Inside Stories Behind Area Real Estate Deals

Will March come in like a lion or a lamb? This is being written during the aftermath of a blizzard, so daffodils seem a long way off. But signs do point to a balmy spring market. The good vibes started in 2012, a year that saw a nearly 20-percent increase in the sale of single-family homes over 2011, with monthly sales hitting a three-year high in November. Some Connecticut markets improved on the national stats, with Fairfield County enjoying a 31-percent increase in fourth-quarter sales volume in 2012 as compared to 2011, the Shoreline, a 25-percent increase year over year. There’s a mixed bag of contributing factors, all favorable. The consumer confidence index is now at its highest level since February 2008, prompting buyers to finally take advantage of low interest rates and asking prices. Plus, some of the market’s older inventory has sold or been pulled, with fabulous new listings cropping up every week. Here are a few of our favorites—each one with a renovation story to tell, in keeping with the theme of this issue.

Round Hill Renovation

Once a carriage house, this Greenwich home now offers 5,106 square feet of luxe interiors. We love the grand kitchen with limestone counters and full-scale wine cellar, as well as the domed-ceiling garden room with views onto a pretty terrace. There are also four bedrooms and three bathrooms (plus one half bathroom), including a gracious master suite with his-and-hers dressing areas. On the 3.62-acre grounds are extensive gardens, a koi pond and open lawns. Marilynne Stratton of Sotheby’s International Realty has the listing. 203-618-3107.

Ehrick Rossiter Estate
$3.5 million

This wedding cake of an estate is in the town of Litchfield on an avenue lined with some of Northwest Connecticut’s loveliest homes—offering the ease of living close to town, as well as the privacy of 1.33 landscaped acres. It was built in 1898 by architect Ehrick Rossiter, who spared no expense when designing country homes for the financiers and captains of industry of his era. The antique details have been lovingly restored by the home’s current owners, including ornate leaded-glass windows, coffered ceilings and an impressive, three-story staircase. In all, the 7,144-square-foot home offers seven bedrooms and five bathrooms (plus two half bathrooms), along with a wood-paneled billiards room and a fitness center. Kathryn Clair of Sotheby’s International Realty has the listing. 860-868-6926.

Here’s an 11,000-square-foot home in Wilton that was purpose-built for fun from the regulation-size indoor basketball court to the sprawling swimming pool with a “mountain slide” that drops down from a landscaped bluff. Along with hoops, the basement also offers a massage room, a climbing wall, a billiards room, a wine-tasting room, an art room for the kids and a plush home theater that seats 12. But wait, there’s more: The current owners, who have seven children, put in an authentic-looking, fifties-style diner, with red booths and bar stools, a juke box and full kitchen with a milkshake maker. More outdoor fun on the 4.5-acre grounds: a tennis court, an outdoor kitchen and a pool and pool terrace with a spa tub. Pamela Cole of Realty Seven in Wilton lists the home for $6.9 million. 203-223-2182.

Coleytown Renovation

Coleytown Road is Westport at its most bucolic. The lots tend to be larger and woodsier than those closer to the town center, and a lovely stretch of the Saugatuck River rolls through the neighborhood. Coleytown is also Mr. Newman’s neighborhood—the long-time home of late actor Paul and his widow Joanne Woodward. Like the Newman’s place, this listing is a true compound, with a pool, sauna, jacuzzi, tennis court and paddle tennis court on the 3.1-acre grounds. The current owners renovated the home’s interiors, transforming the dark and confusing circa-1964 layout and decor into bright, modern and open spaces. For starters, they converted a sunken, padded-wall music room that’s just steps from the kitchen into a lovely family room with a stone hearth and a wall of windows overlooking the grounds. The couple also created a great room with soaring beamed ceilings, another fireplace and a wet bar. And the dining room features fantastic beams and wood paneling. In all, the 7,404-square-foot home offers seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms. Andrew Whiteley of the Premier Homes Division of Al Filippone and Associates in Fairfield has the listing. 203-258-1595.

Wilton Renovation

The owners of this handsome home have conducted renovations that have rolled through nearly every room of the house. Today it’s a fabulous family home with spaces for privacy, entertaining and fun. The family room, for instance, has a floor-to-ceiling fireplace. There’s also a solarium with a wet bar and a renovated kitchen featuring custom butternut-wood cabinetry, Thermador double ovens and cooktop, and a Sub-Zero refrigerator. Upstairs find five bedrooms, including a recently renovated master suite with vaulted ceilings and a fireplace. Just as impressive are the expansive gardens, with rolling lawns, a gazebo and abundant irises, hydrangeas, hybrid and wild roses, and lilacs. The 3.1-acre grounds also boast a pool, hot tub and tennis court. Theresa Blinder of William Raveis in Wilton has the listing. 203-858-7947.

Redding Antique

Sarah Kaplan, the owner of the super-stylish Dovecote boutique in Westport, once owned this home. In the November 2005 issue, CTC&G detailed her transformation of the former cobbler’s cottage’s mazelike interiors into a cool showcase for the Dovecote look: a mix of antiques and mid-century modern furnishings with a palette that ranges from burlap brown to vibrant fuchsia. Kaplan departed to Easton a few years ago—renovating another antique home there—having sold her Redding place. Now, it’s on the market again, for a priced-to-sell $699,000. On the 1.51 acres: abundant perennial gardens and a pool and pool house. Laura Freed Ancona of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in Ridgefield has the listing. 203-733-7053.