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New Canaan Realtor Lists Her Own Home With Sense Of Nostalgia

The home at 587 Brookside Road in New Canaan is listed for sale for $2,895,000​ by Rachel Walsh of William Pitt Sotheby's International Realty.
The home at 587 Brookside Road in New Canaan is listed for sale for $2,895,000​ by Rachel Walsh of William Pitt Sotheby's International Realty. Photo Credit: Contributed by Rachel Walsh
The living room at 587 Brookside Road in New Canaan.
The living room at 587 Brookside Road in New Canaan. Photo Credit: Contributed by Rachel Walsh
A pub room includes a sink, wine refrigerator and wrap-around wood bar.
A pub room includes a sink, wine refrigerator and wrap-around wood bar. Photo Credit: Contributed by Rachel Walsh
The kitchen has been completely remodeled.
The kitchen has been completely remodeled. Photo Credit: Contributed by Rachel Walsh
The living room is light and bright.
The living room is light and bright. Photo Credit: Contributed by Rachel Walsh
The property includes 1.33 acres and has a huge backyard.
The property includes 1.33 acres and has a huge backyard. Photo Credit: Contributed by Rachel Walsh

NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- I​n a few years when ​Rachel Walsh reflects ​on ​living at 587 Brookside Road in New Canaan​, ​she’ll remember the ​prairie ​shoes. Certainly other aspects of the ​historic ​six-bedroom home will ​also ​be recalled, but she’ll always remember the shoes.

Walsh, an agent for William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty and based in New Canaan, recently listed the home for $​2,895,000​.

In the midst of ​a recent ​kitchen remodeling project at the house, which was built in 1890, Walsh ​was surprised to ​discover​ a pair of​ 19th century women’s prairie shoes ​that were ​concealed behind a w​a​ll​ that was taken down during construction​. “I called historical societies and museums ​in an effort to ​donate the shoes​.​’’ Walsh said. “​But then one of the historians told me about​ the practice of leaving ​a personal belonging of the owner to bring good luck and fortune to the home. One historian called them 'spirit shoes.'​"​

Walsh removed the shoes from the wall ​while calling the historical societies but then coincidence or not, the Walsh's personal stock portfolio took a minor hit. "Needless to say, those shoes went back in the wall even though a new wall had already been constructed!'' Walsh said. "My builder thought I was nuts."

The shoe story is just one of the unique aspects of the house, which was originally built for two sisters. The house ​is sited near the ​Darien ​border ​and Walsh said the home originally ​was within ​Darien’s borders​ when the street was formerly called Gracie Street​. “What we know ​about the house is due to many neighbors, past owners and local experts who told us that​ two sisters went to the south of France in the 1880s and came upon a house they loved,’’ Walsh said. “They found an architect to draw the house, came back to New Canaan and had it ​custom ​built.​ The sisters supposedly loved the idea of owning a truly one-of-a-kind house, and frankly, so do we.​”

The ​house was ​originally ​sited on a ​16 acre​ lot but then was inevitably sub-divided through the years​. Walsh’s plot includes 1.33 acres ​and the house is sited perfectly to allow for maximum sun exposure and a huge backyard. In addition to the main house, there is the original​ Carriage House,​ which has a fully renovated first and second floor, new windows, heating, cooling and propane heat. The Carriage House also has a working greenhouse where Peter Walsh has grown delicious tomatoes for years.

​"​The ​main house has been a joy to own," Walsh said.​ "Unlike other homes we've lived in, this one has a sense of peace and welcoming to it."

The kitchen ​was taken down to its studs and is a result of 4 small rooms and a closet being combined. It allowed for the Walshes to maximize the space, keep the architectural integrity of the home and also keep a floor-to-ceiling original brick fireplace intact. Modern upgrades were also added such as granite counters, ​a ​ceramic farm sink, a separate dimpled nickel sink, SubZero refrigerator, built-in Miele coffee maker and ​a ​DCS chef’s range.

The main house includes five bedrooms. The master suite has a hallway with a bay window ​that overlooks a 200 year-old Copper Beech tree and​ a heated ​and cooled ​sleeping porch/​sitting room flanked by a set of original arched windows​. “It’s my favorite room in the house,’’ Walsh said. There is also a marble bath with shower​ and a walk-in closet.​

T​here are t​wo more bedrooms on the second floor​ ​and two ​additional bedrooms​ on the third floor​, each floor with their own marble or limestone bath​. The lower level includes a​n office or playroom​, laundry room, powder room and ​an additional ​mudroom. ​There is a whole house generator which is less than 2-years old that also powers the Carriage House. ​

More unique features to the house include an open front porch ​with three front doors, ​and a pub room ​complete with a sink, wine refrigerator and wrap-around wood bar, ​tucked between the living and dining rooms.

Walsh and her husband, Peter, who raised three children in the home, worked diligently to preserve its heritage while also modernizing and updating it. Reclaimed flooring was ​sourced ​to match the antique ​fir​ floors where needed. There is also a newer roof, boiler, ​copper ​gutters, central air conditioning​, bathrooms​ and windows​, although Walsh said they kept any windows with unique architectural details or importance​. “There isn’t an inch of the house that hasn’t been touched​ and improved​’’ Walsh said. ​"It's been a labor of love."

The house includes triple arched doors and windows, and the ​property ​includes a large​ and ​level ​dry ​lot, ​i​nground ​heated ​pool, and mature plantings​ and trees, including numerous specimen trees such as a Weeping Hemlock​.

​ ​“When I woke up in the house for the first time I felt like I knew where everything was​ and that I was meant to be there​,’’ Walsh said. “As much as we chose the house, the house also chose us to be its keepers.”

Click here for the property listing. To arrange for a showing, contact Walsh at rwalsh@wpsir.com or ​by phone at ​ 203-912-5908.

Daily Voice produced this article as part of a paid Content Partnership with our advertiser, Rachel Walsh

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