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Inside Water Mill's Restored Villa Maria

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Ah, Villa Maria. We can't count how many times we've driven past it on Montauk Highway and thought how much we'd love to see inside. Well, this month Architectural Digest pictures the interiors as restored by fashion bigwigs Vince and Louise Camuto.

Villa Maria was built in 1887, remodeled in 1919, and eventually became a retreat for Roman Catholic nuns, who eventually could no longer afford the upkeep or taxes on the 21,000 square foot house.

The Camutos bought Villa Maria in a bad state, with many years of water damage, so they roped in NYC-based architect Andrew Tchelistcheff to rehab and rebuild the "stuccoed Xanadu," as AD describes the home. The four-year restoration project's goal was "restrained elegance—to modernize the house completely but without touch screens everywhere," Tchelistcheff says. "What's interesting about Villa Maria is that although it's big, it feels summery, not ostentatious." We tend to agree: the interiors are lavish but elegant, with Venetian-plaster walls in the dining room (below), a TV cabinet covered in horsehair, iron tables topped with marble or oak, and Carrara marble for the kitchen counters and backsplash.