INSIDE STORIES BEHIND AREA
REAL ESTATE DEALS (continued)
NEW CANAAN ESTATE
The appeal of this English country manor estate is that it looks entirely handcrafted, from the rough-hewn stonework in the 5,000-square-foot basement, which includes a stone wine grotto, to the antique timbers gracing the vaulted ceilings in the two-story library suite. And it took quite a few hands to craft the 18,000-square-foot interiors—including those of the head woodcarver for the Windsor Castle Restoration project, an artisan who spent five years working on two fireplace surrounds. Although its charms are too numerous to describe here, the most extraordinary space is the Great Hall, with 40-foot ceilings, a nine-foot-high fireplace and a "minstrel's balcony" that's perfect for that choir you hire at Christmas.
The second most appealing thing about this listing: the price has dropped by $8 million since it came on the market for more than $12 million a couple of years ago. Call it a victim of bad timing: 2008 wasn't the best time to sell a manse of this magnitude and the property eventually went into foreclosure. It's now owned by Webster Bank. Good news for buyers: Banks are always the most motivated of sellers and they tend to offer advantageous loans, too.
As if anyone needed further incentive to tour the place, the home is now "dressed to sell" by renowned L.A. stager Meridith Baer, who has worked on properties bought and sold by the likes of Halle Berry, Harrison Ford, Reese Witherspoon and Brad Pitt. Baer and her team of designers and stagers pull from the company's 45,000 square-foot warehouse of furnishings and accessories. To see her work gracing this New Canaan estate, get in touch with Bonnie Paige of William Raveis Exceptional Properties in Southport. (203) 331-7512.
Built in 1867, this farmhouse is the oldest home in the beachy enclave called Bell Island, part of charming Rowayton. That means that Bell's first family had their pick of plots and they chose well: The pretty home is on a corner lot with expansive water views from most rooms, along with deeded access to a private beach, jetty and mooring. Consider it a case of the best of all worlds: You get to live at the beach but you're within walking distance of Rowayton Village—itself less than an hour by train to New York City. You also get the look of an antique but with renovated interiors, now measuring 2,811 square feet. In all, the home offers four bedrooms, three bathrooms (plus one half bathroom) and a wonderful kitchen opening onto a large deck overlooking Wilson Cove, part of Long Island Sound. It's listed with Kristi Law of William Raveis in Darien, CT. (203) 655-1423.