Peer into the past while living in the present on a rare Westport riverfront estate. The updated antique Colonial Revival house at 29 Ferry Lane East sits on a 2.3-acre level and sloping property, 490 feet of it direct waterfront along the Saugatuck River.

Known as the Francis Hedenburg/Roger Williams House, it was built in 1896 and many of its 19th-century features were preserved as additions were constructed and renovations were made.

According to the Historic Resources Inventory from the Connecticut Historical Commission the original structure "is completely buried in the present 20th century Colonial Revival house." The document was prepared in June 1988 by architectural historian Mary E. McCahon for the Westport Historic District Commission.

The document explains the house this way: "The present exterior, dating to the 1910s, features a giant order, square-columned portico with a Chinese trellis-enclosed balcony and flush-sided tympanum with a Federal-style oval window."

It also says Roger H. Williams "is responsible for the present styling. The house is more monumental than gracious, but it is one of the few remaining riverfront estates."

Real Estate Listings

The 6,949-square-foot house is gracious as well as grand. It exudes period elegance, history and charm. Architectural and decor features include an unusually wide mahogany staircase, wide-plank old-growth pine floors -- some of them 14-inches wide, onyx floor in the center hall front-to-back foyer and hand-carved ornate detailing in the millwork.

The grounds and the view are equally exquisite. This is a gated estate, its circular Belgian block-lined driveway marked by stone pillars. The property features a Gunite heated swimming pool, waterfall, lily pond, and perennial gardens. Enjoy river views from the long columned rear veranda, a smaller covered porch accessed from the living room, or the gazebo made of tree branches that sits atop an elevated platform at the river's edge. There is also a private deep water dock.

The house is white and has dark green shutters. The architectural interest on the inside starts with the exterior. On the front and rear façades there are recessed arches topped with keystones that frame each of the first floor six-over-six and nine-over-nine double-hung windows. Decorative details of the railings on the second floor balconies resemble ship wheels.

Inside, the woodwork in the foyer is natural colored wood with ornate detailing. Two arched entryways lead to the sunken formal living room, which features a wide stone fireplace with a rough-hewn granite surround, millwork beams, and glass shelving. The windows in the room have interior shutters. The wide-planked floors in this room are pegged.

More Information

ABOUT THIS HOUSE
TYPE: Antique Colonial
ADDRESS: 29 Ferry Lane East
PRICE: $4,695,000
NUMBER OF ROOMS: 15
FEATURES: water community, water frontage, views of Saugatuck River, deep water dock, riverside gazebo, easy walk to Saugatuck train station, walking distance to Compo Beach and Longshore Club Park, 2.3-acre level and sloping property, in-ground Gunite heated swimming pool, waterfall, lily pond, bluestone patio, two long covered verandas, covered porch, butler's pantry, circular driveway, four fireplaces, Thermopane windows, front and rear staircases, five bedrooms, four full and one half bath
SCHOOLS: Greens Farms Elementary, Bedford Middle, Staples High
ASSESSMENT: $2,902,800
TAX RATE: 17.94 mills
TAXES: $52,076

In the library the double-sided marble fireplace sits in the middle of the room, which has bookshelves and lower cabinets covering all the walls. The fireplace in the formal dining room is soapstone.

Despite its age, thehouse has an easy flow from room to room. The dining room can be accessed from the foyer, gallery/hall and gourmet kitchen. It also has French doors to the rear portico and a second set of French doors to a small sunroom, which has a slate floor.

Between the kitchen and dining room is a butler's pantry with wood counters, decorative circular metal sink and glass-front cabinets. The kitchen is large and has a Travertine floor. The large center island is topped in granite and has a farm sink.

Above the commercial grade Viking professional range is a backsplash comprising hand-painted Portuguese tiles of fish. The kitchen opens to the spacious family room, which has six sets of sliding doors; five to the backyard and portico, one to the sunroom. The mudroom off the kitchen has the first of the house's two laundry rooms.

In the second floor landing there is a galley-like wet bar area that could be used as a morning kitchen. It has a retractable tray, sink, and beverage refrigerator.

Access to the master bedroom suite is through separate his-and-hers dressing rooms, one of which has its own enclosed porch/sitting area. The master bath has a travertine floor. The ornate commode, bidet and sink look suited for a royal residence.

The master bedroom has a vaulted ceiling, small red brick fireplace, long window seat and access to two balconies with river views.

The third floor contains two more bedrooms and a full bath.

There is a large room above the kitchen that has flexible use as a bedroom, office, art studio, media center or recreation room. A small room off of it is plumbed and could easily be made into a full bath. It also has a walk-in closet.

For more information or to set up an appointment to see the house, contact Randy Plimpton of William Raveis Real Estate at 914-227-0000 or email him at randy.plimpton@raveis.com.

ABOUT THIS HOUSE

TYPE: Antique Colonial

ADDRESS: 29 Ferry Lane East

PRICE: $4,695,000

NUMBER OF ROOMS: 15

FEATURES: water community, water frontage, views of Saugatuck River, deep water dock, riverside gazebo, easy walk to Saugatuck train station, walking distance to Compo Beach and Longshore Club Park, 2.3-acre level and sloping property, in-ground Gunite heated swimming pool, waterfall, lily pond, bluestone patio, two long covered verandas, covered porch, butler's pantry, circular driveway, four fireplaces, Thermopane windows, front and rear staircases, five bedrooms, four full and one half bath

SCHOOLS: Greens Farms Elementary, Bedford Middle, Staples High

ASSESSMENT: $2,902,800

TAX RATE: 17.94 mills

TAXES: $52,076