This Ultimate Home of 2016 Will Leave You Slack-Jawed

Editors' pick: Originally published July 20.

Think of it as the ultimate family-friendly home, with emphasis on the word ultimate.

Because with details such as a 600-bottle wine room, 4,000-square-foot garage (designed to showcase 11 of your favorite automobiles) and a total of 14,000 square feet of living space, it's not exactly your average family home.

But then, if it were merely average, it would not be featured (and crowned winner) on the pages of Robb Report Home & Style.

The luxury lifestyle publication recently unveiled its Ultimate Home 2016. The property to earn the distinction this year is a newly built Tudor-style manor house in Toronto, Calif., owned by Joe Montesano, the 47-year-old principal of residential-subdivision developer Primont Homes.

A mixture of old-world tradition and modern glamour and comfort, the home that beat out all others this year was selected not because of its size (which is relatively small by Robb Report Ultimate Home standards), nor its many luxurious details, but because of its emphasis on being family-friendly while still oozing sophistication at every turn.

"What we love about the house is the form and details, which gave the house an old world sensibility, but it's not stuffy," Robb Report Editor-in-Chief Brett Anderson explains. "It's less a showplace then it is a family home."

Family friendly may not necessarily be the first description that springs to mind when perusing photographs of the stunning five-bedroom, ten-bathroom home, but Anderson explains further why the description is fitting.

"It's really the way the spaces are configured, the fact that they chose not to have a formal living room," he continues. "While in the images, the rooms look very formal, they are connected in such a way that they flow together nicely and create a place where people come together and gather in a community way."

Fair enough. Where do the rest of us sign up for our own sprawling, family-friendly manse?  And what's the cost exactly?

The homeowner did not reveal the final price-tag of his property, but Anderson pointed out that it's easily in the eight-figure range.

Designed by architect Lorne Rose, and styled by Lori Morris, the property appears to spare no expense when it comes to details and décor.


In the entry hall, there's 1940s Murano-glass sconces and a floor of marble and black onyx that adds an art deco flair. Doorways, meanwhile, are framed in brass fretwork.

Moving on to the rich, visually stunning dining room, some of the highlights include French-style paneled walls with Christian Lacroix wallpaper, an ornate 18th-century French console with ormolu mounts, and a massive, circa-1900 Louis XVI-style gilt-bronze chandelier from Ribbehege & Azevedo. (The scene of lavish entertaining, the room gives new meaning to dining in style.)

The kitchen, yet another feast for the eyes from top to bottom, was designed with a stepped ceiling, marble mosaic tiles on the floor and a center island finished in quartzite. Throughout the room there's brass inlay work and glossy cream lacquer that add a Hollywood glam factor. Two Grand Lotus chandeliers from Currey & Company illuminate the kitchen (no ordinary Home Depot lighting fixtures here).

As for that fabulous 600-bottle wine room - wine lovers brace yourselves. Rather then have your wine tucked away in a basement cellar, this room is located upstairs with the intent of being an entertaining space in its own right. Accessible from the kitchen, dining and family rooms, wine bottles are not so much stored as showcased in glass-fronted cabinets decorated with fretwork. The stylish room also includes walnut floors and a black onyx island.

The home does not include a formal living room. Instead, it has a family room, which despite its title, is still jaw-dropping.  At the heart of the room is a double-height walnut fireplace with gilded decorative panels and gold trim. On either side of this impressive structure are seating niches and built in shelves. And back to that family-friendly theme, because the home is inhabited by twin, five-year-old boys, much of the room's furniture was designed with washable fabrics and patterns that are forgiving of spills.

An additional stop on this droolworthy home tour is the library lounge, which offers up such details as black suede walls and a double-sided fireplace made from dramatically-veined Michelangelo marble and white marble.

Lastly, that 11-car, 4,000-square-foot garage. Like much of the rest of the house, the design is far from ordinary, transcending the definition of the room's name, and existing not so much as a mere garage but rather a striking showcase of luxury cars.

The subterranean space is finished with a black-and-white scheme featuring epoxied floors and racing stripes, the neutral colors of which were chosen to avoid clashing with Montesano's array of colorful cars.

"The garage is one of the special spaces in the house," says Anderson. "You drive into what you think is an ordinary garage, and it's leads to this lower level space where the owner displays his cars in an art gallery."

And what home is truly complete without an art gallery to display your cars?

So feel free to jot down your favorite details of this home and incorporate them into your next remodeling project, because when anointing its ultimate home each year, Robb Report does so with the hope that its readers will find useful tips and takeaways.

"We definitely publish these with the idea that it's going to offer some concepts to our readership that they might want to incorporate in their own homes," says Anderson.

"People are always curious about the spaces we live in and how it reflects the personality of the people who live there," he adds. "Homes are one of those things that are a very intimate expressions of ourselves."

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