House of the Week: A 267-Year-Old Home With a Tavern Past

What drew Alan Kaufman to this 18th-century home in Lyme, CT was not the fact that Andrew Jackson regularly stayed here when it was an inn some two centuries ago. And it wasn’t licentious tales of Hollywood types carousing around the pool after a theater actress bought it in the 1930s.

It was the gorgeous stone tavern in the daylight basement.

“It has exposed beams and an almost walk-in size fireplace,” Kaufman said. “I entertain and do wine tastings down there, and when you open the huge double doors and come out of this tavern, there’s a stone terrace where you can sit and hear Eightmile River across the road.”

Now on the market for $820,000, the home was built in 1749 as a tavern and inn for stagecoaches on their way to Salem, CT.

“It was a house ahead of its time,” Kaufman said, noting that its open living-area floor plan does not appear to have changed much, and that the ceilings on the two main floors are higher than most colonial homes enjoy.

With more than 3,500 square feet, it has four bedrooms — two with attached bathrooms, two with fireplaces, and one with a dressing room — plus six working fireplaces.

One new addition is the light-filled kitchen, whose chestnut center island matches the exposed chestnut beams found in the home’s other living spaces. (There’s also a rare old chestnut tree on the property.) The kitchen opens onto a sun room with floor-to-ceiling windows and an informal dining area.

A formal dining room with a fireplace complements three living rooms that wrap around a center chimney. Kaufman, who turned two of those rooms into a library and media room, loves living in the “antique home.”

“One of the charms of an 18th-century house is that everything is solid, and it has a certain innate charm to it,” Kaufman said. “You feel good in it. It gives you a sense of real comfort.”

The listing agents are Jennifer Caulfield and Jane Pfeffer of William Pitt and Julia B. Fee/Sotheby’s International Real Estate.

Photos by Dennis Carbo.

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