Listing ID: 3087725
Tour ID: 53240
Listing Type: For Sale
Full Bathrooms: 8
Half Bathrooms: 3
Garage bays: 4
Additional Garage: 2
Floors Above Ground: 2
Basement: Fully Finished
Property Type: Single Family
Lot Size: 15 acres
Clear vision and imagination. Scrupulous attention to detail. Infinite passion and patience. All came into play to give glorious rebirth to the historic Stevens Estate.
It was the estate’s distinguished history that persuaded its owner to return the residence to its former magnificence. Perched high on the prestigious Bernardsville Mountain, the original 1892 residence was the summer home of Robert Livingston Stevens. The Stevens family established an engineering dynasty by pioneering the use of steam engines to power locomotives and ships. The family also originated the America’s cup yacht races and provided the endowment for the world’s first college devoted to engineering—Stevens Institute of Technology.
In 1915 the owner of the estate, Mary Stevens Baird, became the guardian of her niece Millicent Hammond, whose mother perished in the sinking of the steamship Lusitania. From the age of five until her marriage, Millicent resided at the Stevens estate. After her marriage, Millicent Hammond Fenwick gained national recognition when she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives (1975-83). Public service was amplified with celebrity when Millicent was chosen as the model for the aristocratic, pipe-smoking Lacey Davenport in the popular comic strip, Doonesbury. Mrs. Fenwick also served as the first U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture.
Inspired at its inception by Newport’s late 1800’s architecture, the home’s exterior retains this romantic genre’s unconventional symmetry, husky gables, peaked copper turrets, cedar-shingled roofs and siding.
Working in creative harmony with the current owner, architect Jeffrey Beer brought to bear his uncanny abilities to create dynamic interior spaces. Original living areas were reconstructed and extraneous areas removed making way for an entire new wing. Added were a grand main and “hobby” kitchen, breakfast room overlooking the terrace and pool and family room whose reclaimed ceiling trusses are but one of many architectural accents and materials gathered from around the world.
Architectural surprises and visual delights engage the senses throughout. Original stone walls, plaster ceilings, wood beams, hand painted murals and tile, oak and Jerusalem marble floors selectively prevail in the foyer, expansive living room, conservatory, pub, and formal dining room. On the second level, a high domed oak-plank ceiling adds dramatic impact to the master bedchamber. Indulgent his and her baths and a sitting room accompany. Further along, applied relief plaster artfully shapes trailing roses on the walls and ceiling of the “rose gallery”. Four additional bedrooms and a gentleman’s study sheathed with rare reclaimed wood paneling complete this level.
The entertainment level of the home re-creates a cobblestone Parisian lane flanked with quaint shops. Simulated street signs in the scenic courtyard point the way to the theater complete with lobby and café, the billiard room with full-service bar, media and game rooms and diner-style cabana café. For the wine connoisseur there is an extensive wine cellar complete with terra cotta wine racks, antique terra cotta tile floors and a spectacular tin ceiling.
Noteworthy are the home’s numerous tall windows framing spectacular views to its fifteen acres and their pastoral surround. French doors open to the property’s stone patios, expansive lawns, numerous islands of specimen plantings, and swimming and ornamental pools with statuary and fountains reminiscent of the legendary gardened estates of 18th century France.
Further enhancing this offering is an approved five-acre building lot as well as a refurbished four-bedroom caretaker’s cottage with detached two-car garage.