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A Tale of Two Fairholmes

Nick Churton of the Houlihan Lawrence, London office enjoys visiting a sensational home in BelIe Haven, Greenwich, Connecticut.

I know two houses called Fairholme. Both are beautiful, large and grand. One is in Newport, Rhode Island overlooking the celebrated Cliff Walk. John F Kennedy used to swim in the pool. I’m not sure who has swum in the fabulous pool at the other Fairholme, but it’s likely some were also pretty important.

I visited this second Fairholme in Belle Haven, Greenwich, on a hot, high-summer day with the 2.74 acre garden in full bloom. Described as an English manor house, it is hard to argue. It melds Tudor and Elizabethan styles into a Tudorbethan corruption that works perfectly in this rarefied location. All the elements are here: high brick chimneys, tall gables with decorative bargeboards, half-timbered elevations with magnificent bay windows, sensational garden and the unmistakable feeling of dominance, security and pride - English characteristics that, some feel, are a little strained nowadays. But you can’t keep a good nation down, just as you can’t keep a good house down.

Fairholme has managed the years very well indeed. It was built in 1891 as a Gilded Age summerhouse for shipping magnate and philanthropist, Nathaniel Witherell. Successive owners have looked after the house beautifully. Today it sports an Alexa Hampton interior and delightful formal garden that nods to the French influence on the English country house.

I loved this house. It felt like home. But not just any home, it felt like a Fairholme.

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