It's far removed from the beaten track, but the house at 119 Cross Ridge Road in New Canaan is a magnificent surprise.
It starts with an amble up a private driveway from a hilltop roadway on the north end of town. Once you arrive, you're greeted with an interesting house on a beautiful, five-acre piece of property.
The side facing the driveway has an attached two-car garage with an attached wall leading to an adjacent, quaint storage building -- very European in flavor, with vines and fruit trees.
Entry to the back is under a long bougainvillea-covered pergola, over a brick patio and walk. This east side of the house has a garden and woods descending from the hill. From that side, the house is like an English cottage.
The front of the house has a slightly different, more upscale look, but it's no less pretty.
The walkway brings one to a portion of the house with a steep, cedar-shingle roof spotted with small gables and three large, brick chimneys, with clapboard siding. Up the hill, the expansive grounds continue with a pool hidden amid a garden of stone, with a hot tub and a surrounding of foliage.
The front door opens to a big hall that stretches to a Dutch door that opens to the back. To the right are a gradually sloping set of stairs -- carpeted over dark wood. Down the hall to the right is an archway with a pocket door opening a classic den with vintage wooden walls, a fireplace and a low ceiling, and surrounded by dentil molding. Off this room is a bath and bedroom with wainscoting and molding.
There are iron latches on many of the doors, and the floors of many of the rooms are slightly higher or lower than adjacent rooms, making for a pleasant separation.
Near the back of the front hall is a formal living room with a low, but wide fireplace. At left, one descends to a formal dining room with another fireplace, wainscoting, molding and an entry to a stone balcony that overlooks the front garden.
From there is an entry to the breakfast area of the kitchen, which has a greenhouse-like sun room off to one side, with glass top to bottom. The kitchen is on the other side of a half wall, which is buttressed with a large, Ionic supporting pillar.
Upstairs, immediately on the left, is a bedroom with a fireplace.
Further down the hall, on the west side, is another bedroom with a built-in window seat situated between two closets and under a bookshelf.
Two bedrooms share a bathroom. Another bathroom is off the hall.
There is yet another bedroom before the long hallway angles left and comes to a back staircase.
Those stairs return to a small central point between the kitchen, main entrance and a side door.
There are many little touches that add to the rather storybook quality of the place, such as a hidden-panel closet in the dining room alongside lovely built-in cabinets, or the narrow recessed windows upstairs along the hall.
For more information or to make an appointment to see the house, contact Marsha Charles of Coldwell Banker at 203-904-4663 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jarret Liotta is a freelance writer.