On the Market: Fairfield’s magical Cow Money Barn
Published 9:15 am, Sunday, November 6, 2016
FAIRFIELD — Cow Money Lodge is an unusual name for a house and its accompanying Cow Money Barn. Then again, the updated antique colonial house and “magical” barn at 2860 Bronson Road in lower Greenfield Hill are quite unusual.
The house was built by Jonathan Middlebrook in the late 18th century and later became part of the Bronson Estate. Local shoemaker Hezekiah Banks purchased the house from Middlebrook and used the upstairs part of the left wing for his cobbler shop. According to a document provided by Laurie Lamarre, curator of exhibitions for the Fairfield Museum and History Center, “Mrs. Bronson bought the house from Mr. Banks and called it Cow Money Lodge because the money which was received from the Verna Herd went into this place.”
The 3,747-square-foot house is on a 1.3-acre property at the corner of Bronson and Verna Hill roads. According to historic records construction began in 1767 and was completed in 1770. One room was added in the 1800s and is now the dining room. A 1950s-era addition gave the house a large screened sun room.
A more substantial addition was constructed on the back end in 2014 creating a modern-day kitchen while seamlessly blending it into the vintage structure. Award-winning professional builders and designers, including local architect Jack Franzen, reimagined this antique gem “to showcase period details through a modern lens,” said the owner, who refers to the house as an “impeccably restored and elegantly appointed antique jewel box.”
Much of the house still has wide-planked wood floors and hand-hewn exposed beams. Three of the fireplaces are original to the house, including an oversized one in the keeping room. Chances are this was the original kitchen.
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Conversely, the stereo system uses Bluetooth and connects televisions with state-of-the-art sound, as well as iPods. The dining room ceiling was reinforced to hold the weight of the chandelier, and 3M sunlight window pane with UV protection was added to some windows.
The update imbued this house with luxurious avant garde design features and a footprint that evokes a European way of life. There are custom ceiling metallic finishes in the foyer and dining room. In the foyer, living room and stairwells there are Venetian plaster walls.
The custom-designed English-style kitchen features bespoke cabinetry, high end appliances - among them a six-burner Viking Professional dual-fuel range with a griddle and warming drawer, marble counters, cathedral ceiling with exposed beams, center island topped with butcher block and yellow brick backsplash in a herringbone pattern.
The butler’s pantry has a golf leaf ceiling, turquoise grass cloth in the upper cabinets, oval brass sink, wine refrigerator, and icemaker.
ABOUT THIS HOUSE
TYPE: Antique Colonial
ADDRESS: 2860 Bronson Road
NUMBER OF ROOMS: 11
FEATURES: barn and attached guest house, 1.3-acre level and gently sloping property, partially fenced, corner lot, surround sound, four fireplaces, large screened sun room, two-tiered slate patio, chicken coop, stone wall, paddock, shed, updated irrigation system, exterior lighting, front and back stairs, wood shingle roof, short walk to the Greenfield Hill green, convenient to town, four bedrooms in the main house, two bedrooms in the guest house, four full and two half baths in the main house
SCHOOLS: Dwight Elementary, Roger Ludlowe Middle, Fairfield Ludlowe High
TAX RATE: 25.45 mills
En route to the second floor through the front or rear stairs are decoratively painted handrails in antique bronze and blackened gild finishes. The master and oversized dressing room feature millwork design by Franzen. Although the master fireplace is not original, it adds to the 18th century ambience.
Outside, in some parts of the timeless bucolic property the original garden plans and stonewalls have been preserved. The two-tiered patio is finished with local Connecticut bay oyster shells along the perimeter.
The barn is not original to the property. An article dated Thursday, June 7, 1894, also provided by Lamarre, talks about the destruction of the original barn in a fire the night before. The existing barn was copied and built about 125 years ago in the old style of the original. The homeowner calls the barn a “magical space.” It has not been used for farm animals for decades, rather it has become a party barn.
“The parties practically throw themselves, and the barn kitchen and bathroom only adds to the hostess’ ease,” the current owner said. It’s ideal for parties, musical concerts, artist’s studio, or car collector, and has ample storage in the connected sheds and carriage or guest house, where there are two bedrooms, a kitchen and living or office space.
The barn has the added benefit of shielding the extensive backyard from the road, adding to the site’s privacy. The selection of trees and shrubbery provide an artist’s palette of color, and there are views of Long Island Sound when autumn leaves fall.
“Paradise found in the heart and convenience of the Hill,” the homeowner said.