Owner-designed in East Lyme, with views for miles
By G.A. Peck
Realtor Kiara Rusconi describes the five-bedroom custom-built colonial at 7 Darrows Court in East Lyme as a “gorgeous knoll-top property that balances grand-scale living with the intimate feeling of home.” Rusconi, who is affiliated with William Raveis’ Glastonbury brokerage, is the listing agent for the property, and she recently introduced her clients, Camille and Mark Alberti to Welcome Home. The couple shared their memories about building the house and their cherished years living here.
“We’ve lived in a lot of different homes. With this home, we designed a kind of an amalgamation of all the parts of all the different homes that we’ve loved,” Mrs. Alberti explained.
The couple found the land first, a 3.24-acre lot that borders undeveloped conservation land.
“One reason why we bought the land here is because it’s one of the higher points in East Lyme. It’s like a couple hundred feet above sea level, so you have these views four and five miles out — wonderful views,” Mr. Alberti noted.
Then, they enlisted the help of a local builder to bring their vision to life.
The double-height foyer they created, with a center staircase and two butterfly landings atop either side, is an introduction to the home, designed for making memories. “We had the idea of someone wanting to come down the steps in a wedding dress,” she said.
“We knew we wanted to have a bedroom and bathroom on the first floor, in case either sets of our parents might at some point come live with us. Though that never happened, we were prepared for it, but we’ve used that as a guest suite with its own bath,” Mrs. Alberti added.
One of their favorite rooms in the home became the great room, with a soaring ceiling and three Palladian windows. It expands out from the kitchen and incorporates both family room and breakfast rooms in the 32-by-24-foot space.
“There’s so much room in there,” she attested. “We’ve had up to probably 40 or more people in that space.”
In addition to the breakfast room for casual dining, the floor plan affords a more formal dining room, as well.
Buyers considering this home will quickly notice the striking hardwood floors, crafted in Brazilian walnut, which are carried throughout most of the house, with the exceptions of bedrooms and baths.
“They’re 5-inch planks, and I had to find a specific dealer who had them, and he forced me to put in a humidity-control air system that prevents the wood from separating,” Mr. Alberti recalled.
They topped their 10-foot kitchen island in American walnut, installed custom cabinets, granite countertops, and high-end appliances, including a Viking range with a grill and two ovens.
“We wanted to make sure that we also had two staircases, so there would be a circular flow to the house,” Mrs. Alberti noted.
They asked the builder to account for other practical features, like the oversized mudroom that could accommodate shoes, outerwear, school and sports gear.
For buyers who may need a home office or more than one, Mr. Alberti noted that the sunroom makes for a bright, quiet space well suited to conducting business. Another upper-level room, which they’ve used as a music room, is another home office option.
Above the attached three-car garage, they created a bonus room that could be leveraged as a playroom, secondary family room, or as a media/rec room, perhaps. With a full bath at the bottom of the stairs leading to the bonus room, it could be closed off to make private living quarters for an au pair, Mrs. Alberti suggested.
Mr. Alberti lauded his wife’s eye for architectural landscaping, for she personally designed the hardscaping around the pool, adding a pergola, a pool terrace, an outdoor kitchen and pool house. Two staircases connect the backyard deck — made of Trex composite decking — with the pool terrace. Because the back of the house is as much as 100-feet long, they didn’t want the pool to appear undersized in comparison, so they had it built to specifications of 42-by-20 feet to maintain proper scale and allow for more summertime swim space. As buyers may imagine themselves here, entertaining friends and family, the Albertis made memories of their own like that, hosting birthday celebrations, graduation parties and political fundraisers over the years.
“We’ve had many, many events over the years, in the summertime as well as the wintertime, and it’s just worked out really well,” Mrs. Alberti reflected.
Their family also had an excellent experience with East Lyme Public Schools. Their son graduated from the district, and his proud parents mentioned that he went on to thrive at college and beyond.
Before they came to East Lyme to make this home for their family, they’d lived in New York, but Mrs. Alberti appreciated “the pace of life” here in East Lyme. “It’s a more relaxed lifestyle,” she said. “It has a tremendous community feel about it. When you move here, you feel like you belong. … We also love being equidistant to entertainment. We can drive 15 minutes up to the Mohegan Sun for a concert or head west to Old Saybrook and visit the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center.”
Property: 7 Darrows Ct., East Lyme
Square Footage: 5,692
Asking Price: $1.495 million
Sellers’ Agent: Kiara C. Rusconi, William Raveis Real Estate, Glastonbury brokerage; Mobile: (860) 573-3382; Office: (860) 633-0111; firstname.lastname@example.org