Because I’m a restless person and I need to move all the time. It’s time to move, then! Otherwise, there is no sane reason to sell this exquisite and lovingly renovated “four-over-four” Italianate Victorian house that was built in 1869 by the great-grandson of John Reading (the first governor of New Jersey and a hero of the Revolutionary War.)
Let me tell you about the place.
This handsome nine-room, four bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom house has everything, and needs NOTHING.
The most stunning feature of the house is a magnificent 1400sq library in the attic (with a romantic cupola and 360 degree views). This space, called “the Skybrary” (the library in the sky) was handcrafted for me over three years by a master woodworker. The Skybrary contains hidden drawers, secret cupboards and elaborately hand-carved shelves— also a king-sized built-in “napping bed” (for extra creative energy!) I wrote both “Committed” and “The Signature of All Things” here. The Skybrary has been written about rapturously in both the New York Times and O Magazine. This enchanting, unique creative space is too magical to be described, and must be seen to be believed. It is also heated, air-conditioned and well-insulated, for year-round use.
Other features of the home include:
- Four generous bedrooms, ranging in size from 18×16 to 16 x 14
- Elegant newly renovated eat-in chef’s kitchen with custom cabinets, marble counters, Bertazzoni six-burner range, woodburning stove, large double sink, dishwasher, cleverly hidden doors, and charming tin ceiling.
- Large new steam bath with natural stone details and imported Tunisian mosaics. (I imported them in my suitcase from North Africa.)
- Second bathroom with large, original claw-foot tub.
- Third bathroom with Japanese bidet-style toilet and remarkable Balinese sink
- High ceilings throughout the house, and Murano glass Italian chandelier in dining room.
- Honey-colored original oak hardwood floors (all floors and staircases beautifully and recently renovated)
- Original decorative crown molding.
- Custom silk and wool window treatments in each room. (With blackout shades in the bedrooms.)
- Marble fireplaces feature in both the living room and dining room, and have charming hidden shelves tucked behind them.
- A lovely private office-space/library with an English-gentleman’s feel. (High-speed wifi throughout property)
- Tastefully-designed small workout/yoga/home gym area
- Dry basement with French drains, carbon monoxide detector, built-in dehumidifying system, washer/drier, deep freezer and unique Terracotta wine cellar and tasting area (with storage for 500 bottles)
- Generous, airy wrap-around porch on two sides of the house, with dramatic river valley views and new Brazilian hardwood planking.
- Shaded and screened-in summer porch, with fans and new, subtle outdoor lighting.
- Outdoor bluestone dining/barbecue area (built by a master stonemason, using recovered old local stone)
- Stunning new copper roof with new copper gutters and new lightening rods.
- Freshly painted clapboard exterior
- Brand new security system and alarms, and a safe.
- One car garage/workshop, plus easy parking for three vehicles or more.
- 3/4 of an acre property, with lawn and established blooming trees (dogwoods, cherries, willows etc). The property also has beautifully maintained and romantic English cottage-style perennial and vegetable gardens with stone paths (and two working compost bins!) Fine asparagus beds and established strawberry patches and blueberry bushes. Working rain barrels. White picket fencing has been added, for the safety of pets and children.
- Unique and visionary perennial wildflower meadow, filled with native plants, and attractive to native birds and butterflies.
- A one-in-a-kind large stone wall carved with images of the Buddha’s life, imported from Indonesia and re-crafted in the gardens.
- WONDERFUL, kind, warm, quiet (and privacy-respecting) neighbors.
- Walking distance to safe, charming and artsy Frenchtown village (antiquing, shopping, fine dining, bike path, river recreation and one of New Jersey’s best elementary schools. Also nearby Waldorf and Montessori schools.)
- Surrounded by land-trust protected farms, woods and walking paths in every direction. (Eagle-nesting grounds in sight of the home.)
- 65 minutes to NYC and 80 minutes to Philadelphia. 45 minutes to Newark International Airport. Bus to Port Authority and the airport leaves right from town.
- Possibility for house to be sold furnished — tastefully decorated by our world-traveling selves.
- Access to contact information for existing gardeners, landscapers, housekeepers, responsible pet-sitters and handymen who all know the property well.
In conclusion, this property is a piece of heaven, in the quietest and most romantic corner of the state. It is private enough for two people to live in utter seclusion, but welcoming enough to absorb a giant and warm family reunion without anyone being crowded. It is a house that breathes light, air, space and tranquility. Summer parties on the lawn are just as appealing as cozy winter evenings alone by the woodstove. This is a home for readers, writers, artists, creatives, collectors, inventors, gardeners, dreamers, imaginative children, lovers of beauty. We’ve spent six years making every inch of this special place absolutely perfect and gorgeous, but now we are now moving on to the next chapter of our lives!
SO…is this the next chapter of YOUR life?