A Daughter of America
This Colonial home in Litchfield, Connecticut, embraces the beauty of the nature surrounding it.
Surrounded by picturesque new england forests, this colonial- era home in rural litchfield, connecticut, was built in 1868 and has Stood the test of time. The 4,000-square-foot home is the daughter of the home next door—literally, as it was built by a man for his daughter, as well as architecturally, in its similarity to the adjacent property. Its five acres overlook the Bantam River and in addition to the main house, contain a swimming pool, private guest cottage, three-car garage and adjoining apartment.
THIS COLONIAL HOME IN LITCHFIELD, CONNECTICUT, EMBRACES THE BEAUTY OF THE SURROUNDING NATURE.
A CONNECTICUT RAMBLER
Following the tradition of most Colonial homes, the 10-room layout isn’t dependent on a central hallway, but winds from room to room, with walls and doors clearly delineating rooms depending on their purpose. “It’s a Connecticut rambler in every sense of the word,” homeowner Susan O’brien says.
While the Colonial bones have retained their integrity, a renovation at the turn of the century added twin parlors and built onto the kitchen, and another renovation in the 1970s added a master suite upstairs and recharged the kitchen. The current homeowners have lovingly restored the home over the past three years, breathing new life into every corner, including the kitchen and bathrooms, and taking care to preserve much of the original wood floors, mantels and moldings.
From the gravel driveway, traditional Corinthian columns and a portico welcome visitors into the home. Every part of the home welcomes you in and invites you to get comfortable: Twin parlors feature a fireplace and a wall of windows with French doors leading to the patio, and the study and conservatory are bathed in light and floor-to-ceiling bookcases. The spacious kitchen has a vaulted ceiling and exposed beams that make it feel like a cathedral, while quaint furnishings and pastel colors are casual and comfortable. The adjoining butler’s pantry and expansive dining room both extend the kitchen’s reach and create an environment perfect for entertaining.
An elegant switchback staircase leads upstairs to another sitting area, the master suite and three more bedrooms. The 1970s renovation built up the master suite to its magnificent current state: vaulted ceilings, a fireplace, French doors that lead out to a private deck and a roomy master bathroom with double sinks, a walk-in shower and a claw-footed tub.
In every room, wide, inviting windows—unusual for an older home—bring in the outside by providing views on every side of the natural beauty surrounding the home.
While the Colonial bones have retained their integrity, a renovation at the turn of the century added twin parlors and built onto the kitchen.
A PRODUCT OF ITS ENVIRONMENT
The homeowners also have an apartment in New York, so “all this living space is a luxury,” Susan says. Outside the home, a three-car garage—converted from the property’s original stable—and an additional, 1,000-square-foot cottage are ideal for hosting guests. “It has a wonderful sense of nature,” she says; one of her favorite aspects of the home is its garden and all the nature surrounding it. The home’s quiet, comforting presence is reflective of its environment. Litchfield is a rural community, and the acreage of the home backs up to the Bantam River and is surrounded by nature conservancy land.
Beyond the inherent peace of mind intrinsic to the home, it’s also a product of its origin as the daughter house of the property next door. The builder designed this home with the idea of creating a family-centered home and community, and imbued the Colonial with comfort and life. “It would have been easier just to build something new than to lovingly undo damage and redo it,” Susan says, but they were sympathetic to the home and wanted to keep its integrity. They enlisted the help of local craftsmen who expertly integrated the new renovations with the old bones of the home.
A PLACE OVER TIME
When she went about decorating the home, Susan wanted a look that was fresh and new—“no gilding the lily, as it were,” she says. Dark hardwood floors contrast the walls in white, cream and pale gold, and the wallpaper that’s usually so present in a Colonial or Victorian home is confined to the bathrooms, where floral and damask patterns rule. Accent colors are subtle, but the pale blues and reds that adorn pillows, patterned rugs and bedspreads add vivid depth to the bright, neutral airiness of the light color palette.
The homeowners have been collecting antiques for many years, and one of the very first pieces they bought, a mid1800s linen press with dentil molding, has found its home in Litchfield. Susan’s favorite piece is a flame mahogany highboy
Litchfield is a rural community, and the acreage of the home backs up to the Bantam River and is surrounded by nature conservancy land.
The current homeowners have lovingly restored the home over the past three years, breathing new life into every corner, including the kitchen and bathrooms, and taking care to preserve many of the original wood floors, mantels and moldings.
in the parlor, where its brass trim, fan detail, scrolling and ornate finials make the piece a work of art. Susan also has treasured collections of English porcelain and silver from the mid-1850s; meanwhile, all the paintings in the home are mid-19th century American pieces.
The home’s longstanding place in history is visible in every inch of the home—even in the not-so-obvious places. In the kitchen, Susan has converted an old laundry basin into a double sink, and installed a stainless steel sink with a brass faucet in the pantry after she found it in the basement and restored the piece. The window seats in the breakfast nook and study are part of the original home’s build, inviting one and all to cozy up to read and enjoy the view for more than a century and a half. “It’s a place over time, not in time,” Susan says.
Wallpaper that’s usually so present in a Colonial or Victorian home is confined to the bathrooms, where floral and damask patterns rule.