On the Market: 5 Connecticut Homes with Invigorating Color Palettes
Inspired by the theme of this issue, we went shopping for listed homes with invigorating color palettes, only to find that houses prepped for sale are notable for their lack of color. The reason: Stagers tend toward muted hues, ranging from white to cream or—when they get really crazy—sand to greige. So the five we picked are the housing equivalent of exotic birds, offering welcome pops of color in an otherwise neutral landscape. And because February also starts open-house season, here’s an invitation: These interiors are even more vibrant viewed in person, so call your Realtor and take a tour.
Pure & Pale
Do dead-of-winter nights find you curled up with your laptop, lusting after Downton Abbey’s richly hued interiors (and Lady Mary’s Jazz-era dresses)? Well there’s a Downton-like listing on our side of the pond, yours for $75 million (one of the Lady’s wealthier suitors would come in handy here). Straddling the Connecticut/New York State line on 262 acres, the heart of the circa-1900 estate is a 20,000-square-foot, ivy-covered stone manor. It’s fronted by a courtyard embellished with maze-like topiary gardens, followed by a capacious entry hall with elaborate wrought iron doors and stair railings. The color palettes throughout the public rooms shift from pale pistachio to soft lavender to deeper blues, but our favorite’s found in the living room, with its mint walls and drapes, ivory coffered ceilings and magenta-striped settees. Called Hillendale, the spread also offers indoor and outdoor pools, a tennis court, a life-sized chessboard in the gardens and four staff residences for your very own Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes. Joseph Barbieri of Sotheby’s International Realty has the listing.
On a much smaller scale is an in-town Tudor, sited along Essex’s charming Main Street. Once the town library, the circa-1898 cottage now serves as a studio for fine arts photographer Kate Cordsen. Former runway model Cordsen has an eye for beauty and light—in her work, her Essex home (featured in this magazine in 2011) and her studio, now listed for $495,000. The leaded-glass door, painted powder blue, opens onto all-white, open-plan rooms, backdrops for the photographer’s moody nudes and landscapes. Leaded glass windows, high ceilings and restored hardwood floors are featured throughout the 1,439-square-foot space, which also offers a bluestone terrace on the just-under-an-acre lot. It’s listed with Colette Harron with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty.
Bold & Bright
In roxbury on the aptly named painter hill road, an antique colonial is the picture of prim propriety on the outside: Built in 1798, it has the classic white-clapboard façade typical of the era. Its painterly aspects kick off in the foyer and adjoining living room, both with robin’s-egg blue walls, accented by dark wide-board floors and pristine white woodwork. Belying its 200 years of age, the thoroughly renovated 4,237-square-foot interiors have a lofty feel, especially in the kitchen with its all-white cabinets and island, exposed beams and tomato-red pendant lamps. Upstairs, the master is painted a lovely lavender with one of the additional three bedrooms painted a Tiffany-box blue and another a vibrant orange. Like this house, the village of Roxbury has always been quiet on the outside but presumably quite lively behind closed doors. Its famous residents past and present include Arthur Miller (and his then-bride Marilyn Monroe), whose estate donated 100 acres to the Roxbury Land Trust, with acreage bordering Painter Hill Road. Miller/Monroe neighbors were William Styron and family with Gay Talese, Rex Reed, Dustin Hoffman, Stephen Sondheim and Candice Bushnell rounding out the cultured community. If this sounds like your kind of crowd, call broker Stacey Matthews, of the Matthews Group, who lists the 17.33-acre property for $2.7 million.
In Westport, a lodge-style listing for $3,695,000 features a palette inspired by the owners’ Asian and Southwest art collections. Built in 1944 on Old Hill, the renovated, now nearly 6,000-square-foot home features goldenrod, saffron, mango and claret-colored walls, accented by carved Indian columns, Shoji screens and bamboo and tatami details. One of the most striking rooms is the master bedroom with its cathedral ceilings lined with woven mats, a fireplace with a colorful tiled surround and handmade mahogany doors, along with a spa tub and a kitchen area with a wine cooler. Gail Zawacki of Coldwell Banker has the listing.
The Oysterman’s Row Historic District in Rowayton has always been a colorful neighborhood, populated by a salty mix of boat builders, crews, captains and, of course, oystermen. Today the color is conferred by the antique homes lining its streets, including one built in 1872 by naval officer William Cushman. Just listed for $2,950,000, the clapboard Colonial is painted a marine blue, with a slightly paler shade highlighting the cove shingles on the topmost gables. Renovated in 2011, the interiors now measure 6,307 square feet and offer six bedrooms and six bathrooms, including a pretty master suite with a fireplace. It lists with Christine Straden of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in Rowayton.
A version of this article appeared in the February 2016 issue of CTC&G (Connecticut Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Color Your World.