Reader's Choice: Lasting Impressions By Carolyn Weber and Christina B. Farnsworth

Name: Biltmore Estate

Location: Asheville, N.C.

Year Built: 1895

Architect: Richard Morris Hunt

Why it's relevant: It shows the results--on a grand scale--of the importance of a great builder/architect collaboration.

The 1895 French renaissance chateau of railroad heir George Vanderbilt is the ultimate symbol of the Gilded Age and remains the largest private home in America. When Dan Sater visited the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C., as a young man he was awe-struck by the sprawling mansion. The Naples, Fla.-based residential designer, a lover of classical architecture, has visited several times since and always finds something new and amazing in the 180,000-square-foot manor.

In addition to the design, Sater admires the teamwork behind the masterpiece. "It's obvious that the well-seasoned architect Richard Morris Hunt, famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead, and the very young Vanderbilt were all consumed with a love of architecture," he says.

[Photo: Courtesy Biltmore Estate]

Vanderbilt and Hunt were indeed a team, and they traveled the world together in search of fine art, furnishings, and decorative objects to fill Biltmore's 250 rooms.

"My clients put a lot of trust in me and give me a great deal of liberty, and a home like this motivates me to exhibit the same kind of passion" says Sater, who designs homes with an average price of more than $2 million. "You can't create a great home without expertise from every level," he says. "From the cabinet craftsmen to the lighting designer you have to show respect and put ego aside to achieve what's best for the customer."

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