On the market: A place from the “Secret Garden”
FAIRFIELD — A masterful blend of architectural and botanical excellence is the hallmark of the yellow, center hall colonial house at 3245 Congress St. near the heart of Greenfield Hill.
The 7,502-square-foot house was built in 1920 by renowned Fairfield architect Cameron Clark. Although this home is reminiscent of another time, it was fully updated to accommodate 21st century living and entertaining.
While no specific information was available about the gorgeous gardens, Clark’s wife, Agnes, was a noted landscape architect so, perhaps, she had a hand in designing the formal and informal gardens on the estate.
The gated property of nearly 10 acres contains the main house, a guest or caretaker’s house, gunite in-ground swimming pool and spa, pool house, gazebo, and a wisteria-covered pergola. Pass the stone pillars and decorative wrought iron gate and travel down a long driveway to reach the forecourt of this hidden paradise. At the center of the circular driveway in front of the house there is a fountain and attractive shrubbery.
A lantern covered with lavender clematis vines and flowers lights the bluestone path to the covered side porch entrance passing a lawn of grass, a carpet of pachysandra, an azalea bush with flaming coral-colored blossoms and other perennial shrubs and plantings.
Walk the grounds and it will be hard not to think about Frances Hodgson Burnett’s book “The Secret Garden” when the viewer comes upon the gated and walled gardens, in particular the tall, ivy-covered stone wall. Other stone walls are lower and serve as sitting walls around the two-tiered bluestone patios. There is another red brick patio as well.
If those people enjoying the gardens can tear themselves away from the color and fragrance to go inside beauty of a different kind awaits. Actually, it starts right at the blue front door, which is framed by white millwork of flush columns, a decorative arch above the door with a keystone, and dentil molding. Ornate crown molding and woodwork adorn most rooms on the main living level and continuing into the master bedroom suite on the second floor. In the formal dining room it goes a step further, where decorative molding details are included on the ceiling itself in addition to the cove lighting. Decorative embellishments are also found on the mantel of the formal living room fireplace and the stairs in the foyer.
The decorative millwork continues in the gourmet kitchen, where there is a hand-painted tile mural above the Thermador range top, glass front cabinets and a pantry.
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The family room has a tall coffered ceiling, a fireplace with a yellow brick firebox flanked by built-in bookshelves, and a wall with three sets of French doors topped with arched transoms. The doors access the red brick patio. There is also a large sunroom or solarium with two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows, two brick walls, and a bead board ceiling.
On the second floor, the master suite has a sitting room with two walls of windows, wet bar, and coffee bar. The master bath has marble flooring and a border of cove lighting on the floor, and an onyx counter on the vanity. There are five bedrooms in all in the main house plus the two in the guest house.
The third floor has a game room with a fireplace, a bedroom, full bath, media room and several sitting areas.
ABOUT THIS HOUSE
TYPE: Antique colonial
ADDRESS: 3245 Congress St.
NUMBER OF ROOMS: 15
FEATURES: 9.68- acre level and manicured estate, caretaker’s residence, gunite in-ground swimming pool and spa, pool house, elevator, gazebo, greenhouse, patio, sprinkler system, movie screening room, five fireplaces, exquisite landscaping and gardens, solarium, two garages (attached and detached) with five vehicle bays, zoned gas heat and air conditioning, front and rear staircases, attic, stone wall, circular driveway, craft or gift-wrapping room, shed, workshop, five bedrooms, five full and two half baths
SCHOOLS: Dwight Elementary, Tomlinson Middle, Fairfield Warde High
TAX RATE: 24.79 mills
Outside, there are several paths through the garden and several contemplative places to sit among the foliage. Another decorative wrought iron gate leads to the pool and 720-square-foot pool house, which has a kitchen, full bath, a sauna, and French doors to the pergola and patio. Near the pool area there is a built-in outdoor kitchen with a grill, counter space, cabinets and a refrigerator.
The guest or caretaker’s house has 1,458 square feet of living space on two floors. It has five rooms including two bedrooms and a kitchen, an attached three-car garage and a greenhouse. The main house has an attached garage with an additional two bays.