Deeds and Dont’s

Inside stories behind area real estate deals

Autumn is typically a golden time for Realtors when only serious buyers are out shopping and everyone is motivated to close before the holidays settle around us in mid-November. As if you needed reminding, 2011 has been, well, atypical: 
a disastrous winter, a late spring and a summer of high distraction (the stock market, Hurricane Irene). Will the October market settle into a groove of good traffic and quick closings? We’re hoping the current crop of fantastic listings across both Connecticut and Westchester can make that happen—check them out and judge for yourself!

$18 million

Ridgefield, CT

The Fairfield County town of Ridgefield is not known for its $18-million listings. Storied summer estates once enjoyed by the likes of the Doubledays and the Remingtons? Check. Cool homes currently owned by Roz Chast and Alexander Julian? Check and check. A solid roster of listings priced between one and two million? Check, check, check. But $18 millionis unheard of in this half-exurban/half-rural town—and to put it bluntly: It buys a lot, as exemplified by this 88-acre spread. The estate starts with the palatial Georgian Revivalmansion built in 1939 for a shipping magnate who spared no expense: There is a curved, sweeping staircase, a Grand Salon with 11-foot ceilings, a sunroom with bamboo walls and lanterns (souvenirs from the first owner’s trips to the Orient), 10 bedrooms and nine bathrooms. The grounds offer 50-mile views of the Hudson Valley, along with three miles of equestrian trails, a pool, a cabana and a tennis court. There are also the assorted outbuildings required to service an estate of this magnitude: a gatehouse with three bedrooms, a six-room kennel with a washing station, a six-stall barn with a hayloft, and, coolest of all, a circa-1856 former schoolhouse that has been converted to staff quarters. Innisfree is listed with David Everson of William Raveis in Ridgefield. 203-246-7150.

Falls Village, CT

Litchfield County homes tend to take the pleasing but tradition-bound shapes of the classic colonial, the spare saltbox and the muscular stone-and-shingle lodge. But there are pockets of modern artistry in northwest Connecticut, and this home in the tiny town of Falls Village has an especially artistic pedigree. American muralist Ezra Winter designed the main house and studio for himself in 1932. The estate sold to two sisters, both artists, after Winter passed away in 1949: Dorothy Lathrop was a Caldecott-Award-winning illustrator; Gertrude Lathrop, a sculptor. Since then Winterhouse, as it is called, has been featured in Dwell magazine and was named Home of the Year in 2002 by Architecture magazine. The lofty interiors of the main house feature window walls, gorgeous wood paneling, four bedrooms and three bathrooms (plus two half bathrooms). The studio offers exceptional natural light with 30-foot ceilings and 24-foot windows. And the property spans 82 acres with gardens, hiking trails, a waterfall and stone walls. Rebecca Ward of Klemm Real Estate in Lakeville, Connecticut, has the listing. 860-435-6789.

In-Town Tudor
Bronxville, NY

It’s not always easy to find a sizable home that offers both privacy and the convenience of being right in town—especially in Westchester’s closest-in villages, such as the highly coveted Bronxville, which is just a 32-minute ride into Grand Central on MetroNorth. So we’re charmed by this beautifully restored circa-1927 Tudor with 4,800 square feet on three floors, including a library with a fireplace, a sunroom with French doors onto the terrace, and six bedrooms, including a master suite complete with a sitting and dressing room. Maria Wein Devaney of Houlihan Lawrence in Bronxville has the listing. 914-337-5400.  

Georgian Compound
Pelham Manor, NY

This 10,000-square-foot Georgian was built in 1952 and was home to New York City real-estate developer Benny Caiola until he died last year, according to The Wall Street Journal. The 2.39-acre property is large for the compact town of Pelham Manor and accommodates all kinds of pleasures and pastimes: There’s a pool and pool house and a car collector’s dream of a garage, accommodating 28 vehicles. The interiors feature an expansive great room, a library and a kitchen (all with access to the patio and pool), five bedrooms, including a fabulous master suite addition with two bathrooms, a gym and sitting room. It’s listed with Mary Quintin of McClellan Sotheby’s International Realty in Pelham. 914-806-2454.