On the Market: Darien home may have been home to former first lady
DARIEN — Connecticut has connections to at least three women who were married to U.S. Presidents and lived in the White House.
According to the website www.firstladies.org, Edith Roosevelt — Theodore’s second wife, was born in Norwich and Hillary Clinton lived in the New Haven area from 1969-73 while studying at Yale Law School. Frances Folsom married President Grover Cleveland during his presidency. After Cleveland’s death, the website indicates she married Thomas Jex Preston Jr.
Local property records claim the Preston family had a three-house compound in the Tokeneke section of town including two on Old Farm Road and the colonial at 3 Tokeneke Trail. If true, Frances Folsom Cleveland Preston may have gone from the White House to this white-washed red brick house.
A magnificent copper beech tree stands at the entrance to the driveway and welcomes guests to the 1.2-acre level property that contains this spectacular French country-inspired home, which was built in 1920. The 4,217-square-foot house was remodeled and updated in 2013. That project also involved construction of a new addition, which gave the house a studio or bonus room above the new two-car garage, laundry room, back hall, mudroom, and a second half bath giving the first floor a formal powder room and casual half bath.
The sun porch was enclosed to create a year-round sunroom. The remodeling maintained the home’s European country elegance while giving it everything necessary for today’s family.
ABOUT THIS HOUSE
ADDRESS: 3 Tokeneke Trail
FEATURES: 1.2-acre level property, new roof, new septic system, rebuilt custom chimneys, stone patio, three fireplaces, wet bar, many new windows, sprinkler system, room for a pool, front and rear staircases, outbuilding, full unfinished basement, attached two-car garage, walking distance to Tokeneke Park and Long Island Sound, neighborhood association, five bedrooms, three full and two half baths
SCHOOLS: Tokeneke Elementary, Middlesex Middle, Darien High School
MILL RATE: 15.77 mills
The front façade of the house has small windows, which was typical of the 1920s era. Once inside it’s easy to see that the back of the south-facing house is infused with natural light through the numerous large windows and several sets of French doors to the bluestone patio and backyard, where there are attractive perennial gardens.
The front door is topped with a decorative arch and has a small window with diamond-shaped leaded glass panes. There are narrow slatted wood floors. The living, dining and family rooms each have a fireplace. The dining room also has a built-in bookshelf and long picture window to bring in light and a view of the attractive surroundings.
In the family room is a cathedral ceiling with exposed beams, built-in bookshelf, and French doors to the patio. The spacious chef’s kitchen and pantry have all that’s needed for small family gatherings or grand scale group entertaining. Kitchen features include granite counters, a farm sink and two other stainless sinks, hardwood floor, a checkerboard-patterned backsplash of beige and forest green ceramic tiles, and a built-in wine rack.
Among the high-end appliances are the Viking six-burner range and a refrigerator with a special chalkboard surface that allows the residents to create drawings, doodles, and special family messages. The center island has columns and separates the prep portion of the kitchen from the large eat-in area or breakfast room, which has French doors to the patio and yard.
The back hall has a built-in desk area and glass-front cabinets.
Upstairs, there are six bedrooms including two that share a Jack and Jill-style bath. One of the bedrooms is rather small and could be used as an office or nursery or nanny’s room. The studio above the garage is quite large and has a vaulted ceiling, ceiling fan, and a cozy built-in window seat with storage.
An attractive red out building was used as a shelter for the owners’ goats and chickens, which have since been moved to another property. The structure was thoroughly cleaned inside allowing it to be converted into a pool house, playhouse, office, or any other suitable function.
For more information or to make an appointment to see the house contact Fran Burger of William Raveis Real Estate at 203-209-6152 or firstname.lastname@example.org.