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The scope of these estates embrace the notion of the family compound, built purposefully as a gathering place for
extended family and friends, says Joesph Beninati of Antares Investment Partners. One of the firm's projects currently on the market, the Lake Carrington estate in Greenwich includes squash and basketball courts, indoor and outdoor pools, a movie theatre seating 20, a beauty salon, a wine cellar housing 20,000 bottles and a fishing pond. The idea: once you enter the compound walls, you never have to leave.
Extravagant? Maybe, but these amenities don't necessarily require adding square footage. Basements often go underutilized, given over to such unglamorous necessities as laundry and hot-water heating. Architects view the basement as "found" space for amenities that don't need daylight or views—a media room, wine cellar or gym.
As for homeowners with more acreage than square footage, outbuildings are a great place to house amenities. In Fairfield County, the owners of a contemporary home commissioned Southport architectural firm Austin Patterson Disston to build a chic "playhouse" for both children and grownups. Its styling meshes with that of the main residence but is more "exuberant," says architect McKee Patterson, to emphasize its recreational purpose. The interior has a movie theater and a large space for relaxing and parties, including a kitchenette.