Not fat free: Glenmore mansion suits rich tastes

ADDRESS: 3182 Darby Road

NEIGHBORHOOD: Glenmore

ASKING: $725,000

YEAR BUILT: 2002

SIZE: 4200 fin. sq. ft., 774 unfin.

CURB APPEAL: 8 out of a possible 10

LISTED BY: Kathy Gochenour and Jeff Gaffney of Real Estate III, 977-8865

It's hard to imagine that there's anyone around who doesn't know about Glenmore, the exclusive gated community on Route 250 west.

Some people consider the place with its championship golf course, equestrian center, 500 acres of open land, and views of Monticello and Brown's mountains a brash challenger to the staid, established Farmington Country Club on the opposite side of town, since both cater to the same sort of homeowner: tony, golfy, and rich as Croesus.

That's what the buyer of this new brick mansion on Darby Road will undoubtedly be. The house is enormous and elegant, looking over a pond. And like all new homes at Glenmore the purchase price includes the $20,000 initiation fee for a full-time golf membership in the club.

What will greet the weary duffer returning home after a long day on the greens? If he comes in via the three-car garage, he'll wend his way through a large laundry room and a small hall into a glorious "foyer" on his way to the outfitted-to-the-nines kitchen (except for one thing: among every other conceivable appliance, cherry cabinets, and granite counters, there's no microwave. Strange.).

If he comes in the front door, he'll find himself in the foyer, but instead of facing the kitchen, he'll be looking straight into the "great room," with its soaring 20-foot ceiling and a wall of windows with a view to the undeveloped "common space" behind the house.

The windows deserve mention, because they– and the light that flows through them– are the very best thing here. When you tour a house like this, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the gratuitous opulence the fact that everything is oversize, the lavish materials (oak floors, an imported-from-France wrought-iron stair railing, expensive tile around showers and tubs), and details such as two wood-burning fireplaces, and porches or patios outside almost every door.

But it's the care that went into capturing the light that sets this house apart from many other gargantuan status symbols. Over every door there's a window transom. The French doors in the library just off the foyer are floor-to-ceiling, reminiscent of those at Monticello. The windows over the whirlpool in the main-level master bath are huge, and provide another view of the common space out back.

That common space is also noteworthy, because the distance between these houses is strangely tight. These monstrous places are packed almost as snugly along the street as many ranchers in decidedly less prestigious subdivisions. So it's important that there's part of the lot that the residents can count on always being open and woodsy.

For storage, in addition to enormous closets in each of the five bedrooms including his and her "dressing rooms" in the master suite that are big enough to be rooms in their own right there's a full walk-up attic and a "bonus room" over the garage. The oak floors in the dining room and library have cherry inlay, and the crown molding and wainscoting is elegant, if a little overpowering in places.

In short, this French provincial has everything you'd expect to find in a house costing so much money, but the difference between this one and some others with similar price tags is the consistency of the quality. Nothing seems cheesy here.

Other high-end places we see look good at first glance, but closer inspection reveals the dark side: loathsome plastic shower surrounds, gas fireplace "inserts," no storage space, Formica countertops. They're like alluring pastries in a fancy patisserie that turn out to be made of Crisco.

None of that at 3182 Darby Road. If your system can stand it, this is all pure butter and heavy cream.