History on the Hudson

Resting regally along the beautiful shores of the Hudson River lies a three-level mansion with centuries of rich history, architecture and past ownership to its name.  Known as ‘Nuits’ to the townspeople of Irvington and other surrounding towns of Westchester County, this meticulously constructed Italianate villa, once serving as home to American financier and philanthropist John Jacob Astor III, is now for sale for $14.75 million. This offering makes the historic residence the highest priced property to ever hit the Rivertowns market. Current homeowner and investment banker Martin W. Dolan bravely undertook an exhaustive restoration of the home, which took a total of 35 years to complete. Confident that now is the first time the residence can be purchased in fully restored, move-in condition since 1928, Dolan, and anyone else lucky enough to stumble upon this precious gem, has high hopes for the future of one of the finest homes in all of Westchester County.

Also known as the ‘Cottenet-Brown House’ in recognition of its initial owner, French merchant Francois Lienau, the now over 20-room residence was originally constructed by German-born architect Detlef Lienau, with a specific French style in mind. The uniquely designed river villa has left an impression on countless individuals, past and present, since its 1853 construction. Its original footprint, which was already extremely impressive in size and elegance, grew even more in the 1860s when Cottenet added a wing of rooms including several bedrooms, a billiards room and even a conservatory. A scene from the popular 1993 movie “The Age of Innocence” is said to have been filmed in this exceptional glass space, which boasts marble floors, a Caen stone wall as well as a light-filled, glass ceiling.

Undoubtedly the home is fit for royalty, so it’s no wonder why so many prominent individuals throughout the years have lived here. From strong-rooted townspeople including Cyrus West Field, one of the founders of the Atlantic Telegraph Company, to the great American businessman John Jacob Astor III, this highly sought after residence has witnessed true magnificence. Under its current ownership, the property now resides on 5 out of its original 65 acres of land, which was previously converted into the neighboring Ardsley Park, providing a rare private setting for the riverfront villa’s residents to enjoy.

Rye agent Dalia Valdes, who represents the listing, describes the home’s interior as exceptional, having been meticulously restored and luxuriously updated by Dolan for the ultimate 21st century lifestyle. Some remarkable features include 13 sets of floor-to-ceiling French doors, which lead to multiple patios and terraces that overlook the property’s beautiful surrounding views, 19,720 square feet of living space, which contains an added lower level, a state-of-the art recreation space, catering facility, home theatre, wine cellar, saunas, an in-ground swimming pool and more. A 1,800 square-foot, 3-bedroom carriage house with a terraced patio and Hudson River views completes the property.

Nuits is a home that can be defined as both a piece of preserved history and art. Keep your eye out—According to a recent New York Times feature on the property, there could be even more brilliant work to come from Dolan! “I’ll start again on the smallest house in Irvington,” he told The New York Times. “This is a beautiful, beautiful area.”

For more information on the property, located at 2 Clifton Place, please visit our website here. You can also contact Rye agent Dalia Valdes by phone at 914.772.8002, or by email at

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