An arched, covered porch with a decorative transom and built-in benches serves as a portal to the past and the present -- from Talleyrand to Tallman -- and into a dream home at 105 Meeting House Lane in the heart of the Greenfield Hill area.
The updated Antique Georgian house sits on a street lined with pink and white dogwood trees directly across from Timothy Dwight Park and diagonally across from Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, giving its residents a front row seat for the annual Dogwood Festival each spring.
The house is on a level corner lot of 2.49 acres that also encompasses a new in-ground heated saltwater swimming pool and spa, professional landscaping including specimen plantings and manicured shrubbery, and a large renovated antique barn, circa 1900, with an apartment and eight vehicle bays that are ideal for the car collector. The rear bluestone terraced patio has an outdoor fireplace and numerous sitting areas.
A white picket fence lines the front of the acreage on Meeting House Lane and a stone wall borders the portion of the property along Hillside Road. A stone structure, attached to the main house by a breezeway, houses the family room with a floor-to-ceiling fireplace, cathedral ceiling and hand-hewn beams.
Built by Zalmon Bradley in 1750 in the saltbox tradition, the 9,700-square-foot house was transformed in a recent renovation and remodeling project by Paul Tallman Builders and Baker Batchelder Architects to achieve the present Georgian design. During the renovation, the house was raised to build a new foundation and finished lower level. All of the floors, systems, windows, and walls were replaced to bring it up to today's high standards.
The early history of the house includes its ownership by the Baldwin family until 1870 and visits to the house by notable people referred to in an article published in 1929 as "a cluster of geniuses" who were often in Greenfield Hill, among them Timothy Dwight, Joel Barlow and Barlow's brother-in-law Abraham Baldwin, whose brother owned the house.
A native of Guilford, Abraham Baldwin was a founding father and contributing draft writer of the U.S. Constitution. A graduate of Yale University, Baldwin was the founder and first president of the University of Georgia, the first state-chartered public institution of higher education in the country.
Influential European diplomat Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand, the minister of affairs under Napoleon, is said to have dined in the Meeting House Lane residence, according to Elizabeth Rose, the Fairfield Museum and History Center's library director.
The house exterior features white clapboard with a bit of a twist. It gives the appearance of batten board, and it has dark green paneled shutters. The house has a center hall foyer and wide-planked wood floors. The formal living room has a grass wall-covering and a fireplace with a red brick firebox in a herringbone pattern, honed granite surround and wood mantle with flush, fluted columns.
In the formal dining room there is a similar fireplace and the walls are a bright aqua blue, a color that's in vogue today but also harkens back to the 18th century, Rose said. "In colonial times they used bright colors. It was a way of brightening up rooms. People tend to think they were more drab than they were," Rose said.
It would be challenging to catalog all of the many features of this house, room by room. Suffice it to say there is much for the next owners to see and enjoy. Highlights include the large bar room behind the living room with a wet bar, built-in bookshelves and glass shelves for storage of stemware and granite counters; the gourmet Carrera marble kitchen with center island, eat-in area, built-in Miele espresso, cappuccino and coffee maker, and high-end appliances; the mudroom with Travertine floor, laundry closet, coat cubbies, closets and half bath; and a large, temperature-controlled wine cellar with a red brick floor in a basket-weave pattern. There is a full laundry room on the second floor.
The main house features five bedrooms, all en suite, with a separate wing for the master, which has its own fireplace, spacious walk-in closet, dressing room, and radiant heat floors in the marble bath.
The apartment in the barn has a kitchen, bedroom, living room, laundry room and full bath. Above it is a 1,500-square-foot loft with a half bath suitable for entertaining, storage, a home office or art studio.
ABOUT THIS HOUSE
TYPE: Antique Georgian
ADDRESS: 105 Meeting House Lane
NUMBER OF ROOMS: 13
AMENITIES: beach rights, corner lot, barn, guest apartment, in-ground saltwater swimming pool and spa, 2.49-acre level property, terraced bluestone patio, across from Timothy Dwight Park and Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, wine cellar, exercise room, insulated windows, five fireplaces, security system, nine-foot-plus ceilings, central vacuums, audio system, French doors, gourmet kitchen, partially fenced, wood fence, stone wall, storm windows, professional landscaping, formal flower beds, open lawn, front and rear staircases, mudroom
OTHER INFORMATION: five bedrooms, six full and two half baths, attached three-car garage plus detached barn with eight vehicle bays, full mostly finished basement, zoned gas hot air heat, zoned central air conditioning, laundry/utility room, breezeway, walk-up attic, slate roof over one structure, wood shingle roof over main house, hardwood floors and wall-to-wall carpeting, septic system, public water
SCHOOLS: Dwight Elementary, Tomlinson Middle, Fairfield Ludlowe High
TAX RATE: 23.93 mills