Deeds and Dont’s
Inside stories behind area real estate deals
Despite hip-high snowdrifts and foot-long icicles, signs of spring are cropping up everywhere—and we’re not talking robins and daffodils. Plainly put, for Realtors spring means sales. And by Groundhog’s Day, Greenwich had already inked its first $10-million
deal with the sale of a Round Hill home. Westport wasn’t far behind with the sale of one of our favorite waterfront homes called the Sandbar, which closed at $6 million. Built by the owner of the super-stylish Westport home décor shop, Bungalow, Sandbar had been listed at $7.8 million. The biggest sale to date in Litchfield County was the Roxbury dwelling designed by Juan Montoya—nominated by this column as the best barn-style listing of 2010 (asking price was $8.9 million, closing price not yet public). Meanwhile, brokers report that after a slow—and snowy, as you may well recall—start, traffic is now brisk at the open house events that are the hallmark of the season. Here, our tour of the best and brightest listings to date, in both Connecticut and Westchester. Happy spring!
Mill pond Farm
Bedford, New York
For four generations, this circa-1700 estate has been home to the Kellogg family, including Francis Kellogg, whose career included posts at the U.N. and the CIA and an ambassadorship under Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. When not plying any of these trades, the ambassador spent his leisure time as a gentleman farmer, raising miniature Dexter cattle, aquatic birds and exotic chickens. He also invested in the property, converting a circa-1713 gristmill, for instance, into a two-bedroom guest cottage, commissioning glamorous Hollywood decorator Billy Baldwin to do the interiors. Today, the nearly 25-acre grounds also feature a pool and pool pavilion, a stable and farm buildings, the mill pond and waterfall, and a three-bedroom caretaker’s cottage. In 1931, the Kelloggs tapped architectural firm McKim, Mead & White to create an addition to the main house, which now measures 4,500 square feet. The interiors also offer fabulous spaces for entertaining, including both a summer and winter dining room, plus five bedrooms and five bathrooms. Daniel Ginnel of Ginnel Real Estate in Bedford has the listing. (914) 234-9234, extension 117.
Conyers Farm Manse
One of the season’s grandest listings, this 17,000-square-foot home sits on nearly 22 acres in posh Conyers Farm, an enclave in backcountry Greenwich that last fall hosted President Obama at a $30,000-per-plate fundraiser. The event was held in the home of Richard Richman, who is in the news because he just donated $10 million to Columbia University. Other Conyers’ residents include producer Ron Howard, who attended the event, and the then-Republican gubernatorial candidate and former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon, who did not. If this sounds like your kind of crowd, then you’ll feel right at home amid the luxuries offered by this lovely listing, including a grand entrance hall, a barrel-vaulted dining hall with a fireplace and seven bedrooms with five full bathrooms (plus two half bathrooms). On the manicured grounds: a Har-Tru tennis court, a pretty pool, terrace and pool house, and rolling lawns with specimen trees. Fran Ehrlich of Sotheby’s International Realty in Greenwich has the listing. (203) 618-3164.
Chappaqua, New York
Fancy getting off the train and coming home to a resort every night? This 20,000-square-foot Georgian manse offers both spa and sporting amenities, plus 87 private acres for when you really want to get away from it all. For active types, there’s a tennis court, an indoor basketball court, a billiard room and a lake and hiking trails. For sybarites, there’s an Infinity pool with a spa and slate-roofed pool house and a wine cellar. And just about anyone would enjoy the luxe interior appointments, including a two-story library, eight fireplaces, six bedrooms and nine full bathrooms (plus three half bathrooms). Stacy Levey of Houlihan Lawrence in Chappaqua has the listing. (914) 238-4766, extension 314.
In keeping with this month’s renovation theme, here’s a circa-1900 home that maintains its Colonial good looks while offering every amenity that a sophisticated—and sporty—modern family might require, including a free-form swimming pool, a hot tub, a sauna and basketball court on the 4.55-acre grounds. The entrance to the home is via an elegant circular drive, with terraced gardens leading up to the front door. The gracious, 6,264-square-foot interior includes six bedrooms and six bathrooms (four full, two half) with an additional two-bedroom and two-bathroom suite above the garage. Eileen Hanford of Halstead Property in Darien has the listing. (203) 656-6570.
Circa-1900 Renovated Barn
We’ve always been fans of the properties renovated and represented by broker Dennis Kyte, who has a passion for Litchfield County’s antique homes. This one, in Washington, has been fashioned from a barn, taking full advantage of the interior’s lofty spaces. The all-white great room, for instance, has soaring vaulted ceilings with a gallery-type space tucked along one end. The effect is SoHo meets the Berkshires: Instead of a weathered, rustic aesthetic, the space looks urban and polished. The gleaming-white kitchen—featuring marble counters, a fireplace and double Viking ovens—opens onto both a dining space and terraces. In all, the 3,743-square-foot home has three bedrooms, three bathrooms and sits on five-plus acres. Where you’ll find us when the weather warms: in the swank pool house overlooking the expansive pool and gardens. Kyte, of Litchfield Hills Sotheby’s International Realty in Washington, can be reached at (860) 868-6900.
Red Jacket Farm
In another nod to renovation, we bring you a glorious horse property that started life in the 1700s as a somewhat more humble farm. Newly renovated and expanded, the shingle-style home is built around its outdoor terraces, Infinity pool and barn-style pool house (that has its own lofty living room, featuring exposed beams and a fireplace). For the equestrian, the spread offers a 16-stall barn, equipped with a tack room, hayloft and office; meadows, paddocks and a riding ring; and a second barn with a conference room and additional offices. More outdoor amenities: a trout pond, a carriage house and a gatehouse. Back inside the thoroughly modern main house, the master suite, with a gorgeous marble fireplace, and two new guest bedrooms with ensuite baths, are on the second floor, accessible by elevator. There are four additional bedrooms in the old wing of the home with three more bathrooms (and one half bathroom). And for those of you who quail at the thought of maintaining this 20-acre compound, note that it comes equipped with a HomeLogic™ smart system you can program from computer or phone to control heating, cooling, lawn irrigation and more. The property is listed with Judy Auchincloss of Klemm Real Estate in Washington Depot. (860) 868-7313, extension 27.