House Lust: One of Newport’s Last Great Gilded Age Estates is on the Market
The massive property is intact, but the Gilded Age propriety is long gone.
Can you have a library lined in eighteenth-century Parisian pine and a dog kitchen? Priceless heirlooms and plastic nude statues? Grandiosity and fun?
Champ Soleil — one of the last intact, privately owned Gilded Age mansions in Newport — retains all the trappings of history without any of the stuffiness. The 18,000-square-foot chateau-style mansion was built for banking heiress Lucy Wharton Drexel, then changed hands several times — including a period in which it was owned by Sonny von Bulow’s mother, Annie-Laurie — before it sold in 2003 to real estate developer Kenneth Zarrilli and his husband, Joshua McKinney-Zarrilli. The pair scooped it up for a cool $4.7 million and got started on renovations.
The result? An anachronism we’ll call Gilded Age Nouveau: Vast yet comfortable, playful without a whiff of garishness, and fitted with all the trappings of twenty-first-century entertaining. In a community that’s renowned for its resistance to change, the Zarrillis were trailblazers. (Their work didn’t stop there: McKinney-Zarrilli was also fond of dressing in drag and waving to tourists passing by on Bellevue, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal.) And now they’ve put Champ Soleil on the market for the next barons of the Gilded Age Nouveau.
Here’s your House Lust:
House Lust: An English Country Estate in the Middle of Rhode Island
House Lust: A Storybook Cottage Tucked Back on Bellevue
House Lust: A Waterfront Villa for the Eclectic World Traveler