Road Trip: The Return of the Lakeville-Salisbury House Tour
Who doesn’t love to peek inside private homes to see how friends and neighbors live? When the chance arises to do just that, especially in highly coveted spaces, it’s hard to resist an invitation.
On Saturday, September 8, in Northern Litchfield County, that invitation is extended to the general public. After a four-year hiatus, the Fall House Tour to benefit the Housatonic Child Care Center is back, with a self-guided itinerary including five of Lakeville and Salisbury’s most intriguing houses. The tour roster includes mostly antique homes, each designed with an eye toward modern life.
According to longtime HCCC board member Janet Manko, publisher and editor-in-chief at the Lakeville Journal Company, “The homes were chosen so there would be a range of styles and locations in the towns represented, from a contemporary lakeside shingle-style, to a historical in-town cottage, to a newly renovated antique Victorian.” Each home on the tour is filled with design, decorating and landscaping ideas; the collection makes for a perfect summer Saturday road trip.
Two classic yellow homes bookend this year’s tour: a newly renovated in-town Victorian, circa 1900, in Lakeville (right) at one end and, at the other, a sprawling Colonial farmhouse off Under Mountain Road in Salisbury. The Victorian house is newly renovated with period details throughout — including stained-glass windows inside and striking vintage lighting on the grounds. The husband claimed the barn as a home for his vintage car collection.
The owner of the Salisbury farmhouse, once part of a large dairy farm, refers to it as “just a big old family house,” but its landscaping, subtly sited pool, vegetable garden, and hayfield views are worthy of attention even before the front door opens. The 1890 house has three floors, each purposefully designed and appointed with antiques, artisan-created fixtures, and work by local artists and children who have lived in the house through the years.
If you’ve ever driven down Salmon Kill Road in Salisbury between late April and early May, you’ve probably barely avoided an accident when passing the charming antique home at the bend in the road known as The Daffodil House (left). The bulbs that produce thousands of daffodils each year are in hibernation until next spring, but the house they surround couldn’t be livelier or more filled with inspiration. The core of the house dates to 1797, but with its open living plan and new kitchen overlooking a perennial garden, it is as fresh as, well, a vibrant bunch of daffodils. The owner has been involved in interior design education and her house is a study in early Colonial design, art collecting, and display. According to the owner, famed antiques dealer John Rosselli (husband of decorating doyenne Bunny Williams) called it “The biggest small house he’s ever seen!”
An in-town house, 4 Main Street in Salisbury, is owned by a local entrepreneur and occupied by a former owner of two of the area’s iconic restaurants and country inns. Her taste and creativity enhance the classic bones of this hundred-year-old home. Despite its outward appearance, with gingerbread trim, wrap-around porch and vintage barn, its interior surprises with a state-of-the-art cook’s kitchen and the resident’s striking art collection, much of it created by family members.
After spending most of the tour in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, fast-forward to a contemporary shingle-style home on Washinee Lake, the more remote of Salisbury’s Twin Lakes. Now a landmark for area kayakers, the house was built as a dream retirement home for the owner, a woman, and was designed by Norfolk architect Kate Briggs Johnson. With graceful lines, soaring ceilings and antique accessories, the owner feels that a woman’s touch is evident throughout. That may be true, but her recent, later-in-life marriage has also proven that the house dreamed up by two women is just as welcoming to men. The couple’s extensive European travels have resulted in many of the house’s architectural details, including the wrought-iron Provencale front door, and in constantly evolving Italian recipes that the husband prepares and perfects in their open-plan kitchen.
The first HCCC House Tour was held in 1984, and it took place every year through 2008, the HCCC’s 40th anniversary. The organizer of the revived tour, former board member Hope Mongeau, says “It’s not always easy to get people to open up their homes, but this year all the homeowners were very excited about being on the tour… (They) are proud of their homes and they support the center and know how important this fundraiser is for HCCC.”
Manko, whose daughter attended the Housatonic Child Care Center 24 years ago, concurs: “The tour is a major fundraiser for a very important part of our community: young families who not only want, but need, high-quality child care.” The Center, which is NAEYC accredited, serves families in Salisbury, Lakeville and the surrounding towns and accepts children from age three months through preschool. —Freddi Greenberg
The HCCC House Tour
Saturday, September 8, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Tickets: $40 in advance at Salisbury Pharmacy, Sharon Pharmacy, and Salisbury Garden Center on Route 44, or call Barbara Peck at 860-671-0457.
On the day of the tour, tickets will be sold at the houses or in front of Salisbury and Lakeville Post Offices for $50. Maps will be provided where tickets are purchased. If you are accompanying someone with a map, any single house can be seen for $10, paid at the door.
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