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Extravagent Living

Castles, Lighthouses, Convents As Homes

— August 18, 2007 — Art & Design
When you've got money to burn and your eccentric personality just can't settle for having a run-of-the mill mansion, you might want to consider investing in something a little more luxuriously offbeat. If your bank account is bursting at the seams, a $2.8 million lighthouse in Ireland, or a $1.75 million convent in Italy could make a nice second home. If that still doesn't meet the needs of your indulgent, off-beat character, consider a Belgian castle or an English rectory in the UK. Always loved New York? What about an old opera house or bright green barn?

Business 2.0 checked out a few unique pieces of luxury real-estate, with buyer's facts and a whack of photos. Here are a few key points:

Irish lighthouse, Clare Island, Ireland
The lighthouse was used until 1965 when it was restored into a luxury retreat. Imagine calling a place with towers and three circular rooms your home! It has 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms and "commands the most magnificent ocean views in Ireland" that lets its inhabitants watch the awe-inspiring storms of the Atlantic.

Italian convent, San Macario, Italy
The medieval six bedroom, four bathroom convent is the ideal getaway for bigger families -- or a retreat with your closest friends. Prepare an authentic spaghetti meal on your granite-covered counters, then pedal through the Tuscan countryside to burn off that extra handful of Parmesan. Afterwards, share a bottle (or two, or three) as you kick back in your one acre garden.

Belgian caste, Saintes, Belgium
The $4.25 million castle has eight bedrooms and four bathrooms and over 10 acres of land with sculptures, fancy shrubbery and a pond. The European structure "is more like a small palace of dreams. The 18th century, south Belgium property has been maintained in peak condition over the years." Oh yeah, and you get a pool and private tennis court.

English rectory, Bluntisham, UK
For $3.5 million you could live in the 9 bedroom, 4 bath former "home of author Dorothy Sayers, creator of Lord Peter Wimsey." Intricate details in the architecture, high ceilings and heated indoor pool are just some of the stellar features this place has to offer.

Opera house, Croton-on-Hudson, New York
$2.35 million sounds a little steep for a 4 bedroom fieldstone house with 3.5 baths, but the Westchester County building has been restored and loaded with the finest amenities.

"This home was originally built in the late 19th century by the eponymous developer of Croton-Harmon, Clifford B. Harmon, for his lover, Madame Lillian Nordica, a prima donna at the Metropolitan Opera." How romantic! Test out the acoustics yourself in the high-ceiling house, whether it's to entertain a big group of guests, or simply for your own two ears. This place is the ideal retreat from the chaotic bustle of the city, but when you do need your city-fix, the train to Manhattan is only steps away.