Elegant architecture: 9 Old money houses of excellence

Old money houses: Due to their rich history and great inheritances, old money can afford to have pretty decent homes. As they stay within the same family for many years, an old money home has to match some key characteristics.

Apart from antique furniture, you may find quiet luxury to have a distinct sense of impeccable craftsmanship and references to the antique. So, let’s jump into this article about what makes a house old money as well asdifferent types of old money houses.

Get to know more about old money families in my recent article.

What makes a house old money

Generally, old money houses have a couple of things in common. Accordingly, one of the key characteristics is lots of space as well as high quality and many rooms. Additionally, ornaments, big stone walls, and remarkable and timeless designs are crucial. You don’t want to feel like in a small townhouse, don’t you?

Apart from that, antique furnishings and a reserved lifestyle are characteristics of old money houses. They often belong to exclusive social circles and prioritize privacy and understatement. A huge estate is just as important as decorating every room with unique old money decor.

If you want to find out more about old money circles and societies and conglomerates of old money families and their houses, check out this article.

Essentials of old money homes

Typically, those old money houses will have a quite huge estate with lots of space to do all kinds of activities and most and foremost a huge, beautiful garden. This garden most of the time separates the old money building from the street covering it from noises as well as unwanted viewers wanting to know what happens inside those huge walls.

Sometimes, you may even find a driveway for cars to enter as the estates are mostly fenced. Also, you will not want to leave your luxury car on the street, won’t you? Those not only look pretty luxurious and elegant but also are very practical.

Apart from the outside, the interior design should match the overall old money aesthetic. Therefore, Quiet Luxury uses grand staircases, stucco, lots of natural lighting, as well as carefully chosen decor to give off an elegant aesthetic.

To get to know more about old money interior design, check out my recent article here.

Prominent examples of old money houses

Now as we know about the features and essentials of old money houses, let’s look at some prominent examples to verify those thesisses.

1. Villa Balbianello

This stunning building located at Lake Como represents old money like hardly any other house. Built in the late 18th century on the site of a Franciscan monastery, it has changed its ownership several times in Italian families. Nowadays, it is used as a Museum to feature its last owner, Guido Monzino’s art collection.

With its iconic terraces and gardens, and its even more luxurious access by water, this unique old money building is places of many movies like the James Bond film “Casino Royale”.

If you want to know more about old money gardens, check out my recent article here.

This picture shows the side view of Villa Balbianello, located at Lake Como.
Here, you can see an insight of the gardens of Villa Balbianello.

2. Biltmore estate

Located in Asheville, North Carolina, the Biltmore Estate is a massive châteauesque mansion built by George Washington Vanderbilt II. This unique mansion arose in 1895 and features more than 250 rooms making it a little bigger than your usual house. The whole estate covers about 8,000 acres.

With its steep roofs and little towers and turrets, this unique old money building is home to many events and lets people visit it by tours to learn more about the life of the prestigeous Vanderbilt family.

This picture shows the front view of the Biltmore estate, a beautiful old money mansion.

3. Newport Mansions

The Newport Mansions, emblematic of the Gilded Age architectural style, are a conglomerate of multiple mansions of highly influential families of the past. E.G. The Breakers or Marble House both owned by the Vanderbilt family as well as other mansion work as Museums showing their lives and culture.

These houses were mainly used as summer residences for affluent families like the bespoken Vanderbilts, Oelrichs, or the King family. As a result, they formed an exclusive old money community in the late 19th and early 20th century for those affluent and influential families to come together, discuss business and enjoy themselves. Truly some iconic old money mansions.

Here, you can see the Marble House, one of the famous Newport mansions. A great old money community.
This picture shows the breakers, a beautiful old money building, and part of the Newport mansions.

Different types of old money houses

So, now let’s have a look at some houses people actually live in that do not cost multiple 10s of millions of dollars but still have a high standard of luxury and timeless elegance. We will mainly talk about styles of architecture as we continue this list.

European types of old money houses

European houses are famous for their sustainability and unique design. In most European countries, houses and mansions have a long history. With their unique exterior and interior, they match the old money design aesthetic perfectly.

Georgian style

Old money house: House in the Georgian style.

The Georgian house, popular in Britain from the 18th century to 1830, weas known for its elegance and were primarily reserved for the social class of the nobility.

Based on classical Roman and Greek architecture, this housing style often features a symmetrical outline

With a mix of brick walls and white plastered ornaments Georgian homes are truly outstanding and you can recognize them for these features. The houses were purposely built to look large from the far on great landscapes. You can notice sash windows and small balconies when coming closer to the building. The roofline was generally plain and pitched.

French Country style

This house in the style of french country represents old money perfectly.

Originally built in the 1600s to 1700s the French country-style houses are the oldest ones on this list. However, a vast majority of these houses didn’t make it until today. A French Country house combines the farmhouse look with an estate-like style.

One of the key features of French Country houses is its warm neutrals and a clean outline with curved arches as well as brick walls. Imagine sitting in one of these exquisite masterpieces of the design world in Bretagne, sipping on a refined bottle of wine. It’s the epitome of old money elegance.

Located in the French countryside they usually come with great property. To even the path to the house, these mansions typically have these long gravel pathways for their old money cars. Just as you would imagine a french country estate.

If you want to get to know which cars old money drives, check out my article about them here.

Art nouveau

This picture shows the side view of Villa Balbianello, located at Lake Como.
In this picture you can see an old money house in Vienna.

Art nouveau is known for its ornaments and shiny elements from the late 19th century and the early 20th century. Also, it is heavily inspired by Italian architecture and can be named Art nouveau or Modern Style.

Inspired by nature, Art nouveau can be detected by its sinuous curves representing flowers and plants. These lines though mustn’t be symmetrical. The so-called whiplash line is a sinuous curve that is shaped like an S and can be found in architecture and on grand staircases.

The Art nouveau style generally tries to create functionality and open spaces as well as beautiful interior design. Therefore, you can expect lots of natural light in these rather modern homes. Stucco is something you want to have necessarily attached to Art Nouveau. 

If you want to see what Art nouveau architecture looks like you should visit Lake Como and Vienna as there are some pretty unique old money homes based in these areas.

English Country house

This picture shows an old money house in the style of English country.

The English country houses are mansions that were built for the Landed Gentry in British countries as an opposite to townhouses. The split between townhouses and Country houses allowed the multiple generations to live in the countryside and also in the city depending on their appointments or their mood.

These houses stand out because of their sheer size and elegance. These English Country homes are the perfect places to live your old-money lifestyle and follow traditional hobbies such as hunting

If you want to learn more about old money activities, feel free to read my blog post about the 18 old money activities.

American types of old money houses

American houses are also embossed from old money. Even though their history doesn’t reach that far back, America still offers some great and unique old money style houses. Some great places to find these old money homes are the Hamptons, Rhode island, or Palm Beach.

Find out more about prestigious old money travel destinations here.

Gilded age architecture

This picture shows a gilded age house, a perfect representation of old money in the USA.

The Gilded age era started after the Civil war and ended in the early 20th century. During the Gilded age era, as the name already tells, the economy went up and wealth grew. People had a lot of money to spend and they put it into real estate. 

Remarkable about these houses is their size. Architectural these houses are unique. The roofs are a mixtape of pitched and conical roofs. Almost imitating castles, these mansions are crested with pinnacles and other ornaments that refer to this time. 

The façade is usually held in light colors and made of light sandstone or other light materials. The windows are massive and arched. These old money mansions can also be seen with flat roofs looking like Greek temples.

Colonial house style

This old money home is held in the colonial style

American Colonial architecture is based on different styles of the colonial periods. One of them being the Georgian style, the Americans adopted a classic European style of houses, like many others.

One of the features, all houses have in common is their symmetry. Colonial houses are very symmetrical with the door being exactly in the center all the time and the sides being equal no matter the European influence.

The colonial houses are not decorated with a lot of ornaments or anything likewise, they are rather simple but big and luxurious a lot of the time. The usual exterior also includes brick or wooden walls alongside a gabled roof.

Old-money Neoclassical houses

The Neoclassical style, which emerged in Europe, particularly Italy and France, aimed to mimic the architectural and artistic styles of the antiques Greece and Rome. Typical features of Neoclassical architecture are a large size, big, dramatic columns, and blank walls

Oftentimes this style of architecture can be found on governmental buildings. If you see one of these mansions you can certainly be sure that someone spends a long life there full of wealth

This mansion is held in the neoclassical style, truly perfect.

Italianate architecture

Another style that has been influenced by Europe but screams old money is the Italianate style. This style of architecture is known for its square-shaped elements that together create a unique-looking house. 

This style can be found in symmetrical buildings as well as in asymmetrical ones. A special trademark of Italianate architecture is its square-shaped domes that look like you’re straight out of an ancient Italian home. 

Of course, these mansions are decorated with ornaments over the high windows as well as a bright variation of color schemes

This old money house represents the Italianate style.

Final thoughts on old money houses

This article has shown us how versatile and unique old money houses can be. Whether they are based in Europe or America, some key elements are almost always the same. 

These houses are not cheap by any means and are only for the richest of the population. Old money fits perfectly to this type. 

Even if you can’t afford to buy one of these or already live in such a mansion, only watching these is spectacular

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