London has its Abbey Road, made famous by the Beatles' album of the same name, which features the Fab Four in its crosswalk.
Easton has its own Abbey Road, although its name was not inspired by the Beatles. Rather, the road got its moniker from an effort by the Tenth Order of Monks to build a monastery on a peaceful 30-acre parcel in town. The monks sought a location that was large, but intimate, and secluded, but accessible.
Construction of the monastery was under way when economics and other factors doomed the project. The monks' loss was a gain for those who came to own the 11 parcels along the cul-de-sac that was named Abbey Road and the magnificent homes that were built on each of those parcels. One of those homes has attracted the attention of a French filmmaker, and if his television pilot project finds success, then the colonial house at 25 Abbey Road will be immortalized on the small screen.
"We're honored that Demian Pictures would select our house for the pilot," said homeowner David Purcell. "I have felt like I have lived in Camelot. It's a very special home."
Director Jonathan Bucari agrees. He found the Purcells' house online through a real estate listing with Halstead Property and he felt it suited the main character, a senator. "The main character is Sen. Hamilton and my middle name is Hamilton. It's an interesting coincidence," Purcell said.
The film's cast includes Gabriel Rush, 13, a New York actor, who performs in the Broadway musical "Billy Elliott"; Ryan Jones, 11, of Darien; and Nicole Rhatigan, a native of New Canaan. Filming took place throughout the house, primarily in the library, living room and formal dining room.
"If you combine the value of this house, the value of the film equipment, and the value of the actors it's a $5 million production," Bucari said during a break in the filming on April 10.
"I have searched a long time for the perfect location. I asked a real estate agency to find me a beautiful, amazing house. My script needed to be improved because of this location," said Bucari, who called the filming "magic" and the house "impressive."
"Gorgeous house, best camera, best lenses and the best actors; the final product will be above anything I could think of," Bucari said.
Despite the temporary disruption of their household, David and Nancy Purcell said they were thrilled to welcome Demian Pictures into their home to film several pivotal scenes for "The Sacrificial Lamb," an FBI drama filled with political intrigue.
"I have learned so much so quickly. This has been the most wonderful experience," said Nancy Purcell, who was pulled into the filming as the production designer because of her interior design talent, which was apparent to the director. David Purcell served as an extra, playing an FBI agent in several scenes.
In between filming scenes, the cast and crew relaxed on the bluestone patio in the spacious backyard. One New York actress commented on the tranquility of the property, which abuts wetlands owned by the Bridgeport Hydraulic Company, guaranteeing that nothing will be constructed there and the house will retain its peaceful surroundings.
The house is remote enough that light pollution does not find its way into the night sky, and yet it is conveniently only minutes away from Route 25, with all its retail shops and restaurants.
The house was built in 2002 and has 5,700 square feet of living space, with the potential for substantially more if the cavernous basement was finished. There is a sizable workshop area and more than enough room to create a playroom or media room and still have lots of space left over for storage.
It's easy to see how a powerful senator, even a fictitious one, would select this house as his residence. The Purcell's home has detailed mill work, imported wallpapers and hardwood floors with mahogany inlaid room borders. The dramatic entrance foyer features mission-style railings framing the formal front staircase. There is also a rear staircase.
At the top of the front staircase there are two French doors leading to a balcony over the front entrance. This is an ideal stop in which to sit, relax and enjoy a view of the pond across the street, a remnant of the abbey project. David Purcell said the pond is stocked with pickerel and bass. "We kayak on the pond, and in the winter, when it freezes over, you can skate on it," Purcell said.
The gourmet kitchen features counters topped in unusual riverbed granite, which has cut and beveled edges. The butler's pantry between the kitchen and formal dining room has a tumbled marble backsplash, stainless sink and a beverage refrigerator.
Throughout the house there are three fireplaces. Those in the living room and master bedroom are marble and in the family room there is a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace with a raised hearth.
The master bedroom suite is located in a separate wing of the house, providing privacy, although its large sitting room has a separate entrance into the hallway and could be pressed into service as a bedroom, if necessary. It has its own full bath.
The master bath, which was used by Bucari for an emotionally powerful scene and the set up for a major plot twist, is cavernous and reminiscent of a far-off spa facility. The flooring comprises 100-year-old marine oak boards. It has a large steam shower and jetted tub -- both surrounded in Calcutta Gold marble, a bidet, twin vanities and a long, cushioned window seat between them. There is also a separate water closet.
On the third floor, there is another cavernous space, which features wall-to-wall carpeting, window seats and its own heating and cooling system.
For more information, or to set up an appointment to see the house, call Alison Sternberg of Halstead Property at 203-414-8693.
ABOUT THIS HOUSE
TYPE OF HOUSE: Colonial
ADDRESS: 25 Abbey Road, Easton
NUMBER OF ROOMS: 12
AMENITIES: 3-acre parcel, pond views, cul-de-sac, bluestone patio, gourmet kitchen with Surround Sound, imported light fixtures and wallpapers, three fireplaces, laundry room, mud room, zoned central air conditioning, large bluestone patio, balcony, exterior lighting, front and rear staircases, butler's pantry, wet bar, security system, landscaping with perennial gardens and specimen trees, paved circular driveway
OTHER INFORMATION: five bedrooms, five full and two half baths, three-car attached under house garage, full unfinished walk-out basement with large workshop area, zoned oil heat, walk-up attic, septic system, city water
SCHOOL: Samuel Staples Elementary, Helen Keller Middle, Joel Barlow High
TAX RATE: 22.400 mills
Friday, April 15, 2011