Still in the process of selling off her holdings in Los Angeles — a bit more on that in a minute — television titan Shonda Rhimes has substantially beefed up her east coast residential portfolio with the $15.17 million acquisition of a by-every-standard lavish Connecticut compound.
First to report the off-market transaction, Mansion Global identified the sellers as Melissa and Doug Bernstein, married founders of the Melissa & Doug toy company, now owned by AEA Investors. The couple purchased the land in 2007 for $5 million and custom-built the massive mansion the following year. It was a subsequent report in the New York Post that pegged the previously unnamed buyer as the five-time Emmy nominated creator of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice,” “Scandal,” and “Bridgerton.”
In the northern reaches of affluent Westport, Conn., about five miles from the shore, and by far the most extravagant estate in an area of by no means inexpensive but much less grandiose homes, the 7.5-acre spread is anchored by a nearly 38,000-square-foot New England Colonial jam-packed with 11 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms, plus an additional three powder rooms. And that’s just the main house, folks!
Likely to get a makeover by Rhimes’s usual decorator of choice, Michael S. Smith, the luxuriously rustic interiors showcase several antique barns worth of reclaimed wood support posts and ceiling beams, a total of eight statement-making stone fireplaces, and more living rooms, lounges and dining areas than cats have lives. The colossal kitchen complex is complete with pizza oven, indoor grill and Kardashian-worthy pantry, and just off the kitchen, a Benihana-style teppanyaki room.
Bedrooms include a bunk room that will sleep ten and a homeowner’s retreat with private sitting room, morning (and late-night) bar, gigantic walk-in closet and dressing room, and huge bathroom with a hammered copper tub and a pebble-tiled steam shower. The main suite’s inviting veranda provides a verdant view over a football field sized expanse of lawn.
The main house, though, isn’t even the half of it when it comes to this baronial fiefdom. Along with an attached one-bedroom in-law residence, with its own entrance and two-car garage, there’s a 770-square-foot one-bed/one bath Cape Cod-style guesthouse.
Numerous other outbuildings include a charming ice-cream parlor and a 1,000-square-foot building (dubbed Club 6), which can be utilized as a teen lounge, dance studio or meditation space, while a barn-sized entertainment pavilion offers an astonishing array of leisure and recreation options. In addition to a cavernous lounge with professional bar, there’s a movie theater, a gym, a full-size indoor basketball court with viewing gallery, a two-lane bowling alley, an arcade, a billiards and video gaming lounge, an area devoted to board games, and a children’s playroom complete with play kitchen, fake supermarket, crafts area, and dress up space.
When venturing outside, the groomed estate offer vast terraces, flowering gardens, a lawn large enough to host a music festival, a children’s playground, and a resort-style swimming pool with sunning shelf, water slide and charming footbridge. A huge, open-air pavilion between the pool and sunken tennis court provides lots of shaded lounging and dining areas, a full kitchen and grilling area, and changing rooms.
With all the Connecticut spread offers, Rhimes and her children won’t have much reason to leave. However, when the powerhouse producer needs to be in New York, she can shack up in her sumptuous Manhattan bolt hole, a two-bedroom Park Avenue penthouse scooped up in 2018 for $11.75 million and had done over by Michael S. Smith before it was photographed for Architectural Digest.
Back in Los Angeles, Rhimes once owned four homes in ritzy Hancock Park and an adjacent neighborhood. One was sold some years agon, she still owns a Mediterranean duplex picked up back in 2007, a brick-clad Country English home, now listed at $6.25 million after first popping up at $6.5 million, has an accepted offer, and she shed a celeb-pedigreed mansion earlier this year for a whopping $21 million, about 2.5-times the $8.8 million she paid in 2014.