For sale: Westport house by pioneering female architect
Updated 6:26 pm, Monday, October 31, 2011
A two-tiered gravel driveway off Clinton Avenue in Westport leads to a vintage colonial house and a bit of U.S. architectural history. The house that sits on a nearly two-acre property at 82 Clinton Ave. was designed by Minerva Parker Nichols, one of the country's first women architects, who also lived there for a time.
Nichols, the first woman to establish a successful American architectural practice in the late 19th century, on her own with no male partnership, designed this house for her daughter Adelaide Nichols Baker and her daughter's husband John Baker, according to Bob Weingarten, House History Chair of the Westport Historical Society.
Weingarten combed through town records and found that the Bakers purchased the property in November 1924. The house was built in 1925. Weingarten said records also show the property was transferred to "Minerva Nichols" in August 1930 and she apparently lived there until her death in 1949.
The sloping, wooded property offers a bird's eye view of the road and a river from the back of the house and provides a private setting for the rustic residence. It is blanketed in pachysandra and abuts the Guard Hill Nature Preserve. The exterior comprises white cedar shingles and the windows are framed with black shutters and decorative window boxes.
Fieldstone steps travel from the upper driveway to the main front entrance as well as a side entrance.
More InformationABOUT THIS HOUSE TYPE OF HOUSE: Vintage Colonial ADDRESS: 82 Clinton Avenue, Westport PRICE: $695,000 NUMBER OF ROOMS: 7 AMENITIES: water community, beach rights, river views, walk to river, nearly two-acre property abutting Guard Hill Nature Preserve, convenient to the Merritt Parkway, terraced stone patio, skylights, two wood-burning fireplaces, wood/coal stove, three-season screened porch, walk-in pantry, original hardwood floors and exposed wood beams throughout the house, built-in bookshelves OTHER INFORMATION: three bedrooms, two full and one half baths, one-car attached under house garage, full unfinished basement with garage access, oil heating system, stone foundation, septic system, city water, storm doors and windows, some wetlands SCHOOL: Coleytown Elementary, Coleytown Middle, Staples High ASSESSMENT: $504,400 TAX RATE: 17.43 mills TAXES: $8,791
The lower drive goes to the one-car attached, under-house garage. The 2,209-square-foot house contains many interesting features in each room, including the multiple exposed wood beams in several rooms, the two built-in corner shelves in the dining room and a wide stone fireplace in the living room.
The formal entrance has a wider-than-usual wood door that opens into the foyer. To the left is the dining room and to the right is the "sunken" living room. It requires one step down.
There are two French doors in the living room, one of which goes to the large, three-season screened porch, the other to the terraced stone patio. The patio can also be accessed from the three-season porch, as well as from the kitchen.
While the kitchen could use some updating, it has a rustic charm that works with this house. It has a built-in spice rack, a pegged wood counter top, two side-by-side stainless sinks, plain white cabinets, eat-in area and a skylight. A walk-in pantry provides access to the full, unfinished basement. The garage is accessible through the basement.
On the other side of the kitchen there is another foyer, which welcomes those who enter from the side entrance, closest to the driveway. The foyer, which has a slate tile floor and a half bath, is open to the family room. This room has a skylight, a wood stove, exposed beams in the cathedral ceiling and a stained glass window.
There are three bedrooms and two full baths on the second floor. The master bedroom has its own red brick fireplace with a white wood mantle. The master bath has a walk-in shower and a faux onyx counter top. This bath can also be entered from the hall landing.
The second full bath has interesting features in its open, door-less walk-in shower and elongated oval porcelain sink. The shower has a white ceramic tile floor and white subway tile backsplash. There is bead board on the lower walls and on the upper ones is recessed wood paneling.
Outside, the sloping front yard does have a level area close to the house, two fieldstone walls and a number of mature trees.
For more information or to set up an appointment to see the house, call Jillian Klaff, of Jillian Klaff Homes, an affiliate of William Raveis Real Estate, at 203-858-2095 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.