In Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic children's book The Secret Garden, protagonist Mary Lennox finds a key to a locked garden on her uncle's English estate and nurses it back to its original stunning beauty.

In the Hunt Club section of Westport, there is a gated estate at 1 Rodgers Way waiting to reveal its secrets, including unique artistic nooks and elaborate details on the private, park-like grounds, custom-designed and professionally-maintained landscaping, and 15-room colonial house.

None of it needs tending. The entire 2.43-acre estate is already stunningly beautiful. It only needs its next owner, someone or some family that will treasure it.

Built in 2003, the buttercream-yellow cedar clapboard house is the first of three houses on a short cul-de-sac off Bayberry Lane. Before entering the house, one must traverse bluestone paths past fieldstone walls and exquisite gardens designed by Galina Kulikova Siegel, a world-renowned master gardener and a member of the current owner's family. Siegel is featured on calendars, seed packets and other gardening items in her native Russia.

Inside, there is 7,610 square feet of living space, but the house does not feel overwhelming large and remote. The current owners said they felt the warmth and comfort of the house from the moment they first opened the front door, much as Mary Lennox felt as she first entered the magical space of her secret garden.

This house is a true center hall colonial. The entrance foyer goes from front to back and features a marble floor, gracefully curved staircase, and hand-painted artistic renderings on the 30-foot walls that lead to the windowed cupola.

There are four fireplaces in the house, the most elaborate of which is in the formal living room. The others are in the formal dining room, master bedroom and living room or reception area of the lower level.

In the chef's kitchen, the counters are marble and teak. This room features a 32 x 20-inch farmer's sink, a massive center island with a copper sink, eat-in area, and a LaCornue range that includes four burners, a griddle and special wok burner.

The butler's pantry contains a copper sink, marble counter and Sub-Zero wine cooler. There is also a large back hall, which has a marble floor, walk-in pantry, a large sink and access to a powder room, garage and the spectacular lower level. That level includes a full kitchen, media room, game room, gym, bedroom, full bath, sauna, and a wine cellar.

On the second floor, the walls are covered in Venetian plaster. There are two bedrooms large enough to serve as master suites, one of which has a master bath with a limestone floor. One bedroom has a cavernous walk-in closet.

The separate guest cottage has its own gated entrance on Bayberry Lane, an attached two-car garage and a cupola mirroring the one on the main house.

Despite its location in a bucolic setting, this house is less than five miles away from the Greens Farms train station, I-95 and the center of Westport with all of its retail establishments, restaurants, entertainment and town offices. Compo Beach is just about five miles away. The house is walking distance to Bedford Middle School and Staples High School.

The house and property have numerous amenities and architectural details that the current owner calls "over the top in a good way."

For more information, or to set up an appointment to see the home, call Julie Vanderblue of the Vanderblue Team, a division of the Higgins Group Real Estate, at (203) 259-8326 (office), or 203-257-6994 (cell).


Type of house: Colonial

Address: 1 Rodgers Way, Westport

Price: $4,250,000

Number of rooms: 15

Ameneties: Gated estate, park-like setting of 2.42 acres, professionally designed and maintained landscaping, marble floors, four fireplaces, chef's kitchen, media room, sauna, game room, gym, two master bedroom suites, music conservatory, six-zoned central air conditioning, three balconies, porch, patio, guest cottage, exterior sprinkler system, wet bar, skylights, security system, butler's pantry, wine cellar, full kitchen on lower level, French doors, crown molding throughout the house

Other information: Five bedrooms, six full and two half baths, three-car attached under house garage and a second two-car garage attached to guest cottage, full finished walk-out basement, six-zoned hot air gas heat and hot water, septic system, city water, walk-up attic, wood roof, ample room on the level property for the addition of a tennis court and in-ground swimming pool, laundry room with two Whirlpool washers and a dryer, cedar closet

Schools: Long Lots Elementary: Bedford Middle: Staples High:

Assessment: $2,131,300

Tax rate: 14,410 mills

Taxes: $30,712