Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in one of LandVest’s properties? We invite our owners to tell us a bit about their experience, what they love about their homes, and a bit of their history. Here is what the owners of Lee Pond Estate told us about their property, how they came to own it, and what they love about living here.
Lee Pond Estate is a spectacular Rich Levey-designed Contemporary perfectly set at the end of a long winding drive on over 36± secluded acres outside Boston. Completed in 2016, the 10,000± sq. ft. of open living space is the collaborative achievement of RBL Architects, Meichi Peng Design Studio, and the property owners. Drawing on their artistic sensibilities and practical experience in homebuilding, the owners’ vision was to open the house to the spectacular site, a secluded 19th-century Olmsted-style landscape of a large pond with a stone bridge and spillway, massive specimen trees, and great light, thoughtfully conceived and brought to life by Dana Schock & Associates Landscape Architecture.
Monica Esposito shared with us her thoughts on life, real estate, and what’s next for her and her artist husband, Domenic.
What did creating a home like this mean to you?
Domenic and I both come from very humble beginnings. We’re first-generation Americans. Everything that we have built came from us. Domenic is someone that can put his mind to something and work hard. Everything that we have, he earned from scratch. When I reflect, I can’t help but think “this is the American dream.” Our parents came to this country for a better life. They instilled that hard work ethic in each of us and this life we’ve built is the result of it. It took a lot of grit and determination. It’s what propelled him to success.
Why did you decide to build your dreams on this piece of land?
We were involved in other developments in the area when we came across this site on Lee Pond. Initially, we intended to develop it. Domenic went to see the land, and immediately called me to say, “You must see this.” The moment we’d stepped foot on it, I knew this is where we were going to build our dream house. All other plans just went to the side, and we focused on making this our home.
Can you describe the land for someone who hasn’t had the chance to be there?
The property sits on close to 37 acres. It’s so unique because you’re just 25 minutes from the city, but as soon as you step on the property, you feel like you’re in Vermont. The driveway is a quarter of a mile long, so you have privacy. It’s so serene, and there’s a pond. The pond itself is about 9.47 acres and creates such a tranquil environment.
There are beautiful trails that our kids love to explore. It is just a great piece of land for that kind of adventure. Dom and I love the trails, to just take in the quiet.
As you often see, a lot of new construction wipes out everything that’s there, which is such a shame. You end up with just a house built on an empty lot. We wanted to do as much as we could to preserve things like the aged cedars, pines, mountain laurels, and rhododendrons. We transplanted trees where the house would be built then moved them back onto the lot when construction was finished. We wanted to disturb the least amount of the land possible.
Can you tell us anything about the property’s history?
The original house was owned by the Lee family. He was an investor in the 1920s and had another property just down the road that was their main house. They built a recreational house on this property and put in a man-made pond that they used for ice skating and other recreational activities. It was a retreat of sorts from the main house. We built on the footprint of that original house.
What was the design process like?
Because we loved the surroundings so much, it was important to build a house that brought the outside in. You can see that in the cedar that’s on the siding and inside, in the 12-foot porcelain panels, and even the stonework. Elements on the outside of the house were thoughtfully incorporated on the inside.
We had a very clear vision of what we wanted, so we found a team that could make it happen. Our architect, Rich Levey, and interior designer, Meichi Peng, recognized how important it was to us to bring this dream into reality.
You mentioned your kids; how did they impact the design of the house?
As we were conceptualizing the house, there were a couple of things that, with four kids, we knew we would love to have. The girls love to paint and be creative, so we built an art studio in the basement. They also love movies, so we put in a 12-seat theater. It’s become a really fun place for them and their friends.
The design of the guest house was also done with our oldest child in mind. It has a bedroom suite on both the first and second floors. As we were building the house, our oldest was just going off to college. We knew when she came home, she’d want her own space, so we built it with the idea that she’d be in the guest house, but still feel close enough to the main house. We came up with the idea of building the bridge that connects the two structures. It’s a great spot with glass on both sides – you can see down to the pond and out to the front of the house. The 2nd floor has an expansive gym with views over the pond.
What are some of the unique features?
We love traditional wood-burning fireplaces, so we made sure to have the fireplaces be working and wood-burning. In the main house, we have a double-sided one between the living room and dining room and another on the outside porch that backs into another popular feature: our pizza oven.
It’s also a smart house. Everything can be controlled through an iPad; from the lighting, to heat, to entertainment.
What’s your favorite thing about the house?
We loved the pond, so we built the whole back of the house out of glass, upstairs and downstairs. There’s never a day where the view’s the same. You wake up every morning and there’s something different outside. My absolute favorite thing is how gorgeous it is when it snows. One of our favorite things to do is to go snowshoeing on the trails.
The flowing design and fun amenities must make this a great place to host gatherings. Tell us more!
It’s a great house for entertaining. Domenic and I both have big families. We made the downstairs open so that we would be able to bring everybody together. The first floor has retractable doors with screens, so the entire wall opens up to the outside. The stereo system has speakers outside, too. We’re set far enough back from the street that we can play what we want and won’t bother anybody.
In our prior house, we had put in a wine cellar in the basement with a small lounge area and tasting room. When we designed this house, we knew the wine had to be on the main floor. We built the contemporary wine cellar as a piece to look at, but also to have everything right there when you’re entertaining.
My favorite gathering was our 25th-anniversary party. Domenic built a trellis over the pond. We had the priest come to renew our vows right by the water. It was something I had always envisioned doing. It was beautiful.
We’ve also hosted birthday parties and graduations. Our daughters have had pre-prom pictures here. We have stunning pictures overlooking the water that we cherish.
Your family clearly has a love of art, and your husband has ties to the art world. How is that manifested in the house?
We really designed it to showcase art. There aren’t too many houses that can properly display big art pieces, so we ensured that each floor showcases pieces, big and small, and with proper lighting.
Last question; Why are you selling?
We’re at a point where our oldest has started her own life, our second is away at college, and our third child is about to go off to college in the fall. We’re left with just our youngest at home. It is bittersweet, but as much as we love the house, it’s a lot of space for just three of us. We’re all about simplifying too. Now is our right time to pass this special place to its next steward.
– Monica E
See Lee Pond Estate featured in Wall Street Journals’ Private Properties.