Villa Maryland is one of the greatest achievements and well-known properties situated on the peninsula of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. This house is a masterpiece of Harold Peto, an English architect whose talents as a landscape designer are all too often celebrated. Harold Peto is also the creator of the gardens of the famous Villa Ephrussi that stands a couple of hundred meters away. Whatever angle you look at it, this enormous eighteen-room villa with its terraces and pillars of red marble imposing but never appears massive.
The land of this villa is open on the two shores of the peninsula and has a dozen multi-hundred-year-old olive trees. From most rooms in the house, you can see the venerable olive trees that have survived the storms and building works.
“The desire to keep them meant that the axes of the windows had to take particular directions, thus determining the establishment of the garden paths”, explains Harold Peto.
He knew how to adapt to the improbable configuration of the land, to design a house, to include it in his space, to design parks and gardens. Peto imagined everything, designed everything, then built this area.
He built this house entirely because he knew how to do everything, always with taste, moderation, and originality, as already attested by several of its works in Kensington or Chelsea, or closer, Villa Sylvia on the western slope of Cap Ferrat. The property has hosted many very famous personalities from around the world such as Mr. Winston Churchill, the third son of Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, the Duchess of Sunderland,
The property went on sale in 1952 and was bought by a Swiss industrialist. Then in 1994, the well-known billionaire and co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen bought the villa Maryland and later on restored it. As the crimson marble was out of fashion, the quarry from which it originated has closed for decades. The restoration company however found a way to reopen it and had identical new marble columns made for the restoration work.
Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Billingial Edition by Pierre Devoluy & Jean-Jacques Pangrazi