Old Lyme, Conn. | $1.325 Million
A late-19th-century Gothic Revival mansion with five bedrooms and five and a half bathrooms, on a 1.7-acre lot
One might have thought the most interesting thing about this house in southeastern Connecticut was that it belongs to Chris Elliott, the actor, comedian and writer, and his wife, Paula Niedert. But just as compelling is the identity of a previous owner: a local celebrity named Elizabeth Tashjian, better known as the Nut Lady. In 1972, Ms. Tashjian, an artist who inherited the property from her father, turned it into a cult attraction called the Nut Museum, ultimately charging three dollars and one nut as an entrance fee.
The Elliotts bought the house from a subsequent owner in 2008. Although it had been fixed up and endowed with central air-conditioning, they polished it, bringing in vintage and period-style fixtures, moldings and glass, and recreating a Victorian ambience with 21st-century comforts.
Old Lyme is a town about 100 miles northeast of New York and 120 miles southwest of Boston, with a seafaring past and a historically protected Main Street. This property is yards from the Lieutenant River boat launch and half a mile northeast of Ferry Landing State Park on the Connecticut River. According to Flood Factor, an online evaluation tool, its flood risk is minimal.
Size: 5,289 square feet
Price per square foot: $251
Indoors: Turning right from the central foyer and descending a few steps, you find a living room with hardwood floors, huge leaded casement windows and a ceiling ornamented with plaster moldings and hung with crystal chandeliers. The room extends more than 43 feet to the back of the house, ending with a red-marble fireplace topped by an elaborate mantel and mirror. A wide doorway hung with curtains on the left side of this room, facing back, leads to a cozier space that once held an organ and is now used for media viewing. Beyond it is a library with walls of built-in bookshelves.
Turning left from the entrance takes you into a dining room that is about 19 by 21 feet and has square oak paneling, built-in china cupboards, a marble fireplace and a quartet of stained-glass heraldic shields topping the casement windows at the front. Swinging doors lead into a butler’s pantry wrapped in refinished vintage cabinetry and furnished with a double sink made of German silver and countertops of zinc and wood.
The white kitchen beyond is more than 18 feet long and has a central island in the middle and a windowed breakfast nook at the end. The countertops are butcher block (cabinets) and granite (island), and there is a black-metal fireplace.
A small powder room off the dining room is varnished wood, from the wall cladding and the vanity to the louvered shutters under the stained-glass window.
The second floor offers a panoply of bedrooms, whose numbers can be adjusted. The floor plan shows up to seven, including a master suite that could easily colonize the full width and length of the building, thanks to the many connecting doorways. The master is anchored by a bedroom with a carved marble fireplace and leads into a two-part bathroom with vintage Carrara marble sinks and a basketweave-tile floor (beyond it is a dressing room, followed by a walk-in closet). Four additional bedrooms have access to private or Jack-and-Jill bathrooms, and three lead out to balconies. Only one room, in back, simply opens to a hallway.
The third floor is much smaller in area and includes a couple of rooms with peaked ceilings and Gothic-arched, diamond-paned dormer windows. One was used as an office and another as Mr. Elliott’s painting studio. There is also a full bathroom and a small bonus room.
In the basement, the family created a wine-tasting room. There is also an exercise room and an original soapstone sink. (Laundry facilities are on the second floor.)
Outdoor space: The house has a pair of antique lampposts imported from England at the entrance to the driveway, and a deep, covered front porch. The living room leads out to a long stone patio with lion sculptures that steps down to a lawn. Parking is in a detached two-bay garage.
Taxes: $10,275 (based on a tax assessment of $442,900)
Contact: Maddy Mattson, Coldwell Banker Realty, 860-575-4344; coldwellbanker.com
San Francisco | $1.325 Million
A two-story condo in a converted 1906 warehouse complex, with one bedroom and two bathrooms
This home is in Esprit Park, a 147-unit development that was the original headquarters of the Esprit clothing company. It is in Dogpatch, a formerly industrial waterfront enclave that is popular with tech workers who jump onto Interstate 280, a block west of this address, and drive downtown or to Silicon Valley. (Or they take convenient train or light-rail transportation to a variety of commuting points.)
The little neighborhood has a mix of restaurants, independent creative businesses and pocket green spaces, as well as a park a block from the complex that is also called Esprit. Food trucks stake out positions across the street several times a week. The Minnesota Street Project, an arts complex contained within three buildings, is a few short blocks away (the galleries are currently open by appointment).
The property is less than a mile south of Chase Center, the home of the Golden State Warriors basketball team, and the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay. It is about two miles southwest of Oracle Park, the Giants’ baseball stadium.
Size: 1,076 square feet
Price per square foot: $1,231
Indoors: The unit is entered directly from the street by way of a private front porch (it can also be reached from the back, through the garage). Inside is a living room with windows rising almost to the double-height ceiling, polished hardwood floors and walls of rough concrete and exposed brick. An open kitchen is built into a corner, with granite-topped wood cabinets, a movable island, a Bertazzoni range, a Liebherr refrigerator and a Bosch dishwasher. Beyond it, the ceiling drops, but not in an oppressive way, and there is a study area and a room that could be used as a dining room or den, as well as a full bathroom with a combined shower and tub.
A straight flight of stairs rises to the lofted bedroom and its en suite bathroom. The bedroom is carpeted and has exposed brick and a windowed wall. The bathroom includes a marbled-topped vanity with double sinks, and a marble-and-glass-walled shower.
Outdoor space: The back of the unit opens to a large communal courtyard with a reflecting pool. The complex also includes a second courtyard, a fitness room and a screening room. An underground garage contains parking for one car and additional storage.
Taxes: $16,563 (estimated), plus a $553 monthly homeowner fee that covers water, garbage, exterior and grounds maintenance and security
Contact: Cathy Robles, American Lighthouse Estates, 415-915-6013; alehomes.com
Charleston, S.C. | $1.325 Million
A circa-1880 clapboard “single” house with two bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms, on a 2,178-square-foot lot
Occupying a corner in the heart of the historic district, a block south of Broad Street and five blocks northwest of the Battery, this property was recently renovated with new heating and cooling systems, an updated kitchen and bathrooms, fresh paint, elegant wall and window treatments and custom rugs that are included in the sale. Its location in the middle of the lower peninsula requires flood insurance.
Size: 1,555 square feet
Price per square foot: $852
Indoors: A street door takes you to a long side porch that is open to a garden. A porch door opens to a foyer with heart-pine floors, a vintage staircase and grasscloth wallcovering. In the living room, the wallpaper is a blue floral, and in the dining room a gridded bamboo pattern covers the ceiling (the walls are painted pale aqua). Both rooms have dentil-trimmed crown molding and working fireplaces that have been converted to gas.
The kitchen mixes white cabinets and marble counters with stone-tile backsplashes and a copper hood and pot rack. The deep apron-front sink is farmhouse-style, and the appliances are stainless steel. Monkeys climb vines on the wallpapered walls of the powder room.
Bedrooms with gas fireplaces and en suite bathrooms are at either end of the second floor. The master faces front and has built-in wooden wall storage that floats above the heart-pine floors. The master bathroom includes a walk-in glass shower with a wall of hexagonal marble tile. The rear bedroom contains a reading alcove; its marble bathroom has a combined tub and shower and an adjacent laundry room. In between the two bedrooms are a study with a fireplace and a walk-in windowed closet. The upper level of the porch, or piazza, was enclosed in an earlier renovation to enlarge these spaces.
Outdoor space: The side garden is paved in stone and lush with trees and other greenery. A parking area and separate entrance are in the back.
Taxes: $18,839 (2019; if the house is used as a primary residence, taxes will be under $10,000)
Contact: Charles Sullivan, Carriage Properties, 843-367-8807; carriageprop.com
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