On the Market / Darien house boasts picturesque setting
DARIEN — There is an in-town neighborhood around Tilley Pond Park that is right out of a Norman Rockwell painting in the eyes of many residents, including an owner of the colonial house at 19 Lakeside Ave., across the street from the park.
As this house was originally built in 1925, in a location with views of Tilley Pond Park, it would have been a good subject for Rockwell’s paint brushes, perhaps even making the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in one of his illustrations. Today, after a major renovation in 2011 by Ridgefield-based Trillium Architects, this 3,130-square-foot house would be more suitable for the cover of House Beautiful or maybe a magazine devoted to the environmentally conscientious.
It was built to very high standards for sustainability and with energy efficiency in mind. This green, Energy Star-rated house earned several awards including the 2012 Residential Green Building Award from the Connecticut Breen Building Council, and it also earned LEED Platinum certification for a renovation of a home nearing the century mark, which is a rare achievement, according to the listing agent.
Although the house was doubled in size during the expansion and renovation its energy bills were cut in half. The utility bills are now less than they were in the original house, which was taken down to the studs.
The current family was living in New York and were not yet ready to make the move to Connecticut when they learned about this 12-room house but they jumped at the chance to relocate when they became familiar with its long list of green features.
“It’s what I call a healthy home. There’s not one toxic epoxy or drop of paint, no toxic elements,” the homeowner said. The natural wool fiber rug in the children’s playroom is also non-toxic. “Everything was done so thoughtfully. I was doing the right thing for the environment, and knowing it was safe for my kids was a big draw … It’s a safe, happy, joyful place,” she said.
Among its many green features are the use of recycled denim for insulation, the air recirculated and goes through a filter every 45 minutes, a whole house water filtration system, and a reverse osmosis drinking water system with a separate tap of water that has been re-mineralized. The house also has solar and propane heating systems and any energy that they don’t use to heat the house is returned to the utility company for a credit. One unique feature is its use of two options for different types of heating systems, electrical or propane. The choice of which system to use can depend on what the market place bears. If gas prices are less expensive then that would be the fuel of choice. The trim work was milled from 100-foot spruce tree cut from property.
The attempt to reduce one’s carbon footprint continues into the 0.16-acre level property where the yard has drought-tolerant plantings and a rain-collection system to water them. The yard is augmented by Tilley Pond Park, which has more than eight acres of walking or jogging paths, benches, a garden area, and trees and ornamental plantings. The homeowner said the Norman Rockwell feel continues in the park where there are sailing competitions with toy boats on the pond. There are a couple of concerts there during the summer, and the town’s Memorial Day and Fourth of July parades end in the park. Children love the park activities and the opportunity to explore. The park provides a “nature science experiment at all times,” the homeowner said.
The neighborhood provides quite a bit as well. This in-town location offers “an amazing sense of community.” The homeowner said this property is enclosed in a white picket fence, which features gates on both sides and in the back that access neighboring properties. One neighbor has a sledding hill that the children enjoy in winter months. The close-to-home location allows children to run inside to warm up or for bathroom breaks, and moms can bring them hot chocolate outside.
This location also makes the house walking distance to Darien’s restaurants, shopping and the downtown train station.
Inside, this environmentally friendly house has an open floor plan with luxurious finishes, perfect for day-to-day living and entertaining. The living room has a fireplace flanked by built-in seating, the gourmet kitchen features a French-imported Lacanche range and Sub Zero refrigerator, and the baths have Waterworks faucets. The eat-in part of the kitchen has French doors to the patio and yard. The office has a vaulted ceiling, built-in desk and a wall of shelving and cabinetry.
On the second floor there are three bedrooms including the master, and there are two more bedrooms on the third floor.
For more information or to make an appointment to see the house contact Janine Tienken of Houlihan Lawrence at 203-246-7518 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THIS HOUSE
ADDRESS: 19 Lakeside Avenue
FEATURES: 0.16-acre level property, views of Tilley Pond Park, easy walking distance to the downtown Darien Metro North train station, active solar and propane heating systems, LEED Platinum certified, winner of the 2012 Residential Green Building Award, Energy Star-rated, heat recovery unit, Thermopane windows, state-of-the-art mechanicals, slate patio, terrace, professionally designed gardens, underground sprinkler, one fireplace, central vacuuming system, attic, full finished basement, five bedrooms, three full and one half baths
SCHOOLS: Royle Elementary, Middlesex Middle, Darien High School
MILL RATE: 16.08 mills