Sugar Hill is an extraordinary property, fully befitting its rare provenance. Located only an hour from Manhattan, the sale of the ivy-laced Georgian manse was brokered by Karla Murtaugh at Neumann Real Estate, an exclusive Affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, and is the highest grossing sale since 2008. Murtaugh noted that there was multiple interest in the property resulting in the $5.2-million transaction.
Beautifully sited on 46.3 acres, Sugar Hill was constructed in 1939 by the esteemed firm of Noël and Miller (best known for the design of the Whitney Museum of American Art) and stands today as a symbol of a great American past meeting the hope and promise of a new generation. This classic, understated yet elegant seven-bedroom manor features an array of amenities including a grand indoor pool with full service changing rooms, an outdoor pool and cabana, a lighted tennis court, sprawling manicured lawns, and a greenhouse and potting shed for the garden enthusiast. A two-bedroom, two-bath guest house is the perfect complement to the classic manor along with a large detached garage for the car enthusiast, adding 6 additional heated garage spaces, for a total of 11 bays.
“Sugar Hill is an iconic property that exemplifies the ultimate country lifestyle” says Murtaugh. ”The exceptional Georgian architecture, perfect proportions, park-like, private setting and fabulous amenities it offers, make it the perfect full-time residence or weekend getaway from NYC.”
The home’s pedigree is beyond compare. The original owner, Wadsworth R. Lewis, was the son of Frederic E. Lewis a railroad tycoon and president of the Adams Express Company. The Lewis Fund continues to enrich the community through local Ridgefield charities such as the local library, the Boys and Girls Club, and Meals on Wheels.
From 1946-1966, the residence was home to Henry Luce an American magazine magnate and publisher of the Time, Inc. magazine empire, including titles such as Life, Sports Illustrated, and Fortune, and his wife, Clare Boothe Luce, Connecticut’s first elected Congresswoman and the first woman to be appointed to an ambassadorship by the then President Dwight David Eisenhower. Adding to her success, Clare, the playwright, proved a pioneer of the new feminist movement with her successful 1936’s smash satire, The Women.
The Sugar Hill estate was purchased in 1966 by Austrian-born Hans P. Kraus, the most celebrated book dealer & collector of this century. Among his vast collection at Sugar Hill was a Gutenberg Bible, a copy of the Declaration of Independence, and a first printing of the U.S. Constitution. He was a major contributor to the U.S. Library of Congress including the historic Kraus Collection of Sir Francis Drake.
In 1993, Basha Szymanska, a successful Wilhelmina fashion model and clothing designer discovered Sugar Hill while traveling through Ridgefield with her then husband and investment banker Perry J. Lewis. Basha started her fashion career in New York City where she was originally spotted by Oscar de la Renta at age 19. After 3o years in New York City, the transition to Sugar Hill was an easy one for Basha. Having immigrated from Poland in 1950, Basha never lost her love of country living and discovered living in Ridgefield one of her greatest joys. Over the years, Basha acquired adjoining properties, eventually expanding the estate to over 63 acres and always working to preserve the historic legacy of this great manor.
Today, natural light floods this decades-old residence through a multitude of French doors accenting the grand 12-foot walls, moldings, and wide hardwood floors. The newly renovated professional kitchen blends the old with the new and boasts modern appliances and a large teakwood prep area for full-scale entertaining. The spacious dining room adjoins a lush conservatory that is the perfect setting for mid-season dining or overflow seating, and the grand living room, with spectacular views of the property, accommodates a grand piano with ample room for relaxing or entertaining guests. The great library, adjoins a small study with a fireplace for quiet evenings and conversation. There are 10 fireplaces throughout the estate, several located in the bedrooms including one in the master bedroom with its oversized deck and views of the western sunset. Completing the second floor is a media room, and employee /staff wing with plenty of accommodation including a second laundry and a complete caretaker’s apartment.
Murtaugh also commented on the special nature of the town of Ridgefield with its cultural icons such as the Prospector Movie Theater, Ridgefield Playhouse and ACT of CT, impressive restaurants, boutique shopping and philanthropic activism. It also ranks the safest small town in America and is voted the number one town in Connecticut year after year by CT Magazine.