A touch of Hollywood on the market in Fairfield
FAIRFIELD — Hollywood glitterati once illuminated the three-acre estate at 828 Sasco Hill Road when British playwright and actor Noel Coward and his financial manager John C. Wilson spent summers there. They entertained many glamorous international theater and film stars and had a special party to welcome Vivian Leigh when she was chosen to play Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind.” House guests also included Sir Laurence Olivier and George Brent.
Today, the Hollywood stars may be gone but the glitter remains in the twinkling of the stars above — their view unobstructed by light pollution, and in the gleaming of the sun off the waters of Southport Harbor and Long Island Sound — their view also unobstructed. Panoramic views of both are enjoyed from this stunning red brick Georgian colonial revival house and its equally stunning 2.94-acre property, which sits in the Sasco neighborhood.
The sky serves as a canvas that changes from day to day and the sunsets are spectacular. Prolific bird song provides constant background music. Cooling breezes off the water are ever present. “Even after living here all this time, it still takes our breath away,” one of the homeowners said.
It’s fitting that among the beautiful formal gardens of perennial flowers and shaped shrubbery is a variety of rose called Eden because this property is a garden of earthly delights, and the 5,089-square-foot house is an oasis. It is also a work of art. Sasco Manor, as this house is called, seamlessly combines old world charms — including expert craftsmanship in the hand-carved moldings, the grace and style of old Hollywood, and the sophisticated elegance of today’s lifestyle complete with many 21st century amenities.
Built in 1926, the house and property are filled with romance, elaborate English architectural details and Hollywood history. The entrance foyer features a marble floor and twin antique mirrors purchased by Coward that depict theatrical faces. The formal living room features a 10-foot ceiling, ornate garlands of roses above the doorways and on the fireplace hand-carved by European craftsmen who were brought here for their specific talents. The crown molding is also exquisitely ornate. Norwegian pine paneling covers the walls.
In the formal dining room one rounded bay wall comprises seven double-hung windows and provides attractive water views. This room opens to a private library or media room, which contains one of the home’s four fireplaces. Each has a different mantel.
The new cook’s kitchen is equipped with top-of-the-line appliances including a Five Star six-burner range. The counters are marble. There is a breakfast room, which opens to a home office with a built-in desk and cabinetry, and French doors to the yard. The mudroom has a farm sink and also accesses the yard.
On the second floor, the master suite offers sweeping water views, two dressing rooms plus separate baths. One of the five bedrooms on this floor features a fireplace and another has a private balcony. There is also a separate staff wing.
The lower level has wall-to-wall carpeting, a temperature-controlled wine cellar, half bath, game room and storage space.
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Outside, the property lends itself to entertaining and family events. The current family has hosted a wedding on the grounds. A reflecting pool with lily pads and fish and the landscape architecture around it were established as a focal point. Shaped boxwoods anchor the four corners.
Beyond that is a gazebo with the climbing Eden roses and several apple, pear and crab apple trees. A classic herding fence doesn’t hold in sheep. It holds up New Dawn roses. Another garden “room” on the upper lawn is hidden behind a tall row of rhododendron and houses a rectangular row of boxwood that frames rose bushes. In the center is a fountain that is original to the property. This is a contemplative, serene space away from the rest of the property.
Not only were stars entertained there. Hollywood came knocking on the door for the filming of “The Swimmer,” starring Bert Lancaster. This property and its swimming pool were featured in the film, as were two other pools, at least one other in Fairfield. The pool sits on the property’s second lot, which was purchased by Coward. The pool house replicates the main house.
ABOUT THIS HOUSE
TYPE OF HOUSE: Georgian Colonial
ADDRESS: 828 Sasco Hill Road
NUMBER OF ROOMS: 14
FEATURES: water community, panoramic water views, walk to water, 48 x23-foot heated Gunite in-ground swimming pool, pool house, large bluestone patio and terraces, gated property, professionally landscaped with formal perennial gardens, fruit trees, koi pond/reflecting pool, 2.94-acre level and gently sloping parcel, circular driveway, storm windows and doors, front and rear staircases, four fireplaces, butler’s pantry, invisible fence, audio system, all window treatments, balcony, temperature-controlled wine cellar, stone walls, awnings, exterior lighting, shed, sprinkler system, wood single roof, steel casement windows, attic, seven bedrooms, seven full and three half baths
SCHOOL: Mill Hill Elementary, Roger Ludlowe Middle, Fairfield Ludlowe High
TAX RATE: 25.45 mills
This house is walking distance to Sasco Hill Beach in one direction and Country Club of Fairfield in the other.