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‘21st century European chateau’ in Fairfield

July 27, 2017 GMT

FAIRFIELD - The lengthy hallway that runs through the middle of Liz Fox’s 12,914-square-foot home at 945 Sasco Hill Road is officially referred to as “the salon.”

But Fox has another name for the majestic passage that connects one end of the sweeping estate to the other.

“I call it the gallery, because it frames my art — which is the landscape,” she said.

Indeed, visible through the windows lining one side of the gallery are more than six acres of land, meticulously groomed, including not just flowers and plants, but also an orchard of fruit trees.

It wasn’t always this way. When Fox first bought the property — now for sale and listed at $4,999,000 — it was badly overgrown.

“Here sat six and a half acres and no one was doing anything with it,” she said. “To me, it was this piece of land that had this ‘Secret Garden’ type thing going on.”

Much like the titular garden in the classic Frances Hodgson Burnett novel, the property was looking for someone to bring it back to life. And Fox said she instantly saw potential in the piece of land.

“I saw just this feeling of Tuscany,” she said. “I saw tiers of land and an orchard. I’m an early riser, and I love to be out on the land.”

But, before she could make her dream a reality, there was a lot of work to do. Fox said the previous owner had allowed people to dump trash on the property. “It took me a year and a half just to clean it up,” she said.

The home that used to stand on the property was torn down, and Fox began plans for a new house. “I envisioned a country manor — a 21st century European chateau,” she said.

And that’s roughly what she got. Though construction on the six-bedroom, eight-bathroom house was finished in 2000, it looks like it was built centuries earlier.

There are hand-hewn beams throughout the home, and the beams and floor boards have been strategically worn to look older than they are, Fox said. Many of the home’s seven fireplaces were also made to look like antiques — including the one in the kitchen, which was made with new brick, fired to look old.

The aforementioned gallery/salon looks like something out of an old French movie, with its wooden columns lining the walls on one side, and leaded glass windows framing the viewing on the other. There’s a hidden staircase secreted in an alcove off of the gallery, because Fox said she’s never believed in ostentatious stairways.

“I prefer intimacy,” she said.

Fox said she is selling the house because, as her children grew up and moved out, it was just too big. But she loves both the house itself, and the meticulous work that went into crafting it alongside a team that included builders, plumbers, electricians, landscapers, assorted artisans and others.

“I really feel that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” she said. “I spent two years with this family of people who care as much as I did.”

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