On the Market: Rustic home in Easton with distinctive contemporary style

EASTON — Standard Oil heiress, the late Ruth Thomas Bedford, was an avid equestrian, sailor and amateur pilot. Although she lived on Westport’s coastline she kept her horses on a property in Easton’s Aspetuck neighborhood.

The current owner of Nyala Farm at 20 Redding Road purchased Bedford’s estate next door to his after her death, at age 99, in 2014 and immediately set out to transform the original cedar log ranch cottage, built in 1935, into a rustic chic home with distinctive contemporary style, and the 10.05-acre level property into an elegantly homespun retreat.

Mission accomplished. Only two years later Nyala Farm was mentioned in the Aug. 1, 2016 publication of Good Housekeeping magazine with the headline “This Gorgeous Farmhouse Will Make You Want to Escape to the Countryside,” and saying further “If your decor style is more woods and stone over wicker and seashells, this home totally gets you … Tucked inside 10 acres of greenery, streams and farmland is this Easton, Connecticut, retreat. Restored with help from architect Mark Finlay and designer Kelly Mittleman, it’s packed with woodsy elements like oak, cedar and stone; hits of worn-in leather; cozy throws and tons of natural light,” the article said.

There are still chickens on the farm producing eggs for the guests at the cottage. And there are the beginnings of an apple orchard planted with plans to build a cider house, the listing agent said. In addition to the 1,987-square-foot, two-bedroom Candy Apple Red cottage and chicken coop, there is also a red barn with stalls for multiple horses, their brass name plates still on display.

The cottage sits along the Aspetuck River in a convenient location within easy walking distance of the Bluebird Inn and Aspetuck Land Trust preserved spaces, and not far from the Aspetuck Valley Country Club and golf course. In fact, the golf course is in view of this property, although the main entrance is about a mile away on Old Redding Road. A footbridge crosses over the river, and the property also contains a pond.

The month of May is National Historic Preservation Month, and while this house is not quite old enough to be considered antique, it still has value as an asset in the town’s history and is worth preserving as the current owners have.

“Living in old houses is an exercise in living sustainably — it’s recycling on the biggest scale most of us will ever achieve. And, old houses can be remarkably efficient, since they were designed to keep their occupants warm or cool without oil or gas and mechanical equipment to do the job,” said Christopher Wigren, Deputy Director of Preservation Connecticut, formerly the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.

The owners have done their part, restoring the cottage and rescuing a felled oak tree sourced from the property and having it milled to create floorboards for the kitchen. Stones walls are original to the property preserving the character and landscape of the rolling grounds.

More Information

TYPE: Ranch, Cottage

ADDRESS: 20 Redding Road, Easton

PRICE: $1,600,000


FEATURES: 10.05-acre level property, two barns with stables, patio, fire pit, water frontage along the Aspetuck River, pond, water views, footbridge, yoga studio with heated floor, exterior lighting, programmable thermostat, pre-wired for cable, open floor plan, one fireplace, walking distance to the Bluebird Inn and Aspetuck Land Trust preserved spaces, close to the Aspetuck Country Club and golf course; just minutes to the Merritt Parkway, Fairfield, Westport and Weston; fully furnished, original stones walls, one fireplace, zoned central air conditioning and oil heat, full partially finished walk-out basement, private well, septic system, shed, two bedrooms, two full baths

SCHOOLS: Samuel Staples Elementary, Helen Keller Middle, Joel Barlow High

ASSESSMENT: $416,970

TAX RATE: 31.33 mills

TAXES: $13,064

Inside, the cottage features a great room with a cathedral ceiling, floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, wood paneled walls, exposed beams, and built-ins; a den, and French doors to the riverside patio and fire pit. The kitchen features quartzite counters, farm sink, glass column and other cabinetry, a built-in window seat, breakfast nook, and top of the line appliances.

Both bedrooms boast cathedral ceilings, custom closets and full-wall millwork. The two bathrooms are outfitted with attractive decorative tiles, exposed gas pipe sinks, iron doors, and heated towel racks.

On the full partially finished walk-out lower level there is a yoga studio with radiant heated flooring.

For more information or to set up an appointment to see the house, contact Susan Vanech of Susan Vanech Properties and Compass Connecticut, LLC at 203-685-2348 or susan.vanech@compass.com.

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