BY VALERIE BANNISTER
4:37 PM EDT, June 12, 2014
The view from 48 Orchard Road in West Hartford will take your breath away.
Called “Seven Gables,” this storybook home is found in a suburb filled with handsome, neatly landscaped houses. The driveway, lined with flowering trees and shrubs, leads gradually up to the brick Tudor home, complete with ivy and an enchanting two-bedroom cottage.
Just as you park in front of the two-car garage, you’ll catch a glimpse of the incredible view. A lawn leads to a steep slope with an unobstructed sightline across the treetops to Hartford which rises like Oz out of a vast green landscape.
Michael Suisman, businessman and philanthropist, owns the home with his wife, Elsa. His son convinced him not to remove all the trees on the hillside as he originally planned, and he is so glad he took that advice. He has enjoyed this dramatic view, perfectly framed by trees on either side, for some 30 years.
With their children now grown, it is time for Suisman and his wife to move on. The home “is a little large for us right now,” he says.
Indeed, there is plenty of room in the home for a growing family and guests. With 8,739 square feet, the home boasts five bedrooms and bathrooms on the second floor, plus one room currently being used as an office.
The master bedroom has spectacular views, two master baths, custom closets and a sitting room with a fireplace. A walk down the upstairs hallway lined with built-in closets leads to the other bright and airy bedrooms.
The laundry room is conveniently located on the second level, and there is plenty of storage space in the attic, easily reached by a flight of stairs. The attic could also be used as a living space, possibly for an artist or writer, as it has plenty of natural light.
Downstairs, the home provides rooms that can easily accommodate a great many guests, as well as comfortable places for the family to spend time together.
“It’s a house to be shared with many or with each other,” says Lois Siegal of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties. “But no one has this dead-on gorgeous view of the city, framed with these beautiful trees.”
The kitchen, which had been much smaller, has been updated with the addition of a large window that allows one to enjoy breakfast, birds and the view in the quiet of the morning. Across from the kitchen is a cozy family room, an ideal place for reading books or watching television.
Down the hall is a wood-paneled library, complete with a fireplace and lined with bookcases. It provides just the right atmosphere for quiet contemplation.
The other rooms on the first level can be used for entertaining large groups. The dining room can accommodate many visitors and has access to the spectacular view, as well as to the patio.
Beyond the dining room is an area that had been added by a previous owner, a minister. It was created to provide space for congregants to enjoy music after services.
For the Suismans, who are involved with a variety of philanthropic activities, it is the perfect place to hold meetings and events.
“I’ve been here for musical events, musical evenings,” says Siegal. “This room easily accommodates 100 people.”
“When we have a big party, this is it,” adds Suisman
Adjacent to the large room are smaller spaces near the front door which guests enjoy after being dropped off from the circular drive in front. There is a reception room with a fireplace and another room with a bar. From these rooms, guests can easily reach the patio with its beautiful city views.
The location of the home is convenient to everything – neighbors, shopping and cultural activities – but feels like a sanctuary.
“It’s still private,” says Suisman, who currently uses the four-room cottage as an office. “It’s very quiet.”
Suisman, who obviously derives great pleasure from the trees and the view, says that the property will be hard to give up. With its beautiful setting and friendly neighbors, the property has been a refuge for the family.
The property also attracts wildlife. “We have turkeys and deer,” says Suisman. As if to prove a point, turkeys show up in a side yard and act perfectly at home.
“What this has is six acres of true privacy,” says Siegal. “It’s not something you find, ever, in West Hartford.” She sums up the home this way: “It’s a house built in a different era, but updated for 2014.”
Baths: 5 full, 2 half
Square Footage: 8,739 square feet
Acreage: 6 acres
Mill Rate: 36.30 mills
Best Features: Privacy and view of the Hartford skyline
Contact: Lois Siegal, 860-463-5463; John Hoye, 860-920-0350; Joanne Hoye, 860-561-8007, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties
Valerie Bannister is a freelance writer based in Chester.
Copyright © 2015, The Hartford Courant