Music great Dave Brubeck is considered one of the pioneers of cool jazz, so it’s fitting that the late pianist’s Wilton, Conn., estate, which has just gone on the market for $2.75 million, is every bit as cool and eclectic as the man who had it built way back in 1963.
Sited on a woodsy 7.5-acre lot, the spacious 6,200 sq. ft. residence was directly inspired by a trip to Japan Brubeck took on tour nearly 60 years ago — one might say he was impressed. Upon his return to the states, the jazz master commissioned his friend, architect Beverly David Thorne, known for his expert ability to build beautiful homes on challenging terrain, to create a Japanese-inspired midcentury modern estate. There are 8 bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms.
The striking East-meets-West property, which is still currently owned by the Brubeck family, features multiple Nippon-inspired touches throughout the residence including a moon gate, shoji sliding doors and a Japanese-style garden with multiple fountains and bridges. Nestled into the tranquil Connecticut countryside, the midcentury architecture effortlessly blends into its idyllic surroundings.
In a rather unorthodox arrangement, the kitchen, dining room and a guest bedroom are all located on the top floor of the residence, while the living room is tucked down on the lower level. Though a bit retro, the roomy kitchen offers plenty of space to prepare meals and includes a breakfast area. The ambiance in the living room is light and airy, and features a curved wall (with an equally quirkily curved fireplace), plus a funky pair of pendant lanterns. Shoji screens slide open for access to a terrace that overlooks the backyard’s babbling brook and one-acre pond. Eye-catching (and nowadays exceedingly pricey) Nakashima-designed furniture fills the wood-sheathed formal dining room, which is partitioned from the kitchen by a pair of glass doors. Delicate shoji screens open the room up to a wraparound porch and solarium. The master bedroom suite looks out onto tree-top water views and features a porch, dressing room and full bathroom. One of the most unique areas of the house is its ground floors that features a curved stone staircase and holds Brubeck’s former music room, which still contains three pianos and an organ. Also on that level are the additional guest bedrooms.
Along with the home’s three fireplaces, other highlights of the house include soaring 20-foot-high ceilings, a flagstone terrace, an indoor pool and a gym. Though parts of the house have a few less-desirable ’60s design elements that could use some updating, the size, light and location of the property, with views of a pond, waterfall and expanses of wooded land, make it a fascinating potential endeavor for a creative buyer.
One of the home’s biggest draws was the music room, where Brubeck frequently rehearsed, much to the delight of curious neighbors. “When Dad was in his eighties, a fox would come and sit on the flagstones just beyond the sliding door by the piano and listen to him play,” Brubeck’s son Chris told Town and Country Magazine last year. Apparently even foxes need to take five, sometimes.