If the name “Chateau Ridge” conjures up the thought of something expensive, grandiose and secluded, that’s because the lavish Greenwich estate bearing that moniker — owned by Louise Camuto, widow of Nine West co-founder and renowned shoe designer Vince Camuto — is just that. And it is set to be auctioned.
Surrounded by 23 acres of undeveloped and protected Fairfield county woodlands, the 4.6 acre gated grounds, in the exclusive Round Hill enclave, has an apple tree-lined cobblestone drive that leads to a picturesque European-style mansion. The sumptuous spread has been on the market on and off since 2017 and was most recently priced at $25 million. With holding costs likely greater than the GDP of a small Eastern European country, Camuto has taken the somewhat unusual step of auctioning the home under “no reserve” conditions, which means she does not have a bottom line threshold. Whatever the highest bid is on auction day — even if it’s considerably lower than the previous asking price — is what she will take.
Before scrambling to the auction block with your dreams of owning a ritzy mansion in one of American’s most illustrious and expensive communities, there are a few things to know. The annual tax bill is a staggering $130,709.35, and there are extensive formal gardens to maintain at what is unquestionably considerable expense, not to mention the ongoing and costly upkeep of a 16,300-square-foot manor house originally built in 1927.
The property — which Camuto purchased as a crumbling relic in the ’80s before renovating it in a five-year-long process, according to The Wall Street Journal — comes fully furnished, antiques and all. And though it all might be a wee bit fusty for contemporary sensibilities, the mansion’s historic details and finishes are the result of painstaking work by the Camutos’ team of skilled artisans. The great room has a ceiling that soars to a baronial 40 feet with a custom night sky-style fresco. Intricate wood carvings, limestone fireplaces from a French monastery and a private study with leaded glass windows all add to the pre-World War II sense of unabashed opulence. There is a resort-style pool under stone arches that create a private grotto and, augmenting the French aesthetic, a clay tennis court with two-story courtside tennis house. And let’s face it, who doesn’t want a tennis house?
Concierge Auctions, in cooperation with Shelly Tretter Lynch and Kimberly Johnson of Compass, will present the property to a global audience of potential bidders on August 12-15 via the firm’s digital marketplace, ConciergeAuctions.com.
Vince Camuto, who died in 2015 from cancer, was legendary as both a designer and a businessman, making affordable shoes with mass appeal. He sold Nine West to Jones Apparel Group in the late 1990s for almost $900 million before launching an eponymous line of footwear. He also teamed with former singer and reality T.V. star Jessica Simpson, buying the master license to her brand and overseeing its expansion to a billion dollar company at the time of his death. He also acquired licenses for Lucky Brand Jeans, Banana Republic and many others.
Avid high-end real estate watchers will recall Louise Camuto offloaded another of her properties in 2018, selling a massive Hamptons estate for $49 million, not quite half of its original, pie-in-the-sky $100 million asking price. The Camutos originally purchased the Water Mill estate in 2005 for $35 million from the Sisters of the Order of St. Dominic of Amityville, who had owned it since 1931. The sprawling estate was subsequently divided and sold in two separate transactions to two separate buyers, with larger stakeholder re-listing his $36 million purchase for $72 million soon after buying it.