Hot property Estate blends European style with Connecticut coastal setting
“The Pryory” is truly one of Greenwich’s Great Estate gems, combining the grand design of a 22-room Cotswold-style manor with a quintessentially New England coastal setting. One of 27 impressive estates that make up the Field Point Circle Association, the Pryory debuted in 1916 — the creation of architects Cross & Cross — commissioned by Samuel Frazier Pryor and his wife Ruby Jacques Pryor.
More than two decades ago, the current owners claimed the property as their own and settled in to the magnificent home, which presides over 2.4 acres with 75 feet of direct waterfront.
“We were blown away by the incredible view of the Sound,” the homeowner recalled their discovery of the special seaside property. “It wasn’t even a perfect day, it was just the absolute perfect view. We then did research about the neighbors and neighborhood, and were even more convinced that Field Point Circle was where we wanted to raise our family.”
It’s the vantage point and perspective the property affords that distinguishes it from other luxury-market properties along the shoreline.
“We restored the house in 1998,” the homeowner said. “We had all the wood stripped down on the first and second floor and the staircase [and] foyer. Sotheby’s then came in and did a French polish on all the wood — similar to what they would do with a fine piece of furniture.
“We used the original ‘navy’ blueprints to put the great room back to exactly what it looked like when the house was built,” she continued. “Years later, we purchased some historical photographs of the Pryory. One of the photos was of the original great room. The rooms were virtually the same.”
The entry foyer is a showstopper, with paneled walls and the wide main staircase that ascends the levels. When asked what guests say when they step into the space and see the front-to-back view all the way to the Sound, the owner said, “It is always amazement the first time.”
During their time here, the homeowners made other notable improvements — in a way, putting their own “stamp” on the historic property. Not long after they moved in, they renovated the kitchen.
“We put in two square center islands so people can move about more easily,” the owner recalled. “I was in a cooking group for about 15 years; we would all congregate around the kitchen islands for the demonstrations.”
Though decidedly grand and impressive, there’s nothing stony nor imposing about the warm and inviting interiors. In fact, the seller referred to it as “a great family house” and recounted some fond memories.
“The kids found a lot of different hiding places for ‘Man Hunt,’ when they were young,” the owner recalled. “My daughter also recently reminded me one of her fondest memories was having all of her friends race down the front stairs in their sleeping bags.”
The homeowners also welcomed friends and family to enumerable birthday, engagement, graduation and grandparents’ parties here. Holiday luncheons brought guests throughout the calendar year. Accommodating even the most daunting of guest lists by sheer number was never a problem here. She pointed out the dining room can comfortably manage a seated affair for up to 40 people. The formal living room has been known to seat as many as 80 guests, and the great room can entertain up to 100 people, she estimated.
Like the families who called this property home before them, the current owners even entertained celebrities, authors and dignitaries here, including a formal dinner once hosted for the president of El Salvador.
The gracious nature of the interiors and number of bedrooms ensures that the home can accommodate a large family or overnight and long-term guests. There are a total of eight bedrooms, including the master suite, which the owner described as “peaceful.” The suite comprises a decadent bath, a private sitting room or study, and two dressing rooms.
With the master suite’s windows open, it’s possible to hear the waves lapping at the shore and to breathe in the fresh salt air coming off the Sound.
The third level of the property has bonus space and a multi-bedroom apartment with its own kitchen and laundry — a fantastic feature for live-in staff or long-term guests.
The more than 20-year resident of Field Point Circle Association noted that all the homes here have lovely views, but the Pryory’s is extra special.
“The views are what differentiates it from most other properties,” the seller said. She remarked on the changing “scenery” of the seasons — tranquil boat traffic and regattas in the summertime, the falling leaves in the autumn, magnificent snowfalls during the winter, ferries in the distance year round. Plus, there are the marvelous moon phases. “It is like a beautiful painting that is there 24/7, 365 days a year.”
Listing agent: Robin Kencel,
Associate Broker, The Robin Kencel Group, Compass; (203) 249-2943 cell;firstname.lastname@example.org;