Ten years ago, when Tony and Mary Cashman were house hunting, the stately stone and clapboard manor at 64 Far Hills Drive in Avon impressed the couple before they even set foot inside.
ÒWe fell in love with the house just from the curb appeal, Tony Cashman says. The outside is very striking. Massive stone fireplaces anchor three sides of the house while an arch of matching stonework draws the eye to the home's main entrance. Oversized windows, some arched, hint at a sun-filled interior.
Inside the nearly 7,000-square-foot house, the rooms felt spacious but not cavernous and offered magnificent views of the Farmington Valley. The Cashmans knew right away that they would turn the sloping backyard into an outdoor living space focused on the view.
After extensive renovations, the couple was quite content in their home and had no intention of listing it until a unique property in West Hartford tempted them. Leaving not only the house but also a close-knit community was a tough decision. I think that Far Hills is the best street in Greater Hartford, Cashman says of the hilly area of stately homes. It's a special street that's close to Farmington, West Hartford and Hartford. There are a lot of families here, and we've made some lasting friendships.
When viewing the property, prospective buyers will see a mature, pristine version of the home that first attracted the Cashmans. Their touches such as copper gutters and Ipe Mahogany wood for the decks expanded upon the architectural details original to the house. We wanted [the interior] to be very warm, very friendly, Cashman says of the 12-room house that he describes as sizable but livable.
The formal dining and living rooms flank the two-story foyer with its wainscoting detail, curved staircase and balcony. A fireplace, one of five in the home, contributes to the cozy, relaxing feel of the living room. The dining room also features a fireplace plus a butler's pantry outfitted with cabinetry and a granite and onyx wine bar that connects the space to the kitchen.
French doors in the kitchen dining area access the view and open to a large deck, an alfresco living space complete with an outdoor kitchen and grill. The indoor kitchen features white furniture-style cabinetry, stainless-steel appliances and a center island with breakfast bar. Pendant and recessed lighting draw attention to the onyx backsplash and the thick granite countertops with their sculpted triple edge.
The kitchen flows into the comfortable family room whose large bay window frames the view of the trees and valley. The view changes by the season, says listing agent Terry Spada of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services New England Properties. It's on fire during the fall and green in spring and summer.
Perhaps the most unusual room on the first floor is the office that Spada describes as a "delightful retreat." With a fireplace to ensure a feeling of coziness, the room is a work of art in natural cherry. The custom-made coffered ceiling, floors, molding, cabinetry and bookshelves are in warm wood tones.
Throughout the first floor, 10-1/2-foot ceilings contribute to the spacious feeling of the rooms. Architectural details such as coffered ceilings, triple crown molding, chair rails, recessed lighting and hardwood floors add visual interest. Amenities include a radiant-heated terracotta tile floor in the eat-in kitchen, two powder rooms, a laundry room and a back stairway to the second floor. "This [house] is for someone who loves to entertain but still wants a family home," Spada says.
Upstairs, the attention to the view continues with a light-drenched exercise room featuring windows overlooking the backyard. French doors open from the hallway to the space, which could easily become another bedroom, a media center or a second-floor family room.
There are five bedrooms. A full bath connects two rooms that could serve either as individual bedrooms or, as the homeowners chose, a guest suite with bedroom and sitting room.
The master bedroom also lays claim to a marble fireplace, abundant closet space and a master bath with European tiled shower, Jacuzzi and his-and-hers vanities with oversized mirrors and custom-built cabinetry.
What sets this house apart from others of its caliber is the backyard, which is particularly dramatic at night when lighting accents the stonework and the pool. The in-ground pool, complete with a pool house and a raised hot tub, lays at the foot of a series of tiers and steps that begin at the backyard lawn. Expansive patios offer settings for relaxing or entertaining.
"Because the view is really special, we had this vision for the yard," Cashman says. "We wanted to make the backyard our own, to make it as livable as the inside of the house. We wanted to make it our own little resort."
Turning the raw space into that at-home resort took about two years, Cashman says, adding that the design required almost 5,000 cubic yards of fill and special attention to drainage.
"I feel pleased with how [the backyard] came out and really blessed," Cashman says. "[The property] is a really special place and tough to leave, but it will be a special place for someone to call their own because the backyard is one-of-a-kind. Some family will have many years of great memories."
Sally Martino is a freelance writer based in Old Saybrook.
Property of the week
64 Far Hills Drive
Baths: 4 full, 2 half
Square footage: 6,782 square feet
Acreage: 1.39 acres
Tax rate: 26.32 mills
Best features: Spectacular views, in-ground pool and pool house,
expansive patio and entertaining space, outdoor kitchen
Contact: Terry Spada, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties, 860-306-3063, www.64farhills.com