Inside Stories Behind Connecticut Real Estate Deals
From a Greenwich compound nearly 10-acres big to a unique windmill cottage in Essex, we've got the 411 on the best in Connecticut real estate.
"I haven’t been this optimistic since 2006,” says Paul Breunich, president and CEO of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty, about the local real estate market. He points to both “soft” metrics, such as increased consumer confidence, as well as actual sales figures—in Fairfield County, for instance, closings are up 21 percent year to date as compared to 2012, with pending sales up an unprecedented 81 percent. Inventory levels have also improved, giving sellers an advantage they haven’t had in years: The number of listings on the Fairfield County market dropped 16 percent as compared to 2012 and was down 23 percent along the shoreline and 18 percent in Litchfield County. This increase in demand means that buyers might feel more pressure to make offers at or above the asking price—and to not let the dog days of summer melt their resolve to find their dream home. Here are some of the dreamiest currently on the market. See you in September!
Picture Perfect This circa-1941 Greenwich home sits on 10-acre grounds that feature a pond, a pool, a tennis court, a guesthouse and a studio cottage. Marijane Bates Hvolbeck of Sotheby’s International Realty in Greenwich has the $9,750,000 listing. 203-983-3832.
This nearly 10-acre Greenwich property starts with a sweeping private drive that leads over a stone bridge, past a pretty pond and into a landscaped cobblestone courtyard. This time of year, the exteriors seem purpose-built for outdoor entertaining. There’s a stone terrace around the free-form pool and spa, a tennis court with a shaded viewing area, rolling lawns and gracious gardens. Inside the 9,638-square-foot main house are five ensuite bedrooms and a master suite with two bathrooms and a private terrace with a fountain. The circa-1941 home also offers a paneled library and a 3,000-bottle wine cellar. On the property: a two-bedroom guesthouse and a studio cottage. Marijane Bates Hvolbeck of Sotheby’s International Realty in Greenwich has the listing. 203-983-3832.
Housing Trend Report
CTC&G hosted a panel on home trends at a recent Coldwell Banker Previews annual meeting at the Clarke showroom in Norwalk. Moderated by CTC&G Editorial Director D.J. Carey, the panel featured Veronica Campbell of Deane, Inc.; Sean Clarke of Clarke; Fran Mooney of Benjamin Moore for Ring's End; and Burt DeMarche of Laurel Rock Company. What did we find out?
> Clean-lined kitchens and baths are in demand.
“The Connecticut traditional style is pushing the limits and becoming more transitional—homeowners appreciate the classics and want to streamline it while still respecting the integrity of the home’s architecture,” said Campbell.
> Say goodbye to formal dining rooms and living rooms.
“In older traditional homes, walls are getting knocked down, and the kitchen is opening up,” said Clarke. “Kitchens are command central—where you live and entertain.” Designated niches for studying, entertaining, cooking, etc. can be defined by color or lighting. “It’s challenging, but colors can help differentiate the spaces to create smooth transitions,” noted Mooney.
> White remains hot in the kitchen.
But it’s more of a “beefy white” with added texture, natural finishes (stone and wood), polished metals and unique accessories that allow homeowners to personalize their space. “One of the most beautiful white kitchens—a national award-winning Deane kitchen—had a ceiling painted blue, and it had a huge impact,” said Clarke.
> “Green” keeps growing.
“We are seeing green roofs and green walls used for vegetables and herbs,” said DeMarche. “There’s a real family focus, and we’re doing more raised beds for clients’ kids to grow vegetables, and green walls that can grow herbs inside all winter long and then move outside.”
> New neutrals include orange and…mauve?
“People are much more comfortable with orange, but it’s moving into corals and peaches,” said Mooney. “And we’re seeing a more feminine feel coming through grayed-out rose tones.” Even the garden is getting in on the act: Clients are pushing for boxwood hedges and making requests for all-white gardens to accentuate the architecture, according to DeMarche. “Color punches out in the containers,” said DeMarche. —Catriona Branca
Just Chill The pool house at this New Canaan property offers a modern counterpoint to the elegant, circa-2005 main house offering six bedrooms and 11 bathrooms. Karen Sneirson of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in New Canaan has the $6,995,000 listing. 203-249-0280.
New Canaan Colonial
Come August, the best place to chill in the entire state might be the chic pool house alongside this New Canaan home. Modern in style, the structure’s glass-enclosed living room has two window walls and a fireplace built into a floor-to-ceiling stone wall. There’s also an expansive pool terrace and four-and-a-half acres of pretty lawns and gardens. By contrast, the circa-2005, nearly 12,000-square-foot main house is a more traditional white-clapboard and stone Colonial, offering six bedrooms, 11 bathrooms and bucolic views over Laurel Reservoir. Karen Sneirson of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in New Canaan has the listing. 203-249-0280.
Award Winning For the renovation of this New Canaan antique, fixtures and finishes from the original circa-1905 home were enhanced with new additions such as a mahogany-paneled library and fabulous kitchen. It’s listed for $6,995,000 with Mary Higgins of Halstead Property in New Canaan. 203-966-7800.
This circa-1905 home underwent a thorough renovation in 2008, winning the Home Builder’s Association of Connecticut’s Best Remodeled Home Over $3 Million award. Antique features were preserved, starting with its gracious front porch and door, with a traditional fan light, and the domed ceiling in the front hallway, now painted to resemble the night sky. New rooms include the mahogany-paneled library and large kitchen with two fireclay farmhouse sinks, a mahogany island and an adjacent butler’s pantry with a hammered-nickel sink. There are now five bedrooms, including a master suite with a private balcony, along with a great room, a home office, a wine cellar and a home gym. On the grounds: a pool, an outdoor kitchen, a fireplace and an expansive bluestone terrace. It’s listed with Mary Higgins of Halstead Property in New Canaan. 203-966-7800.
Welcome Home This elegant Westport estate offers 10,461 square feet of luxe living, including seven bedrooms, a home gym, a theater and, on the 3.49 acres, a pool, spa and pool house. Sue Lieberman of the Riverside Realty Group in Westport has the $4.5 million listing. 203-221-9876.
Stone and Shingle Estate
This gated estate offers the best of both worlds: It’s conveniently located close to Westport town center on three-and-a-half private acres that feature a lovely pool, spa and pool house. The four-level, 10,461-square-foot interiors boast great spaces for family fun. It opens on a two-story entrance hall with a grand, curved staircase. The kitchen flows to an expansive family room with a stone fireplace, a butler’s pantry and a banquet-sized dining room. There’s also a cherry-paneled library with coffered ceilings and, on the lower level, a home gym, theater, arts-and-crafts room, and au pair suite. Upstairs, there are an additional six bedrooms, including a master suite with a fireplace and a private sitting room and balcony. Sue Lieberman of the Riverside Realty Group in Westport has the listing. 203-221-9876.
Nod Hill Estate
Here’s a property for serious equestrians on 20 acres in Avon, with views onto the Farmington River. It boasts an Olympic riding ring, as well as a nine-stall horse barn and four paddocks. Comforts for creatures of the two-legged sort start with the impressive, 5,403-square-foot home with four ensuite bedrooms, including a master suite with a fireplace and cathedral ceilings. The circa-1936 estate also offers a pool, gardens and a wine cellar. It’s listed with Lisa Sweeney of Coldwell Banker in Avon. 860-674-0300.
Spin Cycle This circa-1967 windmill-style cottage in Essex has two bedrooms, a bathroom and a living room, with gorgeous views of the Connecticut River. Colette Harron of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in Essex has the $1,925,000 listing. 203-304-2391.
The breeziest listing this month has got to be this quaint windmill located on Foxboro Road in Essex, directly on the Connecticut River. Originally built as a guest cottage, it has the electrified paddles—properly called sails—that do actually spin. And there’s plenty of room to expand the home, which currently measures just 840 square feet with two bedrooms, a bathroom and a living room with a wet bar. Floor-to-ceiling windows capture water views, as does the deck that entirely encircles the windmill. The property also features lovely lawns that roll down to the river, as well as access to a jogging and bike path. Colette Harron of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in Essex has the $1,925,000 listing. 203-304-2391.