Waterbury House in Darien is not just “renovated.” While the historic good bones of the exterior have been well-maintained or refurbished, the interior of the five-bedroom home has been transformed by the current owners who purchased the property in 2008.—Steve Rossi photos

Fairfield County is known for its beautiful historic homes, many of which claim to have been “renovated and updated for today’s lifestyles.” That would be an understatement, however, when describing the Darien landmark home at l73 Middlesex Road. Known as Waterbury House, the original part of the home dates back to 1856 and was owned by members of the Waterbury family for several generations. The Darien Historical society has documented the original estate of 22 acres back to the 1700s.

Cheery pops of pink combine with neutrals in the family room off the kitchen.

Today, Waterbury House is not just “renovated.” While the historic good bones of the exterior have been well maintained or refurbished, the interior of the five bedroom home has literally been transformed by the current owners who purchased the property in 2008. No expense was spared and a great deal of thought went into the entire process which was done in two stages over a period of five years, using all new top of the line materials and appliances. The result is a truly extraordinary home with lots of sunlight, and graciously proportioned rooms, combining an historic landmark presence and a contemporary vibe inside with open flowing spaces.

The “Wow” factor is the heart of the home, the stunning new kitchen/family room, its grand size achieved through a sensitively designed first floor expansion of 800 sq. ft. at the rear of the house. The kitchen showpiece is a large center isle countertop created from the trunk of a maple tree split in half, exposing nature’s handiwork with its beautifully grained wood pattern.

The kitchen showpiece is a large center isle countertop, above, created from the trunk of a maple tree split in half.

There is also a second informal kitchen dining area with built in seating. The bright cheerful room also includes a large family seating area by a large fireplace and TV screen. An adjacent butler’s pantry connects the family room with the formal living room, and another generous passageway flows into a large multipurpose room behind the fireplace wall, currently used as a study. Multiple glass doors lead out to the expansive deck of Brazilian Ipe wood. The spacious flat back yard is beautifully landscaped with tall trees providing privacy and an historic red barn adding charm as well as storage space. Many former residents have stopped by to share their own stories of living in the house, and old timers recall that up until 2002, the barn had horses, and the house originally sat on over five acres with a small riding ring in the front.

A second addition on the driveway side added a spacious mudroom, half bath and open staircase down to an excavated lower level with a playroom, fifth bedroom and full bath. The mudroom hallway also leads to the kitchen, and a walk-in food pantry. The first floor includes a large formal dining room and the living room off the center hall which has its original classic mantelpiece. It flows easily into the afore-mentioned study at the rear of the house, providing expanded space for parties. Off the living room is also a small room with a wall of windows, ideal for a children’s playroom or an office as pocket doors provide privacy.  Another bonus is the enclosed front porch.

The home’s dining room features both modern and traditional characteristics

The second floor master suite has built in bookcases with a large TV space, his and her closets and a spacious bath. There are three additional bedrooms and two more new full baths. A staircase leads to an unfinished attic with two windows and the potential for one or two more bedrooms.

The vision for the recent transformation came from the current owners. The couple moved here when they were expecting their first child, and wanted a family-centric home that would work well with young children. “We didn’t necessarily seek out an historic house, but I wanted something unpredictable,” the wife explains. “We liked the modern trend of fewer but larger rooms, but we didn’t want to ignore the home’s original integrity, so we restored the outside and opened up the inside.”

Waterbury House is currently for sale. For more info, please contact Mimi Allen, William Pitt Sotheby’s International Real Estate, New Canaan, 203-249-7310.