In the early 1930s, Bennett Cerf, head of the Modern Library and Random House publishing companies bought an estate tucked away on 9.6 bucolic acres on the banks of the Kisco River in northeast New Castle. It contained a comfortable Colonial Revival house, built in 1927, with a two-story veranda that gave the estate its name–The Columns. Cerf married Phyllis Fraser in 1940, and in the succeeding decades he became even more celebrated as a compiler of humor books and as a panelist on the television show “What’s My Line.” The Cerf’s made The Columns their country home until Bennett’s death in 1971. Phyllis Cerf then married former New York City mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr., and the Wagner’s continued to live part time at the estate until Robert’s death in 1991.
The guest cottage provided hospitality to many Cerf and Wagner family members, friends and business associates over the years, including Frank Sinatra, Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), and John F. Kennedy. Over the past 20 years, the current owners have substantially renovated the house without sacrificing its basic character. This picturesque estate radiates the charm and warmth of yesteryear plus wonderful amenities throughout the pastoral landscape.
Sited at the end of a long private drive, this inviting home offers sophistication and comfort within its nearly 6,000 square feet of living space. Highlights include beautifully-scaled formal rooms, all painstakingly crafted with handsome fireplaces, beautiful paneling, fine molding and built-in bookshelves ample enough for the most avid of bibliophiles. The totally renovated kitchen, appointed to delight the most discerning cook, is complemented by a butler’s pantry and breakfast area that opens to a sunny terrace, perfect for al fresco dining. The expansive Master Suite, one of eight bedrooms, is a retreat in itself, featuring his and her baths, closets galore, a dressing room, and office with porch and balcony–all with stunning views. Vistas of the tranquil surroundings can be enjoyed throughout the home while the veranda offers an unforgettable backdrop for outdoor entertaining overlooking the glistening river.
Sports enthusiasts will savor the heated pool, pool house, two-hole golf course with three tees, tennis and basketball court, and two ponds while gardeners will enjoy the Lord & Burnham greenhouse, perennial gardens, vegetable gardens and verdant landscape. The guest house and caretakers cottage offer additional accommodations.
“Unsurpassed scenery and superior comfort are combined in this tranquil haven to create the ultimate lifestyle for enjoying both everyday living and memorable entertaining,” says Susan Battaglia, listing agent for this property.
To learn more about this historical homestead, visit www.susanbattaglia.houlihanlawrence.com