Old Country Style

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Nick Churton of the Houlihan Lawrence, London office admires some Georgian architecture and impressive landscape gardening at a home in Connecticut, close to its border with New York.

The House: Mole’s Hill Farm, 201 Millerton Road Sharon, CT

The Broker: Houlihan Lawrence

The Agent: John Friend

There’s no getting round it, if you want the best in British and Irish design then it is best to hire someone who’s British and/or Irish. That way you get the real deal.

So when the owners of Mole’s Hill Farm in Sharon, Connecticut looked across the Atlantic for a certain look and feel to their home, they engaged architect, Sir Anthony Denny Bt, and doyen of garden designers, Penelope Hobhouse MBE.

The unmistakable mark of Denny can be seen in distinctive archtectural features. The most noteable of these is the dramatic obelisk standing proudly at the top of an arrow straight, wide, grassy ride or avenue that slopes gently to the skyline topped by this handsome eyecatcher.

Within the 95 acres of grounds, Hobhouse’s green-fingered touch is apparent in the series of garden areas including walled kitchen garden, rose garden and enclosed pool garden with twin pepperpot brick pavillions. These gardens give the house a strong sense of place with added surprises such as deligtful pond, an enchanting Russian dacha styled summer house in a woodland setting and a rustic stone bridge that reminded me somewhat of the Swilcan bridge over the burn on the Old Course at St Andrews.

But now let’s wipe our feet and come inside to the house’s magnificent Georgian styled interior – and you really can’t get more Anglo-Irish than Georgian. Inside this home is elegant, spacious and airy and embellished with fine pediments, palisters, fireplaces and friezes.

But despite all the grace and taste this is also a modern home ready for a large family. A finely proportioned and beautifully appointed and fitted kitchen acts a focal point for family life while both formal and informal reception rooms provide a wonderfully adaptible living space.

A barn – perfect for parties – tennis court and three bedroom guest house adds to the versitility of this remarkable property.

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Back to Front

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The House: 100 Chicago Blvd, Sea Girt, New Jersey

The Broker: Diane Turton Realtors

Nick Churton of Diane Turton Realtors’ London office finds great value in this front line, back line home on the New Jersey shore.

Front line to the sea attracts a premium price in most places, especially in Sea Girt, New Jersey. Houses in front line positions fetch more than those located in back line locations. It’s as simple and as understandable as that.

But 100 Chicago Blvd, Sea Girt, New Jersey is a home one block back with a front line view, so offers great value as well as a good outlook.

The current owners have really done a great job in creating a family beach house only a step away from the beach but also those extra high-season crowds.

It is a clever option for those wanting so see the sun rise over the ocean from their beds and enjoy a quieter life.

The house comes as a very pleasant surprise indeed. Down in the well-appointed basement is a wet bar and excellent wine cellar. Then there are five charming bedrooms and a great family area with a professional grade kitchen.

If value is as important to you as the view, then this must be a real contender.

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Water World

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 The House: 942 Barnegat Lane, Mantoloking, New Jersey

The Broker: Diane Turton

Nick Churton of Diane Turton Realtors’ London office finds somewhere homely and handsome close to Barnegat Bay that for action or relaxation is hard to beat.

What makes the ideal second home on the New Jersey shore? Some will yearn for a big family home on the beach. But others will dream of a charming bay side cottage full of warmth and style.

942 Barnegat Lane, Mantoloking, New Jersey is the latter but with several really good and important features and attractions. The house is a two-story family house maintained to an excellent standard. Its style reflects its waterside location. But what makes this house extra special is the pool and dock making it the perfect for water lovers.

It only takes a few minutes from the dock to reach the extensive waters of Barnegat Bay. It’s ideal for the active. The pool is no miniature play area but a decent size for serious exercise. There is also a wide covered deck for entertaining and al fresco living.

The interior is ideal for those preferring to relax. It is as perfect for summer days as it is for cosy winter nights. A four-season retreat beats a two-season retreat any day for value and convenience and a four season only seventy miles from Manhattan is better still.

This delightful home is well worth a visit.

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Hit Refresh

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The House: 24 Meadow Lane, Greenwich, Connecticut

The Broker: Houlihan Lawrence

The Agent: Amanda Miller

Nick Churton of the Houlihan Lawrence London office falls in love with a Greenwich beauty.

It takes love and flair to take a traditional, gracious, Greenwich residence and improve it without missing a beat and, in so doing, creating an exciting, modern home, in touch with the moment,

Inside and out, 24 Meadow Lane, Greenwich, Connecticut looks as fresh as a daisy. It probably hasn’t always appeared like this. There may have been years since it was built in the 1930s when it slowly became out of step with the zeitgeist.

Not now. Now, behind the elegant exterior, it is contemporary. It has fizz and sparkle and zing. A lively mind and talented hand has conjured up time travel here. A Greenwich grande dame has become a debutant again – and not just any debutant, but the belle of the ball.

I urge you to mark this down on your dance card when you are viewing Greenwich properties. This one’s a keeper.

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Bay or Ocean 2

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The House: 964 Lagoon Lane South, Mantoloking, New Jersey

The Broker: Diane Turton Realtors

Nick Churton of Diane Turton Realtors’ London office takes a walk on the calm side at this excellent home overlooking Barnegat Bay.

It can be a hard choice but many buyers along the New Jersey shore in Mantoloking, New Jersey pick the bay side rather than the ocean.

They decide for a calmer view, one where cormorants sit on poles perusing their next meal or preening their feathers, where the sunset reflects off the bay’s glassy surface and where boats take a leading role with one’s own ready to go from one’s own private dock.

If this is your chosen lifestyle then the perfect choice may well be 964 Lagoon Lane. I loved this house. It is clean crisp, spacious and follows a waterside aesthetic that is, at once, comfortably familiar and individually notable.

The architect delivered a wonderfully proportioned home. And the interior designer put together a contemporary, comfortable and restful space full of invention and charm. The third floor is perfect and I wont spoil the surprise but the other floors are really just as good.

964 Lagoon Lane is a bit of a showstopper. If you have been looking for the ideal bayside house then I think your search stops here.

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Bay or Ocean 1

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The House: 1007 East Avenue, Mantoloking, New Jersey

The Broker: Diane Turton Realtors

The Agent: Suzanne Van Schoick

Nick Churton of the Diane Turton Realtors’ London office visits a fabulous beachside house on the New Jersey shore.

Bay or ocean? It is a question many buyers along the New Jersey shore in Mantoloking ask themselves. It’s an important choice: in one direction is the restless Atlantic and in the other is an altogether calmer bay view.

For those that have made their decision for the ocean, choosing a suitable house can be a great deal easier. In fact one would really have to look no further than 1007 East Avenue in Mantoloking. Here is a house built for beach side family living.

Constructed in 1995, it has everything most require from a beach house. Above all is the view. Wake up to the sun rising in your bedroom. Enjoy views along the sandy beach in a location where it is uncrowned even in high summer. In autumn or fall and in winter enjoy bracing, ozone soaked walks beside the breakers.

Owning a beach house adds another lifestyle dimension. But some beach houses can be difficult to get to along congested and narrow roads. Not here. Here it is only about 70 miles from Manhattan via the Garden State Parkway and I-95 North. Better still, it is only seven miles from Bay Head station with a fast and frequent rail service to Penn Station in New York City.

Take a look at the photos. The current owners have nailed it. They have made a multi-generational family beach house that is individual and universal at the same time.

Life can be a real beach sometimes.

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A Tudor Rose

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The Property: 212 Osborn Road, Harrison, New York

The Broker: Houlihan Lawrence

The Agent: Lisa Murphy

Nick Churton of the Houlihan Lawrence London office feels right at home in this distinctive Harrison house only one hour’s drive from New York City.

They say that an Englishman’s home is his castle. But of course everyone’s home is his or her castle. It’s just that some homes look more like castles than others.

212 Osborn Road, Harrison, New York looks pretty castle-like to me. In the US this style is called Tudor. Various European nationals may look at it differently. The part-timbering to the elevations certainly does suggest the timber framed buildings of 14th and 15th centuries in England, but so too do they resemble the French rural vernacular. Not only that but the dramatic roundel with distinctive slated, conical roof has echoes of both eastern and western European domestic design. If anything it is the real elevation that owes more more to English architecture with its hipped and catslide roof and very handsome high Tudor style chimney.

But let’s not get too picky. There is no need, because through whatever national lens you look at it, this is an incredibly pretty house that wraps its strong arms around its family within – providing a safe, secure and highly livable space packed with the sorts of lifestyle features that you won’t find in any old English castle or French chateaux.

There are lots of things to think about when choosing a style of home. Choosing castle-like strength is always a safe way to go – ask an Englishman!

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Pride of Place

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The House: 41 Binney Lane, Old Greenwich, Connecticut

The Broker: Houlihan Lawrence

The Agent: Ellen Mosher

Nick Churton of the Houlihan Lawrence London office enjoys visiting a wonderful house in an amazing location overlooking Long Island Sound.

If 41 Binney Lane, Old Greenwich, Connecticut where standing for political office its mantra would be, “it’s the view stupid”.

So get an eyeful of this!

The house stands on a one-acre, rocky-aproned promontory on 235 feet of Old Greenwich shore. It is enough of a spit of land to give the attractive house extra visibility of the surrounding coastline and over the Long Island Sound to Long Island itself.

The position is maximised by an 85-foot private pier to a deep-water mooring and swimming platform. For a less salty bathing option there is a pool and spa on the elevated terrace.

Elevation is important in this part of the world. Being set well over sea level gives ample protection from adverse weather conditions and patterns.

On this rocky dais stands a magnificent home designed to take full advantage of its dominant position. It’s very comfortable with six bedrooms, sunroom, wet bar, triple aspect library and staff wing.

If you could ever drag yourself away it is only a short walk from the village.

For the more adventurous it takes about three hours to paddle cross Long Island Sound in a kayak. So you can work out how long it would take to reach a suitable Long Island waterside restaurant in a jet-powered Hinckley sport boat at 52 mph.

Make no mistake, this is a once in a generation chance for a serious piece of iconic real estate.

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American Theme

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The House:179 Forest Avenue, Rye, New York

The Broker: Houlihan Lawrence

The Agent: Joan O’Meara

Nick Churton of the Houlihan Lawrence London Office discovers a very beautiful home in Rye, New York with wonderful provenance and presence.

Born in 1861, Charles Adam Platt was a talented man. He was a landscape artist, garden designer and architect. As the latter he found notoriety through American Renaissance style buildings that attracted not just public patronage but also clients from families such as the Roosevelts, the Rockefellers and the Astors.

The American Renaissance was a period of American architecture from the end of the mid 1870s to the early 1900s. It was a time of national self-confidence and a notion that the young nation was the modern heir to Greek democracy and Roman law. It was an era that coincided with the Gilded Age.

Platt’s canon of civic buildings is extensive, but so to is his inventory of private houses. A great example is 179 Forest Avenue, Rye, New York. Built in 1904, the Charles Platt House is one of Platt’s notable domestic designs. Departing from the American Renaissance style, Platt returns here to Georgian themes that look as good today as they did over a century ago.

From a neighborhood point of view it is a commanding house. It’s elegance and presence makes it familiar and admired in an area of established and pleasing homes.

From the imposing portico entrance to the glorious formal garden set round the excellent pool, this is a very fine example not just of the architect’s art but also of how to transition a significant and precious traditional American home into a thoroughly up-to-date and exciting place to live.

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The Long House

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The house: 117 West Patent Road, Bedford Hills, New York

Broker: Houlihan Lawrence

Agent: Cecilia Heller

Nick Churton from the Houlihan Lawrence London office takes a good, long look at a a very fine house in Bedford Hills, New York.

The world over, and for thousands of years, the long house has been a domestic architectural fixture across the Americas, Europe and Asia. The Vikings lived in them, so too did the British and the Iroquois people.

So what made long houses so popular? Form follows function in great design and the design of the long house made it ideal for large family living. And all those features and benefits that made them so functional years ago are just as apt today.

An excellent example is 117 West Patent Road, Bedford Hills, New York. This is a handsome, cupola-topped home that sits long on the ample property. It packs a powerful punch in the way of accommodation.

Being long means that one doesn’t have to delve into the basement for all the fun. Here the games room, the media room and the amazing wine cellar aren’t detached in the cellar but very much attached on the first floor. They are easy to reach and connect seamlessly and socially with the more formal reception rooms and kitchen.

It also means that one doesn’t have to go up two flights of stairs to reach second floor bedrooms – because they are all on the first floor.

117 West Patent Road looks long. It looks big. But it doesn’t really live big. That’s because it works for families as perfectly today as long houses have worked for thousands of years.

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