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Three Architectural Gems in Goldens Bridge, White Plains, and Bronxville; A Year-End Glance at Westchester’s Real Estate Market; Brooke Astor's Estate—Sold!

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Houses of the Week: Three Architectural Gems

What better way to close out the year than by focusing on three unusual finds—all architectural gems—still on the market!

Goldens Bridge Gem

$4.495 million
Annual property taxes: $18,026 (HONEST!)
175 Waccabuc Rd, Goldens Bridge
The yellow Greek Revival mansion known as the Brady House, perched prominently (and majestically) on 5.42 rolling acres, is a historic landmark with a pre-Revolutionary War history that’s as fascinating as its architecture. Having rescued the property in 1975 after it  wasabandoned and had fallen into disrepair, Ed and Judy Cusati dedicated themselves over their 36 years as owners to lovingly restoring the 18-room mansion to its original grandeur, carefully keeping its incredible character and charm intact. “This is a house for romantics who love history and architecture,” says Ed Cusati. After the Cusatis meticulously worked their restoration magic room by room, the home’s treasured features can now be admired and enjoyed, including the wood-beam ceilings, rare chestnut wide-planked floors, seven hand-carved fireplaces (two with beehive ovens), oversized center hallways and stairway landings, and rooms that reflect the elegant and graceful living of the time, like a formal double parlor with its four arches and a stone English pub. Without undermining its historic pedigree, the Cusatis were able to subtly incorporate modern conveniences, including a plush home theater. The intriguing history of the Brady House, which was built in 1827 by descendents of Simeon Brady, is well documented. “By 1880, the property had encompassed more than seventeen hundred acres and was the largest dairy farm in the Harlem Valley,” Cusati explains. Evidence of its past life clearly is still visible both inside and out. Cusati views himself as a caretaker of history and hopes the next owner will be just as committed to the property’s preservation. For more information, contact Ed Cusati at (914) 232-9449 or ecusati@bestweb.net, or visit www.oldhouses.com (listing #5549).   

White Plains Victorian

$1.199 million
Annual property taxes: $18,775
12 Vermont Ave, White Plains
Built in 1924, this stately, 12-room, three-story Victorian in the Prospect Park section of White Plains still retains its original grandeur and architectural distinction. “It has such phenomenal details for a house its age,” says listing agent Michael Graessle. “It will appeal to someone who appreciates Old World charm and is attracted to antique special features.” Some of those special features include inlaid floors, detailed woodwork, stained-glass windows, pocket doors, fireplaces with carved mantles, lofty ceilings, and surprisingly large rooms. A glass atrium (added next to the dining room in later years) only enhances the charm. “It’s clear someone spent a lot of time to make it so special,” Graessle notes. “Not only is it stately, but it also sits on an attractive piece of property.” Its positioning set back on nearly an acre of land just adds to its impressive curb appeal. For more information, contact Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty listing agent Michael Graessle at (914) 798-9131 or visit www.randrealty.com.

Former Bronxville Church

$1.995 million
Taxes: TBD
10 Tanglewylde Ave, Bronxville
If you’re a die-hard project person and love the thrill of immersing yourself in a major restoration or renovation, you’ll especially appreciate this rare find—a 1929 classic Colonial, originally designed as a Christian Science church, in the heart of Bronxville. It’s specifically zoned for Residential B use, so the path is cleared for converting it into a unique single-family or multi-family residence. “It has lots of history and great potential,” says listing agent Sheila Stoltz of the property, which was designed by New York City architect Bernhardt Muller. In addition to his residential work, Muller designed a number of Christian Science churches throughout New York and was a central figure in the design and development of Opa-Locka, Florida, a community completely designed around the Arabian Nights theme—including its architecture—during the late 1920s. The 5,750-square-foot Bronxville property is steeped in history and architectural detailing, including a grand columned entrance, soaring ceilings, circular windows, arched windows with art cathedral glass, dentil moldings, and a two-story portico. For more information, contact Houlihan Lawrence listing agent Sheila Stoltz at (914) 310-6220 or visit www.sheilastoltz.houlihanlawrence.com.

 

SOLD! Brooke Astor Estate Sells for $6.45 Million

It’s official. After three years on the market, the Brooke Astor estate, a Briarcliff Manor crown jewel known as Holly Hill, has sold. The December 14 closing not only marks the end of an era, it also brings the year (and the listing) to a satisfying close for Houlihan Lawrence listing agent David Turner. “It’s one of the last large estates in the region,” says Turner, who has been involved since it was first put on the market in 2008. “It was exciting to be involved in the sale of this property.” The 64.5-acre estate at 298 Scarborough Rd includes a spectacular 24-room over-10,000-square-foot-stone mansion, designed in 1927 by William Delano of the Delano & Aldrich architectural firm, with 13 bedrooms, 11 baths, and countless stand-out features like indoor and outdoor pools. Surrounded by lush grounds, it also includes a four-bedroom gardener’s cottage, a carriage house with a two-bedroom chauffeur’s apartment, and a barn that remained from 1913, before the original Tudor-style mansion was torn down to make way for its current replacement. “It’s an Old World estate on the original land that you just don’t see much anymore,” Turner notes. “Usually, property this size has been subdivided many times. It’s pristine and preserved in its original state.” The estate sold in two parcels zoned in two-acre minimum lots—a 44.5 acre parcel that includes all buildings and improvements on the site, and a separate 20-acre vacant parcel. As for selling at less than half of its original $12.9 million listing price: “It’s unfortunate that the timing coincided with a major downturn in the real estate market, but it comes down to fair pricing and what a buyer is willing to pay,” Turner says. “Even though we’re in a down market, this is still the highest sale ever for Briarcliff Manor.” Though the buyer remains unidentified, the word has spread that the estate was purchased by a family—not a developer—and that they plan to live on the property,  with an eye on preservation.

 

A Year-End Glance at Westchester’s Real Estate Market

As the end of the year approaches, it’s worth taking both a glance back and a look forward to gauge the state of Westchester’s real estate market. Things are looking up from the perspective of Michael Graessle, president of the Westchester Putnam Association of Realtors. “The housing market in Westchester is starting to see greater activity,” says Graessle. “A lot of factors have impacted the market. Most people immediately think of the economy, but there’s employment, which is fairly strong in Westchester, and low interest rates. When you factor in lower housing prices, it’s almost the perfect scenario for buyers.” Graessle finds the look forward encouraging. “We expect a very good spring,” he says. “All the indicators suggest this is a great time to buy. There’s a good inventory and people are beginning to feel more confident about their jobs.” But, he cautions against expecting a dramatic turnaround: “The recovery will be fairly slow and systematic.”

 

New Year, New Realtor Association

Bringing in the New Year will also bring in new leadership for the recently announced Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, a merger of three Hudson Valley realtor associations—the Westchester Putnam Association of Realtors, the Rockland County Board of Realtors, and the Orange County Association of Realtors. Effective January 1, the new realtor association will become one of the largest in the country with a membership of nearly 10,000. Taking the helm as leaders of the new group will be Nancy Kennedy of Houlihan Lawrence, president; Katheryn DeClerck of Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, president elect; Jerry Lott of Jerry Lott Associates, secretary-treasurer; Diane Cummins of Prudential Douglas Elliman, vice president Westchester-Putnam; Gail Fattizzi of Westchester Real Estate Inc., vice president Westchester-Putnam; Drew Kessler of ERA Tucker Associates, vice president Rockland, and John Lease, III of John J. Lease Realtors, vice president Orange.

We welcome information about fascinating homes on the market or real estate/home-related news and events. Contact Karen Odom at kodom@westchestermagazine.com.

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