On the Market / ‘High Rock’ property a private oasis
WESTON — Last April, the owners of the stone and wood shingle house at 65 Cavalry Road captured a photograph of a rainbow in the sky above their property — proof positive that Bill and Jennifer Barron’s peaceful, private oasis is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
This pot of gold was called “High Rock” by its original owner, and it comprises a property of 2.38 acres, a barn with a vehicle bay, garden shed and greenhouse, a beautifully maintained and updated vintage storybook stone house, a fish pond, specimen plantings, and a whole lot of magic. The level and sloping property has a number of large moss-covered rock outcroppings, and it’s as if the house is just another natural rock formation dotting the attractive landscape.
The late Frank W.T. Amis, a former elected Weston official, appreciated the beauty of this property in the Lower Weston neighborhood and chose this site as his home. It reminded him of the countryside in his native England and provides privacy, but not isolation. “High Rock” was built in 1929. It is just blocks from Crystal Lake, and there are seasonal views of the lake from upper level rooms.
“As a child I remember seeing Long Island Sound at Compo Beach from the third floor but the trees have grown so tall in the last five decades,” Bill Barron said. So now the lake is only visible through leafless trees this time of year.
Although it was constructed during the time period of noted stone architect Frazier Peters — and there is a Peters house nearby on Broad Street — this house is not part of his legacy of stone. Amis commissioned instead architect George Gaynor Hyde to design this house.
“High Rock” is so named because of a giant boulder that serves as the centerpiece to the property but it is the stone house that anchors the property, “and will anchor the lives of the people lucky enough to be the next owners of this property located on the Westport line, just minutes to the train, to schools, and all area amenities,” the co-listing agents said.
ABOUT THIS HOUSE
STYLE: Antique Colonial Stone House
ADDRESS: 65 Cavalry Road, Weston
FEATURES: 2.38-acre level and sloping property, detached barn/garden shed/ greenhouse, large stone patio, fish pond, wrap-around deck, porch, exterior lighting, balcony, professionally landscaped, convenient to the centers of Westport and Weston, only four mile to Compo Beach and two miles to the Westport-Weston Family YMCA, just 12 minutes to the Saugatuck Metro North train station, seasonal view of Crystal Lake, two fireplaces, dumbwaiter, possible in-law or au pair suite, refinished oak floors, slate and fiberglass roof, circular driveway, attached under house two-car garage (and a third bay in the barn), two laundry rooms, private well, zoned propane heat, pull-down attic stairs, full walk-out basement, four bedrooms, four full and one half baths
SCHOOLS: Hurlbutt Elementary, Weston Middle, Weston High
MILL RATE: 29.39 mills
Barron’s family purchased the property from Amis in 1958. It is his childhood home, and one he loved so much that Barron bought it from his father 30 years later. The fish pond, next to the stone patio and tucked in under the evergreens, was built by Barron and his father in the 1960s, with “guidance of a superb old-time Italian stone mason.”
The approach to “High Rock” is through stone pillars, past the rock outcroppings, terraces, stone walks and lovely views of flowering trees and perennials. One pillar has a concrete tile with the word “High” and the other has “Rock.” The molds used to create those tiles still sit in the full walk-out basement workshop, where there is also a former photographic dark room with a large utility sink.
It could probably be converted back for any purist who prefers old-fashioned film processing techniques rather than digital photo technology. It might also make a great wine cellar instead.
A very long driveway leads to this house, which is not just beautiful, it is highly functional. The exterior stone walls are solid rock at least 2 feet thick and in some places 3 feet. Those stones provide natural insulation, retaining warmth in winter and coolness in summer months. To the stone structure, the Barrons built an addition about a decade ago, expanding the footprint to 3,965 square feet and giving the house a large family room above the attached, under house two-car garage. This room features windowed walls, a wraparound balcony and full bath with walk in shower and has the potential to be used as the master bedroom suite. The current master is on the first floor.
During the renovation the Barrons installed a dumbwaiter — a small freight elevator — to carry groceries from the garage to the enormous gourmet eat-in kitchen, where there is a huge center island, a bay window with banquette seating, pantry, fireplace, and hand-painted imported ceramic tiles in the backsplash Bill Barron’s parents bought in Germany.
The front door is accessed through a stone arch and it opens into a space that is as magical and welcoming as the exterior. In the large formal living room there is a stone fireplace, built-in bookshelves, sliding doors to a stone terrace, and a lifetime of memories. The Barrons have entertained on a grand scale in that room, and Jennifer Barron — a singer — has performed concerts there.
“Walter Gieseking played our Steinway now in the living room,” Barron said. An article on the Warner Classic website identified Gieseking as “an artist of inexplicable gifts. Few pianists have possessed more natural reflexes or a greater capacity to learn and memorise (sic) at lightning speed.”
The stone and shingle outbuilding has electricity and water. In addition to the greenhouse and third garage bay, there is a finished room that would make a great office or art studio.
For more information or to make an appointment to see the house contact Flo O’Brien and Mary Palmieri Gai of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties; O’Brien at 203-258-9909 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and Gai at 203-986-2169 or email@example.com.