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:

For more information on Champ Soleil, contact Mott and Chace Sotheby’s Judy Chace at 401-207-9166 or Kylie McCollough at 401-864-8830 or visit


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