The Villa On The Mount: Cedar Grove, New Jersey

Gaze up from Pompton Avenue on a clear day in Cedar Grove, New Jersey and you will see a stately mansion clad in limestone and capped with Terracotta tiles. This architectural jewel set in a crown of lush green trees is one of the most unique estates in the greater New York metropolitan area.

It was with great admiration that the estate’s current owner, Gerard Dente, witnessed the mansion’s construction back in the early 90s. Born and raised in Cedar Grove, Dente followed his life’s passion of body-building eventually founding his own business in sports nutrition. After years of hard work crafting his business, Dente made preparations to build his dream home in the greater New York metropolitan area. His plans to build took a turn, however, when he learned that the same magnificent estate that captured his imagination in earlier years was now on the market. “I grew up in Cedar Grove,” said Dente, “I remember this house being built and how impressed I was by it. To be able to purchase it was a dream come true.”

Behind the gates of the property, the drive ambles beneath deciduous trees to a grand stone fountain bubbling with cerulean water. Beyond the fountain to the front entrance, the enormous wooden French doors stand brilliantly to announce the estate’s tasteful grandeur.  “When you see the house from the street it’s impressive,” said Dente, “but when you get up close you see the grandeur.” The architectural nuances, which draw inspiration from the villas of Tuscany, cast the imagination to the same European countryside where nature’s simple beauty meets tasteful decadence.

Passing the threshold, one is greeted by the opulent double bridal marble staircase, a romantic feature with craftsmanship that commands attention. Gazing beyond the twin staircases and out the far windows, the iconic New York city skyline stands in all its glory. The unobstructed skyline views complement the building’s grandeur to create a perspective that is both awe-inspiring and comforting. “One of the things I always aspired for was a New York skyline view,” said Dente, “that was a dream of mine.”

Making their way through the first floor, guests will be awed by the enormity of the double-height ceilings.  A private office suite with a gas fireplace offers quiet refuge for business or thoughtful study. A circular staircase carries guests downstairs to the lower level where, gleaming of polished wood and stained-glass, a pub imported from Europe welcomes all visitors to relax in Old World sophistication. This luxurious living space with pub, card table, and a gorgeous billiard table will transport guests “over the pond” to a handsome country club in England.

Other private areas fill the lower level, including a full guest suite with kitchen, living area, and two bedrooms with laundry. A full gym, curated by the owner, a former bodybuilder, allows a comfortable and welcoming sanctuary for complete health and wellness with cedar sauna, spa bath, and steam shower. A theater with resplendent seating presents endless entertainment for visiting movie-goers, while its stage offers a wonderful opportunity for inspired children to create their own performances.

On the second floor, one finds the primary suite with parquet flooring, two decadent baths, three walk-in closets, and walk-out balconies.The third floor offers expansive recreational areas and extensive storage. Totaling +12,000 square feet with 8 beds, 9 baths, and 6 gas fireplaces, the estate offers unmatched comfort and luxury throughout. All three floors offer walk-out balconies where the sumptuous views can be enjoyed through the seasons. The view reveals not only the iconic New York City skyline but all of Cedar Grove and Montclair below the estate. You really feel like you’re in your own secluded private area on top of the mountain here,” said Dente. “You sit so high,” he added, “that on some days you wake up and Cedar Grove is covered with clouds and out above them you can see Manhattan. There are some spectacular things about it.”

Outside, the estate grounds provide endless entertainment and relaxation with a Gunite pool and spa, full sports court for tennis and basketball and a soothing koi pond for thoughtful repose. At night, visitors can relax around a crackling fire on the pavilion and admire the twinkling brilliance of the city skyline after dark.The opportunity to entertain guests here is truly only limited by one’s talent and imagination.

For Dente, the idea that he could live in such decadence in his small hometown was almost too good to be true. “I love the community in Cedar Grove,” Dente said, “I loved spending my childhood here and I wanted my kids to have the same experience I had.” Offering privacy and luxury within a cozy community, the estate provides the most lavish and the most heart-warming aspects of life in New Jersey.