The current owners of a unique property at 78 Bulkley Ave. North in the Fairfield County Hunt Club section of Westport often drove by the former Bees Knees Farm and admired the run-down antique Federal Colonial John Ward House at that address.
When the long-time owners, the Sherwood family, placed it on the market the current owners jumped at the chance to have a piece of Westport history, and they were careful in their plans to expand the residence.
"I felt like I was a steward of the property," said one of the owners, adding that they have an interest in restoration and preservation of historic properties.
With the same quality construction of garments that is evident in his line of work in the upscale clothing industry, the couple worked to create a timeless masterpiece.
They constructed a large Georgian Colonial-style main house in 2009 and renovated the original house, which was built circa 1872.
A sunny atrium connects the newer construction to the original antique house, which can be used as guest quarters or an in-law apartment. It has reclaimed antique hemlock floors, a living room or office, kitchen and two bedrooms and a balcony on the second floor.
The two houses combine to create 7,246 square feet of living space. The first floor of the larger main house was designed to bring the outdoors in.
There are numerous windows and French doors that lead to the long, panoramic wood rear deck that looks over the nearly six-acre property.
Despite its proximity to conveniences along the Post Road, I-95 and the Greens Farms and Southport train stations, it's a quiet enough parcel that those on the deck or atrium balcony can hear the babbling of Sasco Creek, which meanders through the far end of the property.
The attractive property is not marred by the sight of utility wires. The telephone, electric and cable wires are underground so there is no visual interruption of the architecture.
The only visible utility feature is the gas meter mandated by the gas company.
Custom metal railings of the deck mirror the wood railings of the atrium balcony. There are other unifying elements.
The bathrooms of the new and old houses are identical in look and materials, including hand-cut white tiles and marble floors with a basket weave pattern.
"Simplicity speaks volumes if done in quality. Less is more," one of the owners said.
Every exposed corner of the house interior has trim, which is unusual for most houses. The owners said this level of detail will be felt rather than noticed.
People will recognize there is something special about the house without quite being able to put their finger on it, they said.
Off the dramatic two-story entrance foyer is a true coat room, not a coat closet.
The cavernous gourmet kitchen in the main house has double Sub-Zero refrigerators and freezer drawers, Wolf gas range and double wall ovens, soapstone counters, large center island, a desk and computer area, and French doors that lead to the deck.
The master bedroom suite in the main house has a gas fireplace, sitting area, and two doors to a mahogany deck.
The master bath has Carrera marble, twin vanities, steam shower and his and hers walk-in closets with organizers.
Horse lovers, the house is within easy walking distance of the Fairfield County Hunt Club, directly across the street.
ABOUT THIS HOUSE
TYPE OF HOUSE: Antique house, with recently built Colonial
ADDRESS: 78 Bulkley Ave. North
NUMBER OF ROOMS: 14
AMENITIES: Beach rights, walking distance to Fairfield County Hunt Club, 5.6-acre level property, one of the largest single parcels of property available in Westport in the last eight years, stream (Sasco Creek), two footbridges to an island, two-zone geo-thermal heating in original house, skylight, three laundry rooms including lower level one with a dog tub, pantry/wine closet, kitchen, bluestone patio, terraces, outdoor fireplace on deck, balconies, zoned central air conditioning, exposed beams, front and rear staircases, security system, six fireplaces (some gas and some wood-burning), professionally landscaped, Dark Emperador marble powder room, window treatments, insulated windows, audio system, invisible pet fencing, designed by architect David Mann, cedar shingle roof, approved site for 60-foot in-ground swimming pool
OTHER INFORMATION: Six bedrooms, four full and four half baths, three-car attached under house heated garage, hardwood floors and wall-to-wall carpeting, radiant heat, full partially finished walk-out basement, three laundry rooms including one with sink and recessed ironing board and cabinets, zoned hot air natural gas heating in the main house, exterior sprinkler system, walk-in pantry, septic system with double pressure septic tank with two alarms, city water, room for tennis court, partially finished walk-up attic, stone wall, crushed stone driveway
SCHOOL: Long Lots Elementary, Bedford Middle, Staples High
TAX RATE: 17.91 mills