The antique red brick townhouse with black shutters at 35 Rose Hill Road in the Southport section of town was not always a residence. After it was built in 1912, it housed offices of the Southern New England Telephone Co., with the business office on the first floor and the switchboard operations on the second.

A small, thin, vertical window in the kitchen remains. It is believed to be the place where a man would arrive on horseback to pick up telegrams.

This structure housed the Fairfield exchange until 1947, when the operation was moved to Reef Road. After that the purpose of the 1,722-square-foot building switched from business to residential. One of its four subsequent owners converted it into two apartments.

The current owners returned it to a charming single-family, six-room, perfect village pied-a-terre. They lived in the guest/pool house, along with their cat and piano, for the duration of the main house renovations. The guest house was originally a four-bay garage, which was part of SNET in the early 20th century and was used for vehicles and storage of telephone wire. It has one large room, a full bath and kitchenette. It also features a wall of windows, cathedral ceiling, wide-planked wood floor, and red brick fireplace.

There is an in-ground lap pool in the secluded backyard that gets its privacy from natural wood picket fencing and a tall red brick wall. The two-car detached garage is actually on Prospect Street. Tall trimmed hedges along the front of the main house also contribute to the feel of privacy despite the house's location on a 0.28-acre level and sloping lot in the Southport Historic District just steps from the Spic and Span Market and other shops in the village.

It is only a short walk to the Southport train depot and, in fact, one of the owners joked, "You could almost wait to see the train (arriving) and then run to the train station." A metal sign on the front lawn depicting a tall ship, its sails at full mast, serves as a reminder that Southport Harbor is also only blocks away.

Inside, the entrance foyer has black-and-white ceramic tile flooring. The first floor consists of a large formal living room, and modest dining room and kitchen with a small eat-in area, double stainless sinks and Sub-Zero refrigerator. The second floor holds two bedrooms and a library or den, which could become a third bedroom, if necessary. All the rooms on this level have wall-to-wall carpeting, but there is hardwood underneath.

The full, unfinished walk-out basement -- hidden behind a secret passageway disguised as a bookshelf -- holds many possibilities. If finished, there is room for a family, play or media room and exercise area. One of several storage rooms, which have the original thick metal fire doors, could be converted into a wine cellar.

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Ceilings are 10 feet tall so even though the house is on the smaller size, at least by today's standards, it appears roomy. There are three working fireplaces. In addition to the guest house the others are in the living room and library. The living room also features ornate crown molding and in the library there is cove and dentil crown molding and a door to a balcony looking over the backyard.

The master bedroom is en suite and has a walk-in closet.

For more information or to set up an appointment to see the house, contact Patricia Randolph of Nicholas Fingelly Real Estate at 203-221-2212 or email her at patrandolph@fingellyre.com.

ABOUT THIS HOUSE

More Information

ABOUT THIS HOUSE
TYPE: Antique brick townhouse
ADDRESS: 35 Rose Hill Road
PRICE: $1,295,000
NUMBER OF ROOMS: 6
FEATURES: water community, beach rights, in the heart of Southport Village center, walking distance to the Pequot Library and Southport Railroad Station, walk to Southport Harbor, proximity to I-95 and Post Road (Route 1), guest/pool house with kitchen, in-ground lap pool, brick wall, stone patio, terrace, 0.28-acre level and sloping property, partially fenced, invisible fence, balcony, storm windows, skylight, three fireplaces, full unfinished walk-out basement, cedar closet, two bedrooms, two full and one half baths
SCHOOLS: Mill Hill Elementary, Roger Ludlowe Middle, Fairfield Ludlowe High
ASSESSMENT: $710,710
TAX RATE: 24.4 mills
TAXES: $17,341

TYPE: Antique brick townhouse

ADDRESS: 35 Rose Hill Road

PRICE: $1,295,000

NUMBER OF ROOMS: 6

FEATURES: water community, beach rights, in the heart of Southport Village center, walking distance to the Pequot Library and Southport Railroad Station, walk to Southport Harbor, proximity to I-95 and Post Road (Route 1), guest/pool house with kitchen, in-ground lap pool, brick wall, stone patio, terrace, 0.28-acre level and sloping property, partially fenced, invisible fence, balcony, storm windows, skylight, three fireplaces, full unfinished walk-out basement, cedar closet, two bedrooms, two full and one half baths

SCHOOLS: Mill Hill Elementary, Roger Ludlowe Middle, Fairfield Ludlowe High

ASSESSMENT: $710,710

TAX RATE: 24.4 mills

TAXES: $17,341