BY LARRY GREENE
2:18 PM EDT, June 13, 2013
This stately Avon colonial at 188 Northington Drive combines easy living with old world charm. An elegant yet comfortable home, it is equally well-suited for fancy dinners, children’s birthday parties, or quality family time. “When we were looking for a house, we loved this one immediately because of the quality of the craftsmanship and the layout of the house,” say the present homeowners. “We were looking for a home where each of our three children could have his or her own space and we could have a separate guest room.”
Located on a hilltop in the vibrant and family-friendly Bridgewater neighborhood, the home is nestled among trees and graceful landscaping that combines privacy with natural beauty. A graceful circular drive accesses the property; islands of perennials and shrubs pepper the front lawn. A walkway to the front door is crafted of granite, brick, bluestone and bordered with miniature red weeping maple, colorful flowers and azaleas. These streams of flora appear to flow from two finely trimmed evergreens standing sentinel on either side of the home’s main entrance. Two stands of river birch accent the main façade of the home which is lined with plantings.
All four sides of the colonial home are faced with brick. Three massive brick chimneys are both decorative and functional, serving the home’s five fireplaces. Windows are flanked by black shutters and topped with limestone keystones. Quoined corners frame the house and make a strong architectural statement.
The foyer reveals an impressive display of architectural detailing that continues throughout the home. Fluted molding flanks the sidelights at the front door. Millwork carries on above the door consisting of transom lights topped by an architrave, frieze and cornice ending at the nine-foot ceiling. Mahogany handrails and old-world paneling line the stairway. Upon reaching the second-floor, the handrail and balustrade make a 180-degree curve.
Arched doorways create three interior exits from the foyer. Exiting left brings you into the living room, a handsome room for greeting guests. The soffit ceiling holds two lights directly above a masonry fireplace surrounded by slab marble. Ample baseboard and crown molding complement the intricate archway. Once away from the natural stone flooring in the foyer, wood flooring begins here and continues throughout most of the first floor.
The right exit from the foyer introduces the dining room, which is designed to balance the living room. Again, there is a soffit ceiling with two lights aimed at the fireplace, but the fireplace surround is much more dramatic. A chandelier hangs above the table. Paneling topped with a chair rail graces the walls.
Going straight down the foyer brings you into a hall that ends at a private library. It has two walls of built-in bookcases, cabinets, drawers and desk space. The coffered ceiling is made of milled cherry wood. A span of windows offers a seasonal view of the Farmington Valley. Grass cloth covers the few areas of wall space not dedicated to cherry wood or windows.
The hall also leads to a spacious family room featuring a coffered ceiling and corner windows looking out on the valley below. Here, another masonry fireplace is fitted with a gas log and a slate slab surround.
The kitchen contains a dining area with views of the bluestone patio and fire pit where friends and family can enjoy the evening air. Cherry cabinetry reaches from floor to ceiling in the kitchen and cabinet doors are beaded inset. Countertops and the kitchen island are covered in richly toned granite sporting splashes of color that match the cherry cabinets mixed with pearl, charcoal and black. Resembling popular furniture styles, bracket feet and spindle legs fitted with block feet and caps add character to the island. A tumbled marble backsplash separates the cabinets and granite countertops. Appliances include a stainless steel Sub-Zero refrigerator and Viking range and oven. Opening a pocket door reveals a walk-in pantry and a wine refrigerator is fixed in the butler’s pantry between the kitchen and formal dining room.
Connecting the four-car garage and the main living area, a well-situated mudroom has ceramic tiled flooring and wainscoting. A built-in bench opens for storage. Closet space, coat hooks, cabinets and a convenient half-bath make up this rugged, appealing space. A second set of stairs leads to the upper level.
Nine-foot ceilings give the upstairs level a spacious feel. Six bedrooms, five full baths and a laundry room share this upper level along with lots of storage space. Double doors sweep into the master bedroom suite containing a fireplace, his-and-hers closets and vanities, a whirlpool tub and a shower. “The master bedroom is situated so that you feel like you are on top of the trees,” says one homeowner. “I particularly love watching the sunrise through the wood when I’m having coffee in the kitchen.”
On the lower level, a huge recreation room boasts a fifth fireplace and a walkout so gatherings can easily spill outdoors and vice versa. This lower level includes an exercise room and a full bath.
“This was our first home with a basement, and it quickly became ‘kid central,’” say the couple. “Our kids and their friends immediately head downstairs for ping pong or to play video games or just hang out. With the walkout and windows, you never feel as if you are in a basement.”
The present homeowners also appreciated the warm welcome from the neighborhood and town after moving north from Florida. “This is a great family neighborhood,” they say. “It’s a family-friendly town.”
For more information on 188 Northington Drive or a private showing contact Ellen Seifts of Prudential CT Realty at 860-214-3540.
Builder: David Stoner
Baths: 6 full, 2 half
Square footage: 7,098 square feet
Acreage: 0.94 acres
Tax rate: 25.65 mills
Best features: Exceptional details, excellent balance of formal and informal living space
Contact: Ellen Seifts, Prudential Connecticut Realty, 860-214-3540
Larry Greene is a freelance writer based in Norwich.
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