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Living Large: Classic European Living In Darien

DARIEN, Conn. (CBSNewYork) -- There's an abundance of old-world charm inside a Mediterranean villa that's only about an hour from New York City.

CBSN New York's Natalie Duddridge recently got look inside the one-of-a-kind home for this week's Living Large.

A bell calls your attention to the elegant home on Old Kings Highway South in Darien, and as it's revealed you can sense there's something special about it.

"The stone work, the wood beams, the artistic embellishments are just incredible," said Bill Martin of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, who took Duddridge on the tour.

Living Large/Darien
The view of Gorham's Pond from outside the home on Old Kings Highway South in Darien, Conn. (Photo: CBS2)

It was built in 1936 by pianist Frank La Forge with materials imported from all over Europe. Outside, its five picturesque acres sit on Gorham's Pond. Inside is a study of old-world craftsmanship, well suited to modern-day living.

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Martin first took Duddridge through the main foyer, or heart of the house, noting, "The home wraps around this central courtyard atrium, which was originally outdoor space."

Today, it's enclosed with a glass roof and ringed by ornate balconies. The floors have radiant heat, prompting Duddridge to call the home "an artist's paradise."

There are unique embellishments everywhere, but the true picture is painted as you step onto one of the many terraces.

"Your heart just almost stops for a moment, it's so beautiful," Duddridge said.

A new feature is the $2 million kitchen expansion. You're struck first by the scale.

"All of the beams were reclaimed from an old church," Martin said.

Then there's the total functionality of a chef's dream come true.

"You can see she has her knife block built into the island," Martin observed.

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Living Large/Darien
The Mediterranean influence can be seen throughout the home on Old Kings Highway South in Darien, Conn. (Photo: CBS2)

There's a veranda with a working rotisserie and automatic screens. The formal dining room has original hand-painted murals. The hand-carved doors, and the rod iron set are a design feature seen throughout the home.

The master is one of five bedrooms. There are also five and a half baths.

And finally, the great room lives up to its name with soaring ceilings, stained glass, and steel-framed doors leading to another terrace.

"This fireplace was actually from 1840. It's carved stone," Martin said.

But the showstopper here, literally, is the working pipe organ. It's original to the home, and worth about $1 million.

To live large in this Darien stunner will cost you $5.8 million.

Locals in the area call the place "The Castle." There are no motorboats allowed on the pond to ensure the peace and quiet.

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