Treated with TLC, vintage Victorian has exquisite features
Published 12:24 pm, Friday, April 5, 2013
Anyone who appreciates the subtle beauty of a vintage Victorian will absolutely adore the 127-year-old house at 278 Noroton Ave. in Darien.
Right off the bat, the pastel tri-color scheme of green, yellow and brown is an authentic Victorian motif suggested by an art historian. The pristine paint job -- and the exterior in general -- is indicative of the care afforded this home for more than a century. Throughout its history, different owners -- including the current -- have made improvements. The house was originally commissioned in the early 1880s for Charles B. Fitch, Darien's first selectman circa 1911.
A wide wrap-around porch complements the front of the house. There's plenty of room for the glider, and a spacious circular outdoor turret on the southern corner offers a large covered area for dining and social events.
The porch continues around the south side of the house, where stairs go down to a cobblestone path that leads to a large, private, blue-stone patio in the back, off the kitchen.
While the house sits on but one-third of an acre, it's a wide-open, flat corner lot. The short cul-de-sac -- Pine Street, which abuts the property -- stretches the sense of quiet privacy out of time with century-old trees ending in an enormous open space at the far end of that short road.
More InformationABOUT THIS HOUSE
Address: 278 Noroton Ave., Darien
Year Built: 1886
Total Square Footage: 2,880
Number of Rooms: 10
Features: Walk-out basement, built-in workbench, wrap-around porch, blue stone patio, carport, ballet bar, claw-foot bathtub, steam radiators, stained-glass doors, heart pine flooring
Schools: Royle Elementary, Middlesex Middle, Darien High
Once inside the large, wooden double doors with stained-glass panels, the 9-foot-high ceilings give a real sense of the inherent grandeur and elegance of a Victorian design. Bull's-eye molding, original heart pine flooring, sliding pocket doors and a colossal vintage wooden bannister for the stairs in the front room combine to capture an antiquated warmth and style. The house also features the excellent inclusion of working hot water radiators, which not only provide clean, efficient heat, but are themselves precious sculpture-like pieces of history.
The front parlor, like most of the house, has large sash windows, which make the porch area feel part of the room. Next comes a clever media room, which has been updated with built-in speakers. Nearby is the formal dining room, which offers another example of Victorian style by way of its octagonal floor plan. The pattern repeats itself upstairs in the master bedroom.
The kitchen is a subtle add-on from the 1970s. The room is long and spacious, with tons of storage space and ample counter space. It has an adjoining laundry room and two separate entrances, including a large mud room at the rear of the house.
The second floor has four bedrooms, all of which share the elegance and timeless style of the structure. Unlike many Victorians, however, this one has ample closets built in, as well as some great bookshelves constructed in one room.
The third floor is a large, carpeted space and could double as a nanny apartment. The large main room has track lighting, storage areas and a good-sized bathroom with an enormous vintage iron tub with claw feet.
The basement is large and roomy. While it's unfinished, it's a very usable space. It features a giant built-in workbench and enough storage room to take the place of a garage.
And there's no existing garage, but a large, covered carport attached to the north side of the house provides weather-resistant access into the house.
This is a house that won't satisfy every 21st-century convenience in a lazy imagination, but it more than makes up for it in style and restored classicism.
This magnificent home clearly shows why such well-made, beautiful structures will always be in demand.
For more information or to set up an appointment to see the house, contact Sara Littlefield at 203-253-3350 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jarret Liotta is a freelance writer.