If the Greenfield Hill section of town were a museum, one of the gems in its collection would be the contemporary house at 4900 Congress St. The house is a work of art, as are many of its interior features, and the grounds are equally spectacular.
The unusual structure sits in a private setting on a 28.4-acre property bordered by land owned by the Connecticut Audubon Society. Residents and their visitors must traverse a 1,000-foot long driveway through the park-like grounds and pass other buildings -- a stone gatehouse and a barn -- to reach the house and the other amenities.
The grounds include two man-made ponds -- one with a footbridge to an island, tennis court, and an in-ground, free-form heated Gunite swimming pool. There is also a guest house with two bedrooms, cathedral ceilings, built-ins, sliding glass doors to a stone patio and an attached greenhouse. The gatehouse has three bedrooms and can be used as a caretaker's cottage.
Two silos top the roof of the main house and inside one of them serves as a tall, tubular skylight that continues its circular motion in a curved, almost sculptural staircase. The skylight, the numerous walls of windows and the expansive, open lawn combine to allow copious amounts of natural light to enter the rooms, even on a cloudy day.
Built in 1959, the 3,512-square-foot house contains elements from that era as well as many modern features that were added when the house was renovated in the early 1980s. Because the estate had a staff when the house was first built there are staff quarters in the finished lower level and a kitchen that would be considered small by today's standards. But because it was used by professional staff the kitchen is set up in an efficient way that maximizes the space.
When the house was built doors were created to be flush with the walls. Walk into the office off the foyer and not one door is visible. They blend into the paneling on the walls, and there are no door knobs to give them away. One needs to know the house to know where the doors are, including the hidden pass-through from the office to the kitchen.
The office also features a fireplace, built-in bookshelves and pickled hardwood flooring installed on a diagonal. This flooring is found in most of the rooms on the first floor. The spacious living room offers a 180-degree view of the property. This room has a fireplace and tray ceiling.
At one time the office was actually the formal dining room, hence the pass-through door to the kitchen. The current owners use, instead, a rounded atrium area off the living room as their dining room. Its glass walls allow for formal or casual meals while looking out on the grounds and ponds. There is also a door to an upper deck/balcony.
The main kitchen features a center island with an oval-shaped marble counter and a long stainless steel counter with a deep sink. Appliances include Thermador double ovens with two warming drawers; large two-tiered, gas-fueled U.S. Range range with six burners and griddle, side-by-side Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer, and Miele dishwasher. There is a second kitchen on the lower level, which would be ideal for caterers when the family is entertaining.
One wing of the house encompasses the master bedroom suite, which includes a sitting room, his-and-hers limestone baths -- one with a sauna and the other with a shower -- large his-and-hers walk-in closets and dressing rooms. A large patio off the master provides access to the pool.
Three additional bedrooms are en suite.
On the lower level there is a parquet floor throughout. An unusual swivel door shuts to separate the bedroom wing from the living area on this level. The family room has a fireplace and a door to a stone patio and backyard.
For more information or to set up an appointment to see the house, contact Julie Vanderblue or Christine Magliocci, both of the Vanderblue Team, an affiliate of the Higgins Group; call Vanderblue at 203-257-6994 or Magliocci at 203-521-8002.
ABOUT THIS HOUSE
ADDRESS: 4900 Congress St.
NUMBER OF ROOMS: 12
AMENITIES: beach rights, water views, 28.4-acre gated property bordered by Connecticut Audubon Society property, stone gatehouse with three bedrooms, guest house with two bedrooms and attached greenhouse, two man-made ponds, free-form heated Gunite swimming pool, tennis court, large barn with stalls and loft, two other smaller barns, flagstone patios, two kitchens, butler's pantry, all window treatments, security system, skylights, audio system, three fireplaces, open floor plan, proximity to the Connecticut Audubon Society at Larsen Sanctuary, circular driveway, balcony/deck, three fireplaces, built-in bookshelves, front and rear staircases, flower gardens, stone walls, multiple sliding doors
OTHER INFORMATION: four bedrooms, six full and one half baths, attached three-car garage, full partially finished walk-out basement, zoned hot air oil radiant heat, central air conditioning, clay tile roof, shed, laundry room, stucco exterior on main house, exterior lighting, septic system, public water
SCHOOLS: Burr Elementary, Tomlinson Middle, Fairfield Warde High
TAX RATE: 23.93 mills