Stellar Westport house once home to actress
The classic gray colonial house at 2 Tierney Lane in Westport is as beautiful as the famed actress who once called it home, and its bucolic grounds are as verdant as her stunningly green eyes.
Legendary film and stage actress Gene Tierney was 9 years old in 1929 when her father, Howard Sherwood Tierney, custom built the house for his young family on the private country estate in Greens Farms. The character and charm of the house are enhanced by the knowledge that it was once inhabited by a woman dubbed by Darryl F. Zanuck, former chief of production at 20th Century Fox, as "the most beautiful woman in movie history." Tierney made her screen debut at Fox opposite Henry Fonda in "The Return of Frank James" in 1940. She was recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6125 Hollywood Boulevard.
"This one is in Technicolor. That means that audiences will also get the full force of those Tierney eyes," remarked actor Vincent Price after starring with Tierney in one of the nearly 40 films she did, including "Laura," "Heaven Can Wait" and "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir." Her leading men also included Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Rex Harrison and Don Ameche, and her off-screen leading man was husband and famous fashion designer Oleg Cassini.
One can imagine the Academy Award-nominated actress playing on the grounds of her childhood home, perhaps climbing one of the many stately trees, including a magnificent beech in the front yard. She would not, however, have gone swimming in the in-ground heated Gunite pool. That is a recent addition, as is the wood roof with copper flashings, gutters and downspouts.
The pool is surrounded by formal English country gardens and a stone wall with a fountain that give it the feel of a grotto. The rest of the property has lush open lawns, an herb garden and a rose garden that makes the back entrance to the house as warm and welcoming as the formal front entrance.
In one of the bedrooms, Tierney's brother, Howard Sherwood "Butch" Tierney Jr., etched his name into a pane in one of the windows and it remains there to this day. Seen or unseen, the young Gene Tierney undoubtedly left her mark there, too.
Perhaps as a youngster she twirled, with the same grace that she displayed on screen, through the well-proportioned rooms of the house. They are generous, especially for the time period in which it was constructed. The house comprises 4,882 square feet of living space. There are 10 rooms in all, including the formal living and dining rooms, a spacious sun room, gourmet kitchen, library and five bedrooms.
Two sets of double French doors, one from the living room and one from the dining room, lead to the sunroom, which has another set leading to the bluestone patio and down to the pool.
Beautifully executed millwork, moldings and hardwood floors are found throughout the residence. In the entrance foyer, the oak wood flooring is framed with a border of black walnut. There is a marble fireplace in the living room. The dining room fireplace has a surround of hand-stenciled tiles in a floral pattern, the likes of which are also seen as the counter top in the wet bar between the dining and living rooms. A third fireplace, with hand-painted tiles, warms the master bedroom.
Tierney Lane is a private street that encircles the house. There are only two other houses on the quiet cul-de-sac, which is attractively lined in some sections with field stones. The Tierney property is enclosed by several means, including a split rail fence, privet hedges and other established shrubs.
ABOUT THIS HOUSE
ADDRESS: 2 Tierney Lane, Westport
NUMBER OF ROOMS: 10
AMENITIES: 3.16-acre grounds, private park-like setting, three fireplaces, heated in-ground Gunite pool with electric cover, formal English gardens, herb and rose gardens, garden irrigation system, walk to beach, three-minute bicycle ride or short walk to train station, proximity to retail shops and restaurants, zoned central air conditioning, wet bar, gourmet kitchen, security system, newer wood roof, dog enclosure and invisible fence surrounding entire property, garden shed, porch, bluestone patio, exterior lighting, crown and dentil molding
OTHER DETAILS: five bedrooms, 3.5 baths, two-car attached under house garage, hardwood floors and wall-to-wall carpeting, full unfinished basement with wine cellar, radiator oil steam heat, numerous built-in bookshelves and cabinets, front and rear staircases, mudroom with slate floor, second floor laundry room, pull-down attic, septic system, city water
SCHOOLS: Greens Farms Elementary, Bedford Middle, Staples High
TAXES: $22,195 based on rate of 14.85 mills