A short drive from Manhattan yet worlds away from the hustle and bustle is a palatial mansion in Saddle River, New Jersey inspired by the iconic Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. Known as Stone Palace on the Hill, the sublime estate valued at close to $30 million will go up for auction July 23-26.
The 32,507-square-foot mansion sits on 6.3 acres, boasting tranquility, privacy and surreal views of sunsets, mountains and woodland.
Upon entering the estate through automated iron gates, the custom paver driveway and stately motor court set the stage for the architectural gem. The home’s facade goes well beyond brick and mortar. The exterior is clad in earthy hues of granite and New England stone that were cut into rectangles and hand-crafted for a picturesque castle look. A slate roof provides the crowning touch. The estate includes 13 bedrooms, 12 full bathrooms, four half bathrooms, a staff apartment and five-car garage.
Custom stained-glass entry doors set the tone for the rest of the mansion. Visitors are immediately struck by the dual Botticino marble staircases with 24-karat gold-plated embellishments and hand-forged iron railings rising toward the second floor, framing a dramatic rotunda-topped great room with a full curved wall of floor-to-ceiling windows.
The home is a visual feast from top to bottom with many details that are priceless and irreplaceable. In a video about the property, builder Michael Tseytin reminisces about his time spent growing up in Russia, which gave him a deeply rooted appreciation for the splendor of palatial estates. Tseytin’s approach to building Stone Palace for his family in the late 1990s was a labor of love.
“Peter the Great was surrounded by the best architects from Italy and France, which created a culture in St. Petersburg that’s very unique,” Tseytin said, explaining that his own creative energy was fueled by the Winter Palace, which shines through in exquisite details like handmade decorative plaster moldings, railings and light fixtures.
The mansion, which is adorned with custom chandeliers, frescoes and hand-painted stained glass imported from St. Petersburg, is ideal for entertaining and enjoying an active lifestyle. Given the estate’s opulence, the beautiful 2,200-square-foot grand ballroom is the icing on the cake. A banquet-size formal dining room seats up to 22 guests.
“Several chandeliers were custom designed and brought here from overseas. And then it took about two weeks to put them together and install in the home,” said Troyano-Ascolese.
The mansion blends modern elements with Old World charm. Among the plentiful indoor amenities are a commercial-grade glass elevator servicing all four floors, a new state-of-the-art home theater with 4K ultra-high-definition resolution, wine cellar, gym, game arcade, regulation-size racquetball court, billiards room, sauna, steam room, plunge pool and gunite swimming pool with diving board. The laundry room is outfitted with three washing machines and two dryers.
A five-bedroom staff quarters with a full kitchen and living room is in the lower level.
The property provides nearly as many outdoor amenities, including a resort-style gunite swimming pool with diving board, bluestone patio, hot tub and lighted tennis court. “You can no longer light tennis courts in Saddle River, but this was grandfathered in,” said Troyano-Ascolese.
The landscaping incorporates a formal garden and koi pond with a waterfall.
The home also includes an automatic fire sprinkler system and 800-amp commercial generator that provides electricity independently from the grid in the event of a power outage.
Troyano-Ascolese considers it a privilege to represent the home and give prospective buyers extensive tours of the entire property.
“It’s like nothing else that’s out there,” she explained. “It’s because of the history of it and the outsourcing that was done to build it, it literally can never be replicated. It’s a one-of-a-kind piece of art to be honest.”
Saddle River is known as a quiet well-to-do community with a semi-rural atmosphere and estates set on large lush lots that provide serene privacy. Troyano-Ascolese says the prestigious borough attracts members of the entertainment industry and sports figures partly because of its short commute to New York City and proximity to three international airports that are less than an hour away.
The community strikes a balance between luxury and leisure. The offerings for outdoor recreation include multiple golf courses and ski resorts nearby as well as plenty of state parks and reserves. The area is also well-suited for hiking, fishing and boating. An additional perk is lower taxes than what is levied in surrounding areas.