Harry Connick Jr.’s puts New Canaan house on the market
NEW CANAAN — Renaissance man Harry Connick Jr. and his wife, Jill Goodacre Connick, used the same level of talent and work ethic he brings to his music and other professional endeavors, and the same level of grace she brought to fashion runways as a professional model, and their combined sophisticated eyes for detail to renovate their northern New Canaan home of nearly 20 years.
The resulting masterpiece is an 11,598-square-foot residence with a French country feel that is at once grand and somehow still intimate; a home that is a masterful melange of old and new, a home that is elegantly rustic, allowing it to stand firmly in the 21st century, while paying homage to the property’s agrarian roots. In other words, a “timeless treasure,” the co-listing agents said. The gated 4.61-acre level and sloping property was once part of a much larger dairy farm. The main house sits at the top of a hill and comprises a converted barn that dates back to 1890 coupled with a newer addition.
“Since we are up on a hill,” Jill Connick said of the property, “the sun rises over the living room and sets over the kitchen and porch. I’ve loved sitting out there in the mornings and evenings. Harry and the girls know they can usually find me there. It’s torture to think of leaving this home. We’ve raised our three children here, and our passion has always been architecture and building, so we are looking forward to another project,” she said in a news release issued by the real estate agency that represents the house.
A large antique dairy barn across from the main house is mostly utilitarian, although it does have a gym with a mirrored wall and rubberized floor, and lots of possibilities. The positioning of the barn and house creates a sizable courtyard for play (a portable basketball hoop sits between the house and barn) or parking for guests (this is a great house for entertaining). There is a heated in-ground swimming pool, pool house, and outdoor shower. The property has a playhouse and a guest cottage, which was originally a manure barn that serves as a music room, office and recording studio befitting Connick, the multitalented, Emmy and Grammy Award-winning musician, singer, actor, former “American Idol” judge, and host of the national daytime TV show, “HARRY.” In the main house, the formal dining room was originally a garage for tractors.
In 1951, the Bickley family purchased the property and converted the barn into a home. The Connicks completely transformed and updated it in concert with the Southport firm, Mark P. Finlay Architects. They used reclaimed chestnut wood from the original barn/house to custom create three doors in the front-to-back foyer, granite from steps down to a stream for the surround of the fireplace in the spacious 2 ½-story formal living room, and reclaimed wood from a barn in Maine for the living room floor.
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River rocks found on the property adorn another fireplace, and wood from the utility barn — half of which was torn down, was used to panel the walls of the family room, library and screened porch. Stone imported from the south of France covers the floors of the foyer and gallery that lead into the great room.
Throughout the house there are six fireplaces, including in the master bedroom suite, all functioning except the decorative one in the dining room. The fireplace in the great room, which comprises a large sitting area, gourmet kitchen and eat-in area, is distressed red brick. Many of the rooms in this house have wide-planked wood floors. Several rooms have exposed hand-hewn beams that are part of the original barn’s framework. French doors in several rooms lead to bluestone patios and a long covered porch.
The kitchen features a long center island topped with Absolute black granite, porcelain farm sink and high-end appliances including a Viking Professional six-burner range with a grill and griddle. The family room off the kitchen has a retractable television and projector that descend from the ceiling, an equipment closet and fabric walls to augment the acoustics. The pine-paneled library has a wet bar and built-in bookshelves.
ABOUT THIS HOUSE
STYLE: Colonial/converted barn
FEATURES: gated 4.61-acre level and gently sloping property, antique barn, cottage, heated in-ground swimming pool, pool house, outdoor shower, playhouse, generator, stream, wet bar, climate-controlled wine room, gym, in-law or au pair apartment, bluestone patios, deck, balconies, front and rear staircases, five functional fireplaces, fieldstone walls, well water, attached three-car garage, 2.9 miles to downtown and Metro-North train station, walk-up attic, cedarwood roof, enclosed dog area, seven bedrooms, six full and two half baths
SCHOOLS: West Elementary, Saxe Middle, New Canaan High
MILL RATE: 16.312 mills
There are seven bedrooms in this house, including a first-floor guest suite. On the second floor, the master suite features an office, two walk-in closets with organizers — one with a luggage closet and the other with a dressing room and antiqued mirrors, as well as a stone bath with a steam shower and free-standing soaking tub, and the bedroom with a gas-start fireplace and French doors to a private balcony/deck looking over the pool. The master bath has a door to this same balcony. The landing has French doors to a separate balcony.
In the children’s wing one of the bedrooms has a built-in window seat. Two bedrooms are en suite and the other two share a Jack-and-Jill-style bath. Above the three-car attached garage is an in-law or au pair apartment with sitting room, kitchenette, bedroom and full bath.
Outside, the pool is encircled by a white picket fence. A pergola draped with wisteria vines rests against the front of the pool house. Inside it has a slate floor, a half bath, changing room and built-in ladder to a loft space.
There are matching cupolas on the main house, barn and pool house.
For information or to make an appointment to see the house, contact April Kaynor or Kelly DeFrancesco of William Raveis Real Estate; Kaynor at 203-216-2194 or April.Kaynor@raveis.com, and DeFrancesco at 203-667-4074 or Kelly.DeFrancesco@raveis.com. Visit AprilandKelly.com.