Fourth Sunday in June, 11 am to 4 pm
Tour of Remarkable Homes
The Tour of Remarkable Homes, in its eighth year in 2020, is organized and hosted by the Madison Historical Society. Funds raised through this annual event are used for the maintenance of our historic properties, the conservation of our collection, and for our educational programming.
Together with generous grants and donations from MHS members and friends, the proceeds of the Tour enables us to continue to preserve and protect our historic properties and to care for our collection of treasures from Madison's rich past.
Each year the Tour provides the rare opportunity for guests to explore some of Madison’s most unique private residences. Each home is remarkable for its age, size, location, or distinctive architecture and landscaping. The homes can be visited in any order and at your own pace. You may wish to travel from house to house by car or by bicycle. Guides are stationed at each location to provide background information about each home and its interesting design features and history. The tour price includes a Tour Program Book, which serves as your admission to each property. The program book is full of useful information, including the tour map. Visit our Flickr page to see exterior images of the homes featured on this year's tour. For more information, scroll to the bottom of the page for the complete 2020 Tour of Remarkable Homes press release.
Important Visitor Information
Hours: 11 am to 4 pm, rain or shine
Date: Sunday June 23, 2019
Admission Fee: $35 prior to the event; $40 day of the event
Day of the event: Tickets are available for sale at Lee's Academy - 14 Meetinghouse Lane on the Madison green
Directions: I-95 North or South to Exit 61. Travel south on CT State Route 79 (Durham Road) to US Route 1 (Boston Post Road). Take a right turn on US Route 1 and travel a short distance to the west, and make a right onto Meetinghouse Lane on the eastern side of the Madison Green. Lee's Academy is located behind the Memorial Town Hall.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do I pick up tickets?
Guests can pick up advance-reservation tickets at Lee’s Academy, at 14 Meetinghouse Lane, between 10:30 am and 3 pm on the day of the tour. You will receive a program book that will serve as your admission ticket to each home. Tickets can also be purchased on the day of the event at this same location.
How do I pay for my ticket?
All forms of payment are accepted, including cash, check, or major credit cards. Please note that same-day ticket purchases are $40; tickets purchased in advance of the Tour day are $35.
Are children allowed on the Tour?
Infants and children ages twelve and older are welcome to attend, but, in general, the Tour is not intended for young children. You may carry your infant into the homes; please note that strollers and backpacks cannot be brought into any of the residences.
What is the tour route?
The homes are generally within a two-mile radius of Madison’s downtown historic district. The Home Tour Program Book includes a map to guide you to each property. Docents at each site can suggest recommended routes, but you may visit the homes in any order that you wish. Please note that, for the homeowners’ privacy and protection, we do not reveal the addresses before the event.
Are any hotels located close to the tour route?
Madison is a historic shoreline town with several lodging options close to the downtown historic district. The Madison Beach Hotel, the Scranton Seahorse Inn, and the Tidewater Inn all offer reduced rates for visitors attending the tour.
Is transportation provided?
You must provide your own transportation to each residence. The houses are as much as a few miles apart, so we recommend driving. Biking, however, is certainly an option. We strongly recommend comfortable walking shoes for your tour of the homes and their gardens.
What happens in the case of rain?
The tour goes on, rain or shine!
Where should I park?
You will find ample parking around the town green where you must check in to get your tour program book. The program book provides directions to the homes as well as instructions on where to park at each individual residence. In some instances, parking attendants will be present at the house to assist with traffic and to make parking suggestions.
Five Private Residences on View at the Madison Historical Society’s
Seventh Annual Tour of Remarkable Homes
Madison, CT - The Madison Historical Society will host its seventh annual Tour of Remarkable Homes on Sunday, June 23, 2019, from 11 am to 4 pm. The self-guided tour will feature three historic homes and two contemporary homes. One landmark property once served as a local gas station, and another was the backdrop for summer plays and legendary Halloween parties. One of the two contemporary homes hugs the banks of the Neck River, and the other lies just steps from Long Island Sound. This highly anticipated event offers visitors the rare opportunity to peek inside some of Madison’s most spectacular private residences.
A contemporary shingle-style home on the banks of the East River is a coastal oasis with old- world charm. The current owners bought the land with an existing foundation and, with the help of Point One Architects in Old Lyme, created a comfortable retreat for their family of five and three Jack Russell terriers. The 4,400-square-foot home with an attached two-car garage features coffered ceilings, hardwood floors, and a wall of south-facing windows on the main level. An expansive eat-in kitchen has a large center island, a wood-fired pizza oven, and marble-topped counters above Shaker-style cabinets. The neutral tones of grey, light blue, and off-white used throughout the house feel like an extension of the outdoors. The first-floor master bedroom connects to an ensuite bathroom featuring a soaking tub and a separate shower surround, accessed via a hallway of built-in closets.
A gracious staircase with a Craftsman-style newel post leads to the second floor. The upper level features four bedrooms and three full bathrooms. Also here is a family game room with a balcony with a hot tub and ipe hardwood decking. A small outbuilding located just steps from the main house offers a workout room on its lower level and another family space with a bar and full bath on the second floor. This gorgeous riverfront home is a hidden gem.
The 1897 Swiss chalet-style home known as “Oakledge” was named for an ancient oak tree that once grew on the property. Designed by Madison architect A. B. Willard for George and Mary Wilcox, the house was built on an estate that originally encompassed all the land on both sides of Island Avenue from the Boston Post Road to the Sound. The home was considered the cultural center of Madison for decades. Constance Wilcox, the only child of George and Mary, founded one of the nation’s first summer theater groups, which performed in an open space behind the home. Many charitable events, club meetings, and social gatherings—including Constance’s wedding to an Italian prince—were also held on the grounds.
The nearly 3,500-square-foot home is the perfect blend of old and new. A generous wraparound mahogany porch and original casement windows with diamond-shaped panes add to the charm of the house. The current owners have updated the architect’s design by reconfiguring the front stairs to allow for a first-floor half bath. New crown molding has been added throughout the home, and a new mantle adorns the living room fireplace, flanked by custom bookshelves filled with antique books. The eat-in kitchen has a French bistro flair, with its white tile backsplash and brass and glass shelves mounted above its sink. Dramatic landscaping improvements complete the refreshed scene here. The owners removed several trees to provide more sunlight; they installed a fieldstone patio with comfortable seating surrounding a fire pit; and they built a potting shed for garden tools. The history of Madison is intertwined with the history of Oakledge, beautifully restored to its former glory.
Built on a corner lot, the charming early-nineteenth-century yellow colonial with black shutters is known as the Zenas Wilcox House. Visitors enter the home through a mudroom and eat-in kitchen that were added in the mid-1980s. The current owner, wanting the new spaces to flow with the antique character of the house, used beams from an Ohio barn to support the addition’s vaulted ceiling. She used reclaimed chestnut boards from a Connecticut farmhouse to create its floor. The cover of a book of family recipes, published by the owner’s grandmother, inspired a brick surround that houses a stove that divides the space. The custom kitchen was built by local cabinet maker Thomas Korn. Much forethought and attention to detail was given to the design and use of the space. The detail of his artistry is apparent everywhere, as seen in the small cabinet above the poured-concrete counters; a stowaway space for small appliances, it features a lovely reticulated pull-down shelf lined with tin.
The dining room was completely reimagined by the owner to reflect the home’s historic past. Again Korn worked his magic. He installed a Federal-style corner cabinet that houses a collection of antique porcelain, and he made raised-panel floating millwork, painted in a traditional grey/blue. The property is situated across from a horse pond where locals enjoying frogging in the warmer months and ice skating in the winter. Located on just over an acre of land, the home also features a heated pool, a sunroom, and a porch that utilizes stone repurposed from an earlier foundation.
The cedar-shingled contemporary colonial with deeded beach rights was completely redesigned by its current owners. Built in 1945, the house was expanded in the late 1990s and brought down to the studs for its most recent renovation. The 3,150-square-foot home features an open floor plan. The living room, with sixteen-foot vaulted ceilings, opens onto a limestone patio. In springtime, this space is transformed into a garden oasis. Banana trees in concrete containers are placed around the perimeter of the generously sized patio, offering visitors opportunities to relax in relative privacy.
The kitchen has a central island topped with limestone counters. Dark walnut cabinetry is offset by stainless steel appliances and the white oak floors that are used throughout the house. The owner’s flair for design is seen in surprising and delightful accents.. The first-floor workout room, for instance, features feather wall hangings that look like flowers and a collection of sepia-toned images from the Far East, while a guest bedroom has industrial tools that have been made into lamps. Among the most interesting aspects of the home are the two staircases that flank the living room. Original to the house, they lead to “wings” designed as separate entities—one side for the adults, the other for the owner’s eight grandchildren. One bedroom features a weathered wooden room divider that now serves as a headboard, while the kids’ space has an impressive acacia coffee table in front of a large wrap around sectional sofa that doubles as a bed. Located steps from the beach, this shoreline retreat uniquely showcases the owner’s design skills in a comfortable, casual setting.
The circa 1874 Greek Revival known as the William T. Graves House features an arched gable window and a front staircase banister, both typical of this architectural style. Until 1957, this landmark property located on the corner of the Boston Post Road and Liberty Street served as a small gas station and candle shop, complete with pumps, outhouses, and an oil barn. Multiple additions and renovations have taken place over the years, with major improvements in 2004 and 2018. The husband-and-wife team behind HGTV’s Former Glory completed the most recent renovations, with Gulick & Co. Renovation Contractors leading the construction and Smith & Madison Designs providing the interior design. Additionally, TEC Landscape Design rerouted the driveway and enclosed the backyard to orient the property toward Liberty Street and away from the Boston Post Road.
The owners’ love for Swedish design is reflected in the calm, light-filled retreat the team created for the family. Classic finishes, a neutral palette, and layered textures are found throughout the home, which mixes Swedish antiques with contemporary furnishings. Cherished collections are highlighted throughout the home. Rare books and castle lithographs are displayed in the sitting room, and Winnie-the-Pooh prints from the 1930s hang in the upstairs den. The third-floor home office has a signed Rolling Stones guitar and an extensive selection of Stones-themed books and art.
The kitchen features Shaker style cabinets, caesarstone countertops, a spacious pantry, and a custom island. In the living room, French doors flow seamlessly out to the screened porch with a gas fireplace for cozy enjoyment all season. Upstairs, the master suite is flooded with natural light, and the beams spanning the cathedral ceiling are fitted with up-lighting to cast a warm glow at night.
The Madison Historical Society is deeply grateful for the corporate sponsorship of the following real estate agencies: Coldwell Banker, Page Taft/Christie’s, William Raveis, and WIlliam Pitt Sothebys. Without their support and guidance, the tour would not be possible.
Tour tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the door and can be purchased at Walker Loden locations, online at www.madisonhistory.org, or by calling (203) 245-4567. A program book with a map of the featured properties can be collected the morning of the event at 14 Meetinghouse Lane on Madison’s historic green. All proceeds benefit the Madison Historical Society and support its mission of preserving and protecting the town’s rich cultural and architectural history.