ceiling windows, barreled and coffered ceilings, glass-enclosed turret, and grand porte cochere. The luxurious lower level features a home theater, poker/billiards room, bar and kitchen, while the balcony and lakeside terraces offer sophisticated waterfront entertaining.
This scenic oasis on the great Potomac River seems like a world away, yet is just outside the political epicenter of Washington, D.C. The centerpiece of the estate is a 5,000-square-foot mansion set across three levels connected by a grand spiral staircase. Exquisite details adorn the home, such as Calcutta-marble floors and a great room with floor-to-ceiling windows facing the river; other scenic vantage points include balconies and a terrace leading to a private dock equipped with lifts and a boat ramp.
One Sandy Lane
Saint James, Barbados
One Sandy Lane is an enclave of ultimately private, refined, and secure residences overlooking the Caribbean Sea on the Platinum Coast of Barbados. Perhaps the most luxurious property ever built on the island, this magnificent development, comprising eight sumptuous residences, set within verdurous gardens, emulates the graceful beauty of the legendary Sandy Lane Hotel, a short stroll away. Each palatial unit, ranging in size from 8,500 to 10,000 square feet, is the ultimate expression of opulence. With its superior finishes, craftsmanship, and five-star resort lifestyle, One Sandy Lane represents a rare chance to purchase within one of the most illustrious addresses in the Caribbean.
Cape Town Contemporary
Cape Town, South Africa
Dramatically positioned on a double beachfront lot in the picturesque seaside village of Kommetjie, between Cape Town and the Cape of Good Hope, the views from this home span from Hout Bay to Table Mountain. The contemporary living spaces are enhanced with walls of windows and skylights, bringing the outdoors in. There are six bedrooms (four with en suite bathrooms), two living rooms, each with fireplaces, and a cigar lounge. The property is secured with aluminum stacking doors and windows, which lead to the home’s ocean-facing outdoor entertainment deck with pizza oven, swimming pool, outdoor shower, and access to the beach.
Co. Kerry, Ireland
Set on a tidal estuary on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way and overlooking the Macgillycuddy's Reeks Mountains, this seven-acre estate blends the themes of a traditional stone cottage with contemporary design and technology. The open-plan interior spaces (with in-floor heating throughout) are on four levels linked by open steel staircases with ashwood steps. The entrance level incorporates the ultramodern Siematic kitchen and en suite office. The lower level living room, conservatory, and media space have breathtaking views. The upper level comprises a library, sitting room and roof terrace with a coastal panorama. The top floor master and guest bedrooms each have a luxurious bathroom and balcony. A separate garage, new boathouse with slipway, landscaped patio and gardens, and a water’s-edge artist’s studio complete the picture.
Six Mile Creek Estate
This waterfront compound has a secluded location on a white-sand peninsula on the shores of Lake Lanier. Though only 45 minutes north of Atlanta, the property is the ultimate escape for riverfront recreation and entertaining. The main house is laid out across 10,000 square feet, accoutered with custom-designed finishes and the latest in-home technologies, such as Crestron smart-home automation, Lutron lighting, and geothermal heating and cooling. The entertaining areas begin with a private beach and a two-story boat dock built on a jetty in the river, with upstairs deck. There’s also a pool, a terrace with fire pit, an organic garden, a pond, a batting cage, stables and pastures.