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Thursday, April 25 Real Estate

Historic barns part of Westport 1920s colonial

WESTPORT — When Joanne Weidhaas and her husband Andrew were moving out of New York City more than a decade ago, they wanted to find a historic home with enough privacy but also enough amenities to keep the family and guests entertained.

Weidhass said most historic homes weren’t a right fit, since many in Westport are on main streets. But this wasn’t the case with the 1923 colonial at 292 North Ave., where the house is on a cul-de-sac.

To their delight, the home had a swimming pool, an all-weather tennis court and an indoor half-court basketball court in the backyard of the 2-acre property.

Actor Bill Murray and his ex-wife Mickey lived there before them.

“I remember my husband saying this is just a whole other level of living,” Weidhaas said. “Both my husband and I work full time, so to have that good family time and the place to have without having to leave was really critical.”

The home also offered an old world charm and character that the Weidhaas couple quickly took to liking.

The original Fraser Farm Barn from the late 1800s anchors one side of the house, while the original Snowflake Lane Barn, which was moved from two blocks away, stands at the other end. The center home that connects the two barns was built in the 1970s, and the couple later added a garage to the Snowflake Lane Barn.

This kind of structure appealed to the couple, since Weidhaas’ husband grew up on a farm and she liked the combination of old and modern construction.

“It’s so peaceful with rolling hills and had lots of room for the kids,” she said. “We just fell in love with it and moved in January of 2007,” she said.

Weidhaas and her family lived at the home for 11 years and now live in California. During their time in Westport, they created many family memories and added their own style to the home through multiple additions.

They added cedar beams in the middle part of the home so the charm of the two barns would be more uniform throughout. They also built a stairway that leads to the guest suite and playroom in the basement, where the old garage used to be.

They built a new garage on the first floor with an entrance on North Avenue so it could be on the same level as the home, and they converted the old driveway to a backyard where their children could play on the grass or ride their bikes and scooters in the cul-de-sac along Fraser Road.

Weidhaas’ personal favorite was the hexagonal overhang and balcony they built above their hot tub.

“We have such great memories there with the family. We had our third child there. We’d have people come visit all the time from the city because there’s room, pool parties on the weekends with families, mini tennis tournaments,” she said. “It’s a beautiful and very private place to be.”

The seven-bedroom home is listed at about $2.5 million through Linda Skolnick, of Coldwell Banker.

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Skolnick, who has been a real estate agent in the area for about 25 years, likens the home to a quintessential oasis with a getaway feeling and yet proximity to Westport’s stores, restaurants, schools and train stations.

“You kind of are in the heart of Westport but you don’t have to leave because you have a pool, a tennis court, a basketball court. I feel like there’s something for everybody in the family and guests. It’s a house a lot of guests come to because there’s just so much to do here,” Skolnick said. “You don’t have to send your kids to camp. You can just come here.”

The 8,802-square-foot house has been on the market for a little less than a year and was rented for almost five years. Since then, interested buyers have ranged from New Yorkers to those with an international background.

Whoever the buyer is, Weidhaas said she hopes it will be someone who will appreciate the home as she and her family did.

“It’s a great place to bring people together but still everyone has their own space,” Weidhaas said.