Archive for March, 2012

Everything is Rosey

Friday, March 30, 2012

We love this salmon colored clapboard house with grey shutters that sits in the middle of town. We understand that it is slated to be torn down and that is a crying shame!  It provides charming character to downtown Darien.  We don’t want to become a town that looks like everyone else up the Post Road.  Rosey Costello, the owner of  the pop up EVERYTHING IS ROSEY,  is renting the house until the owner tears it down.  The house adds so much to the already fun shopping experience here.  We are a small community and it is so nice to go into a shop where they know your name and make you feel like they are happy to see you.  So many of her friends work there and it must be the friendliest place in town.  Could they be having more fun!   All the items are whimsical yet serve a great purpose;  hostess gifts, teacher gifts, tins, soap dishes, tunics, and my favorite bags, bags and more bags.

We love that all the merchandise is under $100.  She also has colorful tunics, cover-ups and dresses to get your spring started.

Rosey has lived in Darien for 15 years and is a welcome addition to our revitalized downtown.






Rosie travels around the tri-state doing shows in addition to this shop.  Go visit her at 1015 Boston Post Road and pick up that gift you need or another bag for yourself.   This building has been empty for years and we hope that Rosey’s shop will make people see how charming the house is, and how nice it is in our downtown.  Please don’t tear it down!

Let’s move it! A mini market update

Sunday, March 25, 2012

What happens when properties are priced correctly?  They sell.  Plain and simple.  The market will move when buyers see some fair value. And, the proof is in the contract.


The last few weeks in the market has been busy here in Darien.  We have seen a lot of properties going into contract.  Not all, but many are  those that have gone through a few price corrections.  After months on the market sellers are beginning to see the reality of where buyers are going to feel it is time to take the plunge – at a  lower price.  It is what it is, and at the end of the day a house is only worth what someone is willing to pay.  I say it is all good. We are seeing movement in the market and that is good for everyone.



Put it all on the table: lots of bedrooms, no work needed and the right price.

28 Rocaton, asking $2,195,00, is exactly what most people are looking for in Darien.  Neighborhood with tons of kids, walking distance to trains and town, private, and most importantly all you need to do is bring a toothbrush (no, furniture is not included).  This house is done done done and there is plenty of space.  Not much of a yard, but my guess is that the kids are playing in the street around here.  There is virtually no traffic, and unless you live back there, there is no reason to be driving around back there.  This house went to contract in a few days. Listed by Chichi Mayhew at Kelly Associates.  THIS PROPERTY IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE



Keep Calm

Friday, March 23, 2012

Just when I think  “what have I done”  taking on this venture, a friend sends me this.  Made my day!

Farrow and Ball exterior door paint competition!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Have you seen the Farrow and Ball Great Outdoors competition for the best exterior door makeover? I have been planning on painting my house and was always going to keep my high-gloss black door. But this contest had me thinking, should I think outside the box a little more? Perhaps paint my door a whole new kind of color? A Parma Gray, Plummett or even Brassica (three of my favorites)? I saw a home on Delafield Island that was white brick with gorgeous blue-gray shutters. They were so elegant and unique; not blue yet not grey. Perhaps they were a Farrow and Ball color? Lamp Room Gray or Light Blue?


Love the curb appeal with the black shutters and green door


Farrow and Ball wants to see a picture of your exterior door showing the before and after difference. Whether it is your beach house, shed, front or back door, just take a photo and post it online by April 12th for a chance to win.


So instead of Spring cleaning, paint that door. It is amazing what a simple change can make for your whole house and the front door sets the tone for your curb appeal. They show you exactly how to do it and include a step-by-step guide (and would love even more if someone actually paints it themselves). Perhaps we will have our very first winner.

Pear Tree Paradise

Monday, March 19, 2012



I was reading an article in the latest athome  (Moffley Media) called “Rock Stars”, a piece on rock landscaping and rock design which becomes one with the house.  Well, if you want to see rock used in design and landscaping, you will want to see this new listing on Pear Tree Point.  As brokers we get to see beautiful houses and luxurious lifestyles that are a pleasure to bring to market.  This Pear Tree Point Sanctuary raises the bar for us here in Darien.   Certainly, the house and it’s superbly designed (Architect Mac Patterson) and crafted interior is something that will excite a buyer, but the outside is what brings this house to a standard not often seen.


The stonework: the fireplace, with a double hearth, is the centerpiece of the outdoor living area. The masterly crafted walls are a work of art.  The perfectly proportioned floor plan of the grounds and pool area, along with the outdoor kitchen and guest house,  gives you an unparalleled entertainment compound .  The “piece de resistance” it is the replica of the Stone of Accord.  This upright stone with a hole in the center ” has been used for centuries by tradesmen and married couples who would link their fingers through the hole signifying the renewal of their contracts”.  (the original is at Old Head golf course in Ireland).


The sighting of the house on the property ensures fantastic views of the water from the inside, and complete privacy around the pool and outdoor entertaining space.  If you are looking for a stunningly thought out property, this is it.  Note: the seashells in the driveway are a wonderful touch.

This property is offered for sale at $7,395,000 through Doug Milne and Sheree Frank at Kelly Associates.  If you are interested in seeing it, please contact us.


If you are working with an agent, this is not a solicitation. THIS PROPERTY HAS BEEN SOLD

Secret Garden

Friday, March 16, 2012

Very special in Salem Straits

We can’t say enough about this house.  Magical comes to mind.  Renovated with taste and style, no stone is left unturned for the buyer who looking for something  that really stands out in this market.  And the location doesn’t hurt either.  Lots of space for kids, friends, and fabulous parties on the terrace. This gorgeous brick country house built in 1919, perched in Salem Straits overlooking its magical garden and pool will whisper sweet nothings to you as you walk, no run,  to sign that contract!  This property is offered at $3,795,000 through Kelly associates.  If you would like to see this property, please contact us.  P. S.  Should have mentioned the coffer-ed ceilings in the dining room. They are stained a very dark mahogany; absolutely fabulous.   Was also thinking about how Miles Redd might decorate this house.  Check out his portfolio! .  Also fabulous!!!

If you are working with an agent, this is not a solicitation.


Great Buys

Friday, March 16, 2012

For buyers starting out in Darien, there are two great opportunities today on the market.  IF they are still available – they came on this week and will go fast – in our opinion, these are “best buys” on the market under $1,000,000.  Its hard to find something done, spacious and in a good location these days.  77 Mansfield and 103 Hollow Tree Ridge Road offer all of that.   Hollow Tree has a very good Master bath and a good bonus room. Mansfield feels very spacious downstairs with an open kitchen looking out onto a family room and yard.  At Mansfield, you can put in a second bath downstairs that would add value to this already well priced house.  Love that you can walk to Royle from 77 Mansfield too! Both properties really are “move in condition” and both are walking distance to Darien’s trains and other amenities.  Check them out!

If you would like to see either of these properties, please contact us.  Both of these properties are offered through Kelly Associates.


Livingroom at 77 Mansfield



If you are already working with an agent, this is not a solicitation.

Annie Mahoney in CT&G

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Fairfield Farmhouse

Congratulations to Annie Mahoney of Darien (and Royle school mom ) on her signature style featured in Connecticut Cottages & Gardens (read whole article here).   Her style is a perfect union of modern and timeless. Look at those blue velvet chairs!

I have always been struck by Annie’s sense of fun in her interiors.  There is always something a little unexpected and it always works.  Annie thinks outside the box, not afraid of using something that she picked up on the side of the road during spring cleanup and wrapping it in Cowtan and Tout. Her confidence should inspire us all!!  Congratulations Annie, and we look forward to more great things to come.

Annie helped us with the design of this blog and led us down our creative path (with the help of her IPhone app).  We credit her with pushing us to use what we love – that burnt orange on our Home Page.  On a side note, she is a wonderful, kind person, and an even better friend.

Fab Master Bath

Monday, March 12, 2012


Incredible Master Bath


This Master Bath sold me at this home at 13 Oak Park Avenue!  The kitchen may not be as FAB as the Master Bath, but how can you top this Waterworks-like bathroom.  It is stunning and we love that the vanity is painted a grey/blue instead of white.   The vaulted ceilings make the room soar-something you can easily do if you go up and use the attic space.  Most likely you will not need that little bit of space in the attic and it will pay dividends with that extra height.  It can give you a reason to buy that chandelier you have been wanting to buy….perhaps a great vintage pagoda find (check out Circa Who for some great ones). Calcutta-gold counter tops and radiant-heated floors makes it feel like your at the Mayflower Inn in Washington, Connecticut.

It is so nice to see a center hall in a smaller home, and just adds to the graciousness.   The sky-lit hallway upstairs drenches it in light and makes it feel so open and spacious.  It is a shame the light fixtures are not included because they just give it that little yet important touch (but you can buy them at Circa Lighting so don’t worry)!  For sale through Round Hill Partners in Greenwich.  If you are working with an agent, this is not a solicitation.  THIS HOUSE IS CURRENTLY NOT ON THE MARKET (5/4/12)

 Living room


Monday, March 12, 2012

John Rosselli is one of my favorites.  LOVE LOVE his style and way he encourages people to develop their own.  Check out this article that was in Elle Decor (  to see full article). Maybe it will give you some ideas, or encourage you to push the envelop a bit.

John Rosselli on Collecting

The home furnishing and antique collector imparts his wisdom

Written by Ingrid Abramovitch • Styled by Quy Nguyen • Photographed by Bjorn Wallander

Babe Paley was a regular customer, and interior designer Bunny Williams was so smitten with his good taste that she married him. Almost 60 years after John Rosselli opened his first shop in Manhattan, he presides over a thriving home furnishings empire that includes stores and showrooms filled with antiques, accessories, fabric, reproduction furniture, and lighting. In his charmingly diverse world, 18th-century chests mix with rusted barn siding, and inexpensive hurricane lamps mingle with Chinese porcelain. “Nothing makes me happier,” Rosselli says, “than finding some great, unusual, and amusing thing.”

Mix and Match

• I’m known for a truly eclectic mixture of furniture and objects. I buy what I like. It all comes together.

• I like furniture to have a little extra kick to it—a Portuguese influence on an English chair, or Irish furniture, which is a little bit flamboyant and cavalier. A wonderful midcentury coffee table, a fantastic mirror, or a pair of klismos chairs can be incorporated into any setting.

• Bring accessories from any part of the house and put them on the dining room table. Line up four or five blue-and-white vases and fill them with daisies. Go to Chinatown and buy Asian soup bowls, each one a different pattern, and place them on top of white china. Combine your grandmother’s china with contemporary plates. Mix and match.

Five Decorating Essentials

• A pair of side chairs. Put them on either side of a console or chest of drawers. Don’t go for the obvious—a pair of spindly Victorian chairs beside an antique chest. Instead, try a couple of cane-backed contemporary ones. It’s a wonderful look.

• A good mirror, unusual and oversize. Don’t be afraid of scale—take it right up to the ceiling. It elevates a room.

• Sconces. Go to Crate & Barrel—they have wonderful bronze ones.

• A rug. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Try Indian dhurries or plain sisal. A small Oriental on top of sisal is a great look.

• Candlesticks. Mix five or six kinds—glass, brass, silver—on a table. They don’t have to be in pairs.

Artful Arranging

• I like massing objects. I’m known for blue-and-white porcelain. A group of boxes—small, large—looks great on a table. At our house in Punta Cana, we collect white porcelain objects—ducks, chickens, fruit. Buy things individually, and before you know it you’ve got a collection.

• It’s been years since I’ve recovered a sofa. That’s because I have dogs. I simply wrap chairs and sofa cushions in fabric or in Indian cotton bedspreads. Or buy a sheet that’s the same color as the sofa, wrap it around the cushions, and throw it in the wash when it gets dirty.

• When you travel, bring something back. Turkey is like a treasure chest. I just got back from Lebanon, where I bought blown-glass bottles.

• Treat a garden like a room. Use objects—an urn, a seat, a small table where you can sit and have a drink. I love hurricane lamps. And today they make the most beautiful plastic dinnerware.

• Layer a cocktail table with objects: a box, candlesticks, a small sculpture. You want to give people something to pick up and fondle.




Celerie Kemble

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dramatic entry from Celerie Kemble's "Black & White (and a bit in between)"


Don’t let a fear of being tacky render you tasteless” Celerie Kemble reminds us. Her confidence and creativity in her projects show us all that you must bring adventure into the process of making the house you buy your home.  The bold pineapple wallpaper she pairs with a red glossy door in the front entry above  is a wonderful example of that.  For more fabulous ideas and inspiration be sure to buy both books (TO YOUR TASTE and Black & White) and check out her site at

We applaud Celerie for encouraging us to take risks without fearing the consequences and thank her so much for the inspiration for this blog (and especially the pineapple).   Surround yourselves with the things you love because that is what will make your house the home you have always dreamed of.

1 Ridge Acres Road

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I absolutely love 1 Ridge Acres Road.  This house oozes with charm and potential! Great patina inside and out.  It is not for the “everyman” here in Darien as you will not find that proverbial family room off the kitchen. But, honestly, do you really want to look at all those plastic toys and a big TV when you are in a gracious house like this! The pool off the screened in porch is beautiful; who needs a country club when you have a place like this. It needs a face lift, but go back for another look if you have taken a pass. Just imagine what Jeffrey Bilhuber could do to this four bedroom house For sale through Kelly Associates.  If you are working with a agent, this is not a solicitation.  THIS PROPERTY IS NO LONGER ON THE MARKET.

View from the screened in porch



Spring is almost here

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Kim and Abigail love to garden.  Stay tuned….

Welcome, Darien, to the Front Door

Saturday, March 10, 2012



What a perfect metaphor for the launch of our blog “Holly’s front door”.  Holly Hurd has been essential to our launch.  Not only very encouraging, Holly has been a resource of information that has been vital to our planning and the direction of our blog.  Her experience with her own business, VentureMom has been a guiding force for us.  She represents the “front door” for “Real in Darien .

To that end, Holly’s front door is somewhat of a symbol for us. Holly’s house, on Stephen Mather (for sale through Kelly Associates in Darien, CT) has many wonderful qualities that we like and are certain buyer will agree.  The front door is an example of how when doing a front door renovation, the details, can have an enormous impact on first impressions.  Holly wanted to have a door that represented the quality and esthetic of the 1930’s.  She researched and found just that.  The door knob, the key in the lock,  the weight of the door, the lead detailing in the custom windows surrounding the door all create the impact that we love to an entry way.   (Details on resourcing this kind of front door to come).

Notice detail in rosette

Looking out

We are so excited to launch this blog.  Thank you to Holly and all those who have supported and encouraged us.  “Like” us on Facebook, tell your friends, and read our posts on Facebook.  This is a work in progress, a journey through one open house at a time!

Lock and Key