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A fairytale formal garden blooms in Des Moines

Inside and out, reminders of a French estate

Windermere

This property is designed to be a formal fantasy inside and out, so make sure you have plenty of time to look around.

Start with the formal gated entrance. A pair of wrought iron gates with a lion motif swing wide on stone pillars capped with spiked lanterns. Here’s the first distraction: the drive past the front gardens. They’re hinted at through gaps in the tree-lined drive.

The street side of the property is divided into a variety of garden nooks. Ornamental may dominate, but look around for the espaliered apple trees. This is either a life’s work, the result of a team of professional gardeners, or both.

Step inside and find a spacious—5,900 square feet—French-style chateau with the appropriate formal living and dining spaces illuminated by crystal chandeliers. Massive and impressive stone and marble fireplaces fit in with the decor, though don’t expect them to burn anything as messy as wood.

The kitchen is large and well-equipped enough to feed a full house and a gathering of guests. Dual ovens and an unusually long and varied cooktop are ready for almost any type of cooking.

While wandering through the house, look up at artistic fixtures that belong in a gallery.

At least some of the four bedrooms and four bathrooms are reached by climbing the sweep of stairs that circle yet another chandelier. Slight dormers peek out from the steeply-sloped roof.

Get past the interior distractions and head to the water side of the property where there’s a broad, trellis-shaded patio, yet another set of gardens, and the ultimate backyard: Puget Sound.

The whole property is more than one and a third of an acre, full of boxwood gardens and other well-manicured delights.

If all of that is too overwhelming, the combination explains the $2,650,000. Imagine experiencing all of that every day, then settling into the modern media room with a glass of wine from the wine cellar.