From the living room, guests cross the hallway into the dining room. Painted a bright emerald green – a holdover from the previous owners, the room centers on a mahogany table and Queen Anne-style chairs. Biedermeier, Italian and Gothic-style chests around the perimeter hold linens and glassware. Behind the dining room, a breakfast room offers a more informal setting for casual meals. Furnishings include Austrian chairs, a mirrored French armoire, and vintage posters from La Scala, reflecting Nuschese eclectic tastes.
Upstairs on the second floor, the master bedroom centers on a pediment-topped, French Empire-style bed. A walk-in closet is neatly lined with Nuschese’s impeccably tailored suits and Italian shoes. “People kept asking me, ‘Franco, where do you buy your clothes,’ so I decided to create my own line of menswear,” says the restaurateur, who is unveiling some of his designs this fall called ManFacto . Next door to the bedrooms on the third floor, an exercise room includes a drum set for son Gianfranco, 15, when he comes to visit.
More important than all the space inside, Nuschese says, are the plantings that envelop the house. “To be surrounded by all this green is so wonderful,” he says, stepping onto the curved, flagstone terrace behind the house. “Coming through the front door, you don’t realize all this is here. It’s a secret.” In addition to a pool and tennis courts, the back of the property incorporates a vegetable garden filled with lettuces, tomatoes, peppers and other crops harvested for his restaurants.
To better connect house to garden, Nuschese is planning to add another terrace to the side of the house and move the master bedroom to take in the view. Blueprints for the ambitious renovation have already been drawn up.
Sitting on the built-in bench encircling the elevated terrace, next to round teak tables and potted lemon trees, Nuschese recalls how he often uses the outdoor space to host large parties and fundraisers for the various civic and charitable organizations that he supports. Underneath the terrace is a storage room that can be used for staging by caterers.
Looking up at the rounded bay at the back of the house, Nuschese notes with an impish grin that the architecture of his new digs makes his high-powered guests feel important. “It’s the same shape as the [south portico of the] White House.”