Inside stories behind area real estate deals

What comes to mind when you think of the ultimate family home? A kitchen with an island expansive enough for family dinners? An adjoining family room with a fireplace? Ensuite bedrooms for all?

What comes to mind when you think of the ultimate family home?
A kitchen with an island expansive enough for family dinners? An adjoining family room with a fireplace? Ensuite bedrooms for all? Places for play inside and out—including a pool, a beach and a sports court of some sort? This month, we’re featuring listings that have some or all of these amenities and so much more. Welcome home!

Darien Beach House
$8.3 million

This circa-2003 house was built directly on a wide sweep of sandy beach along Cove Harbor. The home opens onto a dramatic two-story foyer with an ornate double staircase and a wall of windows overlooking the water. The kitchen was also designed to take in the views and flows into an octagonal dining area with glass on all sides. And all along the water side of the 6,400-square-foot home are covered porches and—off the master suite—a private balcony with a year-round outdoor shower. There are an additional four bedrooms and a total of seven bathrooms. The one-acre grounds also feature a pretty pool and pool terrace, a tennis court, an outdoor fireplace and a gazebo. Becky Munro of Halstead Property in Darien has the listing. 203-656-6511.

Walk It Out
A measure of family friendliness that’s gaining favor is the “walk score,” as rated by, which advocates for communities that facilitate less driving and more walking. As a town, Rowayton scores better than average with its pedestrian-friendly village center and its system of sidewalks, which are especially well used around the train station, with commuters strolling from home to station and back again. A standout listing in town is the circa-1790 Gershom Raymond home—located within walking distance to shops, the beach and the harbor—that was entirely rebuilt by HOBI-award-winning builder Frani Taylor. The now-3,200-square-foot home offers three bedrooms and three bathrooms. Gwen Alexis of Halstead Property lists the property for $1,875,000. 203-858-4742.


Stoney brook Farm
$7 million

Pretty, posh and pastoral, Bridgewater is “gentleman farmer” country, where sprawling spreads feature classic Colonial manses with all the fixings. This 28-acre property, completely surrounded by protected land, is no exception with its 1,500 feet of private waterfront on Lake Lillinonah, renovated boathouse, waterfalls, open meadows, rolling lawns and mature gardens. The 6,500-square-foot, circa-1800 main house was entirely renovated in 2006, so it boasts all-new everything, even while retaining the antique fireplaces—five in total—and wide floorboards, among other original fixtures. The property also offers guest quarters above the four-car garage and a new (but antique-looking) barn. Roger Saucy of Klemm Real Estate in Washington Depot has the listing. 203-788-7032.

The Gables
$4.5 million

The Wall Street Journal recently cited early-20th-century architect Ehrick Rossiter as red hot—at least as far as long-deceased designers go—with prospective buyers asking for him by name. Rossiter has a huge concentration of homes constructed in the tiny town of Washington, which range in aesthetic from shingle style to Queen-Anne and Victorian. Called The Gables, this circa-1912 home is Rossiter’s version of Tudor style, built for a prominent physician to accommodate family, friends, house parties and the staff required to make it all come off in style. The nearly 8,000-square-foot main house has eight bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, as well as separate servant quarters and an additional four bedrooms in the antique guesthouse. On the 10-acre grounds is a swimming pool, a Har-Tru tennis court and a pond. Kathryn Clair of Litchfield Hills’ Sotheby’s International Realty has the listing. 860-868-6926.

Wilton Compound

Pretty Drum Hill Road has the look of a pastoral byway—lined with expansive estates and open meadows—but is also an easy drive to schools, town and train. And this 7,260-square-foot home has all the amenities that families need: six ensuite bedrooms, a family room off the kitchen, a large playroom that steps out onto the back yard and an in-law apartment with a separate entrance. For the grownups, there are formal living and dining rooms—with a wet bar separating the two—a library with a fireplace and lower-level media and fitness rooms. On the private four acres: a pool and terrace and perennial gardens. Ileana Barns-Slavin and Mary Beth Stow, both of William Raveis, share the listing. 203-246-7215 and 203-247-2202.

Westport Victorian

The newly cool Saugatuck neighborhood is one of Westport’s most convenient: It’s a three-minute drive to the train station and you can walk into town from the homes along Imperial Avenue, where this grand Victorian sits on a half acre. People call it the Hydrangea House for its profusion of blooms, according to listing broker Karen Scott of KMS Partners, Coldwell Banker Westport-Riverside. And although it was constructed in 2002, it blends in with the other Victorians along the road, with its turrets, cupola and wide and welcoming wraparound porch. Inside, find more period details including a custom-stenciled floor in the entryway, a barrel-ceiling formal dining room and a great room with a fireplace and nine-foot coffered ceilings. In all, the 5,544-square-foot interiors offer four ensuite bedrooms, including a stunning master suite with a fireplace. Scott can be reached at 203-613-9200.

Essex Antique
$1.1 million

What makes this pristine, circa-1727 Colonial friendly for families is that it is sited along Main Street in Essex, within walking distance of an excellent cafe, an ice cream place, the venerable Griswold Inn (check out the Inn’s antique tap room, where sea shanties are sung every Monday night) and the super-stylish Griswold Inn Store. The fully renovated, 2,076-square-foot home is famous for its sculpted boxwood hedges that form a fancy front courtyard. It offers three bedrooms and two bathrooms (plus one half bathroom) and on the .28-acre lot, a pool and gardens. Rick Weiner of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in Essex has the listing. 860-767-7488.