World-renowned pianist Frederic Chiu and award-winning sculptor Jeanine Esposito are listing their property in Westport, Conn.which comes with a real dose of history, for $2.59 million.
The Colonial Revival, at 52 Weston Road, dates back to 1806. At 9,700 square feet, it comes with seven bedrooms and sits on 2.63 acres.
From 1826 to 1889, the property was part of a larger estate owned by a banker named Morris Ketchum; it was then known as the Hockanum estate. correspondence between Ketchum and Abraham Lincoln catch a glimpse of the latter by visiting his grounds, and it also seems likely that George Washington held a Revolutionary War fundraiser there or nearby. The local, undocumented tradition also includes Rock Hudson and Buffalo Bill. What is certain: Frederick Law Olmsted, the co-creator of Central Park, also visited.
Beyond history, the grounds feature mature tree specimens, including several that were supposedly “extras” from Olmsted’s Central Park project, including a 400-year-old copper beech, one of only four in the state. The property also includes tall cypress trees and a Kentucky yellowwood that are “very rare, especially in Connecticut,” Esposito told Gimme Shelter.
The main house features a rounded music room, formal dining room, chef’s kitchen, and en-suite master bedroom with curved walls and a balcony overlooking the gardens. Original details include antique wide plank flooring from an 18th century farmhouse and four fireplaces. There is also a 2,000 square foot carriage house, featuring one bedroom, one bathroom and beamed ceilings, which is zoned as a legal rental.
There’s also a 350-square-foot studio building with a full bathroom that’s like a “little hotel suite,” Esposito said. The grounds also include plenty of room to build a pool.
The owners purchased the property for $1.5 million in 2011. The residence has also been home, for the past 12 years, to Beechwood Arts and Innovation, a nonprofit community organization. It’s where they’ve organized more than 100 “art immersion lounges” to showcase artists and performers, including Grammy Award-winner Joshua Bell, who is one of the artists who autographed the “singing wall” in the breakfast room.
Esposito tells Gimme that the couple will be staying in Connecticut, near Westport, and “will continue to run Beechwood Arts and Innovation.”
“Frederic is starting to travel a lot again with concerts, judging competitions, and teaching full time at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh and the Hartt School in Hartford, and I’m a 35-year-old innovation consultant and I also travel, so we’re having fewer events. in Beechwood and they need more flexible living spaces to accommodate that,” he added. Beechwood, he added, “is a truly magical place where so much has been shared artistically and in terms of community connection, and it’s bittersweet to leave.”
The listing agent is Cyd Hamer of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty.