This is an idyllic estate in a rare and completely private setting consisting of 30 pastoral acres. Custom designed and built for Meagan and Alexander Julian, the residence takes its influence from the Prairie School and American Arts and Crafts movement. The late San Francisco architect and visionary, John Marsh Davis created a Craftsman, Shingle Style, hipped-roof home with large bay windows that takes inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright, Greene & Greene and Bernard Maybeck. Davis was widely recognized in the top echelon of American Architects who understood design in harmony with nature. The house and gardens have been featured nationally and internationally in numerous shelter (architectural) publications and design books. This home is destined to be an architectural treasure.
(left) A march of mahogany trimmed columns leads to the dramatic front door that is solid mahogany and 5’ wide. It opens into the main hall and (below) the William Morris inspired Mahogany stairwell that is breathtaking.
Staying true to the Arts and Crafts philosophy, the main level of the residence embraces the warmth of oversized, open living spaces that are not hindered by delineating walls, but rather promote the enjoyment of gathering together with family and friends. The warmth of mahogany French doors and expansive windows opens the house to the natural beauty of the property and the outdoors. There are breathtaking 180 degree views of the expansive 30 acres, distant apple orchard and the 2 large ponds from almost every window in the house. The ponds are stocked with fish and the upper pond has 2 aerating fountains that create a soothing symphony of water sounds.
The soaring rooms on the main level emphasize the vertical space with 11 foot ceilings throughout the main floor. Decending into the Living Room the ceilings rise to 13 feet tall.
The elegant Dining Room is 42 feet long and 13 feet wide and anchors the interior space of the house. It is lined on both sides with walls of floor to ceiling French doors that bathe the space with nature’s light and open out onto a beautiful brick patio landscaped with boxwood hedges and pollarded sycamores. This is the summer dining room and outdoor gathering space.
The only lighting is picture lighting at each end of the room. At night, individual gas lamps cast a romantic glow onto the high gloss reflective paint on the ceiling and glass doors. Candles are the only other source of light for evening dinners parties.
Looking down the length of the house through the dining room is the dramatic Living Room. The elaborate 6 foot tall Rumford fireplace is framed by multiple mahogany crown moldings that define the space as the focal point of the house. The room is surrounded by floor to ceiling solid mahogany bookcases. The 22 foot cathedral ceiling emphasizes the luminosity of natural light. There is a distinct and rare ethereal quality to the space. The two adjoining alcoves are large enough to accommodate a Grand Piano, media center or private art collection. This room has been designed to be lived in and enjoyed.
In the living room multiple mahogany crown moldings were painstakingly crafted in a dramatic scale fitting to the soaring space. The cathedral ceiling extends into the screened porch beyond which is a beautiful outdoor compliment to the space.
The kitchen is the heart of the house and was designed for enjoying the art of cooking and entertaining.
The counters are 38 1⁄2” tall with cabinet boxes 6” deeper than normal in order to accommodate the large sinks and provide generous workspace. Black Vermont slate in a matte finish is used for the kitchen counters and fireplace hearth. There is a dramatic display case with a long plate rack, glass windowed cabinets and open shelves for glassware and china. The back of the cabinets and shelves in the kitchen are mirrored to reflect light outward.
The kitchen cabinets are constructed of solid cherry and were hand crafted. Twin 36” Viking stoves are flanked by pot racks and crowned with a massive cherry framed mirror.
There is a large separate pantry with floor to ceiling shelves that are 12” deep, a second dishwasher, Sub Zero freezer and prep sink and prep island with under counter storage. There are bookcases for cookbooks and drawers for linens and cookware. All the glides in the kitchen and pantry are Hafele.
The home stays true to the craftsman’s aesthetics of quality. The wood floors are birch with a unique tortoise shell finish. The three fireplaces have classically designed Rumford fireboxes; widely recognized for exceptional efficiency and appreciated for their tall classic elegance. All the fireplaces have propane log starters.
There are no curtains or shades in the house, nor is there need for any in this rare, completely private setting.
The Master bedroom has expansive views of the property. The pine woodwork on the ceiling and the floor mirror one another with argyle, herringbone and graph plaid motifs. The soft driftwood stain is pretty and light. The large beams are clad with mahogany. The raised, Rumford fireplace can be seen and enjoyed from the bed. A fireplace surround, designed by raku artist Connie Leslie, features architectural elements and is a piece of fine art.
The Arts and Crafts elements of design are apparent on the exterior of the house. The shingles are coursed at 4 1⁄2 inches and give a rich texture to the house. Deep soffits are luxurious with a rich dark color that reflects the dancing light and water from the ponds.
The Julian’s worked closely with Davis who was renowned for his gift with landscape design and together they carefully planned the details of the gardens and property. The terraces that descend to the pond are defined with trim boxwood hedges that incorporate Alex’s signature “argyle” design to create separate garden spaces.
The property enjoys a 3,000 sq foot guesthouse/design studio, a pool house, pool, tennis court, greenhouse, caretaker’s cottage and other outbuildings. Located in Ridgefield, a quintessential historic New England town, it is an easy hours drive from Manhattan and the major airports. There is train service within 1 mile and a private airport within 10 miles.