Princeton, NJ, US
286 Carter Road
Originally a pre-revolutionary tavern, Green Valley Farm has undergone two renovations and expansions to become a homestead where the original 1760 structure blends imperceptibly with new spaces. Architect Bob Bennett worked to create the historic and gracious country house Green Valley Farm is today. New details, such as hand forged hinges, hardware, and sconces replicate the same character evidenced in the original sections of the house, where rough-hewn beams, wide floorboards and 18th century stonework remain. But it is Green Valley Farm's setting, 75 acres of rolling green fields, which defines the property. The azure blue pool flanked by two whimsical cabanas lies just outside the gourmet kitchen, with its French doors and floor-to-ceiling windows. An herb garden under the pantry window and a century-old formal garden at the end of the dining room terrace provide horticultural sanctuaries. The great room with its two story windows and original barn beams looks out over the apple orchard. The house is built for entertaining- from intimate dinner parties, to large scale benefits, weddings, campaign stops for politicians (the house has been visited twice by a sitting president), to various functions for state governors and congressmen- with clever traffic flow patterns and two charming bars- a copper-clad bar in the hallway to the great room, and a bar tucked between the living room and library. Of the five fireplaces, two- one in the dining room and one in the library- are original 18th century walk-ins. On the second floor, the master suite looks out over a grand lawn, pastures and a pond. Five more bedrooms and a study (or playroom) comprise the remainder of the second floor. Beyond the great room and above a three-car garage-gym, a lofty,light-filled office or studio space with black walnut beams from trees on the property support the cathedral ceiling. Of Green Valley Farm's 75 rolling acres, 70 are farmland-assessed and in natural habitat, hay fields, or open woods, requiring minimal to no maintenance. The Farm borders the Stony Brook River to the east, and preserved land to the west and north, all of which expand the rural vistas and protect the farm's privacy , although the town of Princeton is less than 4 miles away. The farm's gardens and orchard have been maintained without pesticides or herbicides. A large pond hosts fishing, swimming and the horses, skating and is an important part of the habitat for herons, kingfishers, bluebirds and innumerable other creatures that make their home there. The barn is equipped with four stalls, a wash stall, hayloft, and tack room. Designed for simplicity, so that the family's children could participate in caring for the horses, each stall opens to a pasture, so that the horses can come and go at will, significantly reducing the work involved in their upkeep. A separate section of the barn houses a workshop, tool room and storage space for large equipment. In addition to the barn there is a guest cottage, originally the carriage house, with a living room, kitchen and small dining area all above a three bay garage. Within an hour of Newark and Philadelphia airports, Green Valley Farm is a rare country house deceptively easy to maintain, steeped in the rural beauty surrounding it, and brilliantly located, minutes from exceptional schools, shops, rinks, crew facilities, ballet schools, and tennis among other activities. Nature and history permeate Green Valley Farm and will forever positively impact the lives of the children raised there and those fortunate enough to live there.