On the market: A regal Victorian keeps up with the times
In the close-knit Fairfield Woods neighborhood, an elegant 17-room Queen Anne Victorian mansion stands out among the typical residences of later construction, and much like Queen Anne would command respect from her royal subjects so, too, does this graceful dame.
The buttercream yellow, 5,152-square-foot house at 220 Farist Road was built circa 1894 and has retained its remarkable period architectural details, including grand-scale rooms, seven fireplaces — each one unique — stained-glass windows, bull’s-eye moldings and other decorative millwork, two turrets, pocket doors, original floors and an attractive staircase with notable newel posts. One room features a late 19th century safe that is more decorative than functional these days, but it is quite beautiful with its hand-painted scenes of birds and flowers on its doors.
Yet the house was updated for today’s lifestyle and is completely comfortable and livable by today’s standards. It includes a flexible layout with a circular flow on the first and second floors, ceilings of at least nine feet, mudroom, large laundry room and a substantial kitchen renovation with a price tag of about $65,000.
This historic landmark, known as the “Joel Farist House,” is named for a notable steel manufacturer (1832-1904). A historic document, provided by the real estate agent, offered a brief history of Farist’s life in the United States. He arrived here at age 12 from his native Sheffield, England, and found success in the steel industry, first in other states and in Connecticut beginning in 1860. His Farist Steel Co. was in Windsor Locks where “During the Civil War, his notable mechanical skill was utilized in the manufacture of gun barrel and bayonet steel for the United States government.”
According to the document, “He displayed notable power in managing men and maintaining harmony among them. They recognized that he was ever considerable of their interests and rights and this attitude awakened their loyalty and regard … Throughout his entire career he stood as a man among men, honored and respected by all,” much like his house is respected today for its historical construction, elegant appearance and notable amenities.
The house has a 1,900-square-foot, wide wrap around porch and a porte cochere. On its more than a half-acre parcel there is a semi-circular driveway and a large circular cutting garden, which includes hydrangeas, roses, phlox and other colorful perennials.
Inside, every fireplace is different, each one with a different marble or decorative tiled surrounds, mantles and hearths. The paneled library has the one working fireplace.
ABOUT THIS HOUSE
TYPE: Queen Anne Victorian
ADDRESS: 220 Farist Road
NUMBER OF ROOMS: 17
FEATURES: historic house, minutes to shopping and restaurants in Stratfield Village and Black Rock Turnpike, seven fireplaces (only one in working order), long and wide wrap-around covered porch, long balcony on the second floor, stained-glass windows, turrets, third floor in-law apartment, stone foundation, walking distance to Jennings and Fairfield Woods schools and the Fairfield Woods branch of the public library, new chef’s kitchen, front and rear staircases, semi-circular driveway, porte cochere, cutting flower garden, six bedrooms, four full baths
SCHOOLS: Jennings Elementary, Fairfield Woods Middle, Fairfield Warde High
MILL RATE: 24.79
On the second floor there is a long, open balcony that can be accessed from several rooms. The master bedroom suite has one of the fireplaces. It also has his-and-hers closets. On the third floor there is a large, flexible set of rooms that could serve as a family or media room and more, or as an au pair or in-law suite. It has a kitchen, bedroom and full bath.
This house is conveniently located within walking distance to schools, stores and restaurants.