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September 2010


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REAL ESTATE

Deeds & Don'ts
By Lily Oliver

INSIDE STORIES BEHIND AREA
REAL ESTATE DEALS

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HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN
The economic downturn took all the fun out of open houses, reducing the offerings at those once-festive events to little more than a walk-through and a mini bottle of Poland Spring. So we were thrilled with the open house produced for the New Canaan home of former jetBlue CEO David Neeleman. To welcome this French chateau-style manse to the market there was a Rolls parked out front, French maids in short skirts, music playing, athletes on the indoor basketball court and, throughout the 13,500-square-foot interior, a return to the kind of joie de vivre that's been sadly manqué for a few years now. The $10.9 million property, called Chateau Fleur-de-Lis, is listed with Lynne Leonard of Lynne Leonard Realty, LLC in New Canaan. 203-966-7738.

 

You're back to work. So am I. But the real estate market seems to have hit the snooze button and resumed its summer slumber, delaying the start of the fall selling season. No matter: Brokers report that an encouraging number of new listings have hit the market—and at prices more in line with reality than in seasons past. Finally, brokers say, sellers have accepted that circa-2005 peak-of-the-market "comparables" are no longer the time and place to look when calculating today's asking prices.

So are the stars aligned for a strong season? Let's see. We've got great listings. Motivated sellers. Good prices. Low interest rates. What are you waiting for? Here are seven must-see homes, including two circa-1929 bold-faced-name estates, a Wilton antique and even an open house featuring French maids in short skirts

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GRACIOUS GEORGIAN (click photo for larger view)

The Auchincloss Estate
Southport
$14.3 million

The first of our two Southport estates is a red-brick Georgian built in 1929 for the widow of Hugh Auchincloss, Emma Jennings Auchincloss. With Standard Oil money running through her veins—her father, a dry-goods merchant turned gold-prospector, went on to direct the company— Mrs. Auchincloss spared no expense in designing a home that's still one of Southport's loveliest. And the location is unmatched, set on 4.2 acres along posh Sasco Hill with 180-degree views of the Long Island Sound, the links-style greens of the Country Club of Fairfield and bustling Southport Harbor. The 10,000-square-foot estate now features a pool with fountains, a tennis court, terraced gardens and a 1,100-square-foot cottage. Inside, you'll find 18 rooms, all designed for grand and gracious entertaining: a reception hall, a summer dining room, a conservatory and something called a sunset room. In addition, there are six bedrooms, six bathrooms and three half bathrooms. It's listed with Anne Estelle of William Raveis Real Estate in Southport. (203) 454-6336.

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