On the Market: Antique Colonial in Wilton accommodates modern living, entertainment styles
WILTON — The white Greek Revival house at 137 Sturges Ridge Road in Wilton received high praise when it was evaluated back in 1989, according to a Wilton Historical Society document. The Levi Coley House, also known as the Belden-Hurlbutt House as well as the Coley-Belden House, was found at that time to be in “excellent” condition.
Vintages houses do require maintenance to keep up their appearances and livability but by and large they are well constructed, even those that date back hundreds of years. “Old houses can be remarkably efficient, since they were designed to keep their occupants warm or cool without oil or gas and mechanical equipment to do the job,” said Christopher Wigren, deputy director of Preservation Connecticut, formerly the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.
May is National Historic Preservation Month, a time when people are encouraged to preserve rather than tear down historic structures including local landmarks and homes.
The State Historic Preservation Office’s Historic Resources Inventory says of this house: “Architecturally, the building, with its Doric columned portico, is the most important Greek Revival building in Wilton. No other local example of the style rivals the Coley-Belden House in grandness.”
“In its day it would have been considered a grand house. It’s stunning from the outside,” said Patrick Cropper, the home’s current owner.
It still is quite grand, inside and out, as it sits in the local landscape, not far from the municipally-owned 22-acre Ambler Farm and Rolling Hills Country Club. This “handsome house,” as the document refers to it, is located on the southwest corner of Liberty Street and Sturges Ridge Road. It was built there in 1848 by Levi Coley on land he purchased from William Buckingham and Eliphalet Lockwood in 1831. After Levi’s death in 1862 it was sold to Nathan Belden and later to the Hurlbutt family in whose possession it remained until 1956, according to town records.
“The ambitious, temple-form, Greek Revival dwelling has a giant-order, fluted, Doric inset portico and a flush-sided tympanum with a Palladian-motif window. The window is a common feature in Westport and Fairfield, but is not often seen in Wilton.” The house was enlarged with a Colonial Revival wing added to the west side in the middle of the 20th century, the Historic Resources Inventory says.
Cropper said the home’s historic integrity and character were preserved even as it was expanded to 4,014 square feet and updated to accommodate modern living and entertaining styles. Cropper said the 19th century house was structurally reinforced, air conditioning was installed and its kitchen and five baths were completely renovated. The original millwork, hardware, and wide-plank hardwood floors are well preserved.
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The portico features an original light fixture that would have been fueled by oil but at some point was converted to electric. The paneled front door, framed by sidelights and a transom, opens into the front hall and reveals 10 rooms, 11-foot ceilings, and four original fireplaces - all with their original mantels and three of which are in working order. Additionally, the kitchen has a wood-burning brick fireplace with a beehive oven.
Perhaps the most unique feature is the four-season glass solarium on the sunny south side of the home, which was added in the 1980s. It is accessed through French doors from the kitchen, and has a door to the deck and yard.
The kitchen features a center island, granite counters, and a decorative tile backsplash over the Viking six-burner gas range.
STYLE: Antique Colonial
ADDRESS: 137 Sturges Ridge Road, Wilton
FEATURES: 1.49-acre level property, corner lot, heated porch, exterior lighting, patio, garden area, four-season glass solarium, original wide-plank hardwood floors, four original fireplaces (three functional) and a beehive oven, cable - available; close to the Norwalk River Trail, 22-acre Ambler Farm and Rolling Hills Country Club and golf course; proximity to Wilton, Weston and Westport town centers and Wilton train station; short commute to the Merritt Parkway and Route 7, circular driveway, stone wall, detached two-car garage, large mudroom, zoned central air conditioning, zoned electric and oil heat, 50-gallon water heater tank, private well, septic system, attic, full unfinished basement, shed, four bedrooms, three full and one half baths
SCHOOLS: Miller-Driscoll Elementary, Cider Mill Intermediate, Middlebrook Middle, Wilton High
MILL RATE: 28.5373 mills
There are four bedrooms, two of which are en suite. The remodeled third floor offers a guest room or office.
Outside, the beautiful grounds include perennial gardens with azaleas, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, roses, and forsythias. The original carriage house now serves as a storage shed.
This house is close to Cherry Lane Park and Norwalk Valley River Trail, and it is convenient to the centers of Wilton, Weston and Westport, the Wilton train station, and shops and restaurants along Route 7.
For more information or to make an appointment to see the house contact Marion Filley of Compass Connecticut, LLC at 203-515-1387 or Marion.firstname.lastname@example.org.