The passion and dedication that famed composer Richard Rodgers used to create some of Broadway's most memorable tunes was also used by famed architect Cameron Clark when he "composed" Rockmeadow at 1040 Hulls Farm Road in the Southport section of town, over the border from the Fairfield County Hunt Club area of Westport.
Rockmeadow, built in 1929, was the home of Rodgers and his wife Dorothy from 1949 to 1965. Its next owner can sit in the same formal sunken living room where Rodgers' piano sat and where he wrote the music for several Broadway shows, including "The King and I" and "The Sound of Music." They also can swim in the same in-ground pool where Marilyn Monroe did. She was one of the many notable visitors to the Rodgers' estate.
Many of the Broadway luminaries at that time visited the house, including the entire cast of "South Pacific" when the performers attended a surprise party for the composer in 1951.
There is a musicality to the house and the property as one element flows effortlessly to the next; and just as Rodgers' music is timeless, this house has been updated to create a timeless setting.
In a reference to the property's appeal, Rodgers wrote about it in his autobiography, "Musical Stages:"
"Given the impermanence of life, it is only natural that people cling to the security of certain objects and places that seem impervious to time. Perhaps this is especially strong in me because of the intangibility of my work and the entertainment world of which I am a part.
"Ever since 1949, our place in Southport, Connecticut, had become more of a home to Dorothy and me than our city apartment. Rockmeadow was our refuge and retreat, where we enjoyed entertaining friends and where, just in walking through the grounds, I often thought of melodic themes of ideas for musical development."
Although the house has 7,088 square feet of living space and 15 rooms, it does not feel like a mansion. The rooms have warmth about them and a comfortable, almost cozy, lived-in feel.
Two long driveways connect at the front of the house creating a circular driveway. The main house sits in the middle of the nearly 22-acre level property, which includes open meadows and a buffer of woodlands between neighbors. The property features a pond, two greenhouses, a clay tennis court and a guest cottage with separate caretaker's quarters.
More than six acres of the property are used as hayfields, which gives it farmland designation per Public Act 490, Connecticut's Land Use Value Assessment Law. The property features many mature trees and plantings, among them tall, old rhododendrons; large magnolia trees; a cutting garden, and a 50-foot peony bed on the far side of the tennis court, which is framed by giant stands of forsythia. The curved driveway is still lined with apple trees as it was when the Rodgers were in residence. The house is surrounded by stone paths and terraces.
Inside, the gourmet kitchen is cavernous and has a huge center island, Calacatta Gold marble counters, walk-in pantries and floating, two-way, glass front cabinets. It is a real working kitchen with Traulsen commercial grade side-by-side refrigerator and freezer, commercial six-burner Viking range, Thermador wall-mounted oven, ice maker, and two dishwashers.
The kitchen features a full breakfast room rather than an eat-in area. It also has three sets of French doors that open to the stone patios and backyard.
On the second floor, the master bedroom suite has his and hers separate baths and dressing rooms. Her bath is marble and has a bidet. His has a slate floor in the shower.
For more information or to set up an appointment to see the house, contact Rita Tanis at 203-260-5223 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Patty Eilenberg at 203-913-0009 or email@example.com; both of Prudential Connecticut Realty.
ABOUT THIS HOUSE
ADDRESS: 1040 Hulls Farm Road
NUMBER OF ROOMS: 15
AMENITIES: beach rights, 21.33-acre level property, clay tennis court, two greenhouses, deep in-ground swimming pool, 1,500-square-foot guest cottage with fireplace and a separate caretaker's apartment upstairs, large pond with footbridge, waterfalls, pond view, bluestone patios, four fireplaces, long circular driveway, awnings, balcony, large sunroom, exterior lighting, all window treatments, security system, numerous French doors, large sunroom with slate floor, fabric wall coverings, cherry paneled library, custom 12 over 12 divided light double-hung windows, front and rear staircases, window seats, mudroom, closets hidden by decorative millwork, perennial gardens, rounded archways and doorways
OTHER INFORMATION: six bedrooms all en suite, seven full and one half baths, two garages with a total of five bays, partial partially finished basement, wide board oak flooring on first floor, attic, zoned central air conditioning, zoned hot air oil heat, laundry room, low stone walls, wood shingle roof, numerous built-in bookshelves, partially fenced, septic system, city water
SCHOOL: Dwight Elementary, Tomlinson Middle, Fairfield Ludlowe High
TAX RATE: 23.37 mills