Many a passer-by has wondered what lies behind the thick fieldstone walls and wrought iron gates at the bend of Princeton's fabled Cleveland Lane;the magnificant 16-room stone manor home and its magical grounds do not disappoint. The "front" of the European-inspired house faces inward toward a swathe of lawn stretching out from a stone terrace with koi pond. Extreme privacy prevails among rose gardens and secret hideaways. A rare residential design by architect Ernst Flagg, the home was built for Walter Colpitts, an associate of Brooklyn Bridge-builder, John Roebling. Whimsical ironwork throughout is Colpitts' own handiwork. His children are immortalized on a railing above the 5-bay carriage house, behind which his forge remains intact. The most recent colorful owner was art aficionado, hostess extraordinaire and bon vivant, Kristina Johnson. She must have seen the house itself as a work of art. Handmade Spanish tiles span the floors, heavy wood doors wear a geometric pattern, and carved corbels and archways adorn the cathedral Great Room with striking fireplace. Below is the handsome library, also lit by a fireplace. Off the 3-story foyer, the grandly proportioned dining room, lined with French doors, hosts lavish dinners and laidback brunches alike. Beyond the L-shaped kitchen, a trio of servants' rooms served by a full bath are now perfect offices. A sun-drenched family room, 2 suites and a third bedroom, also with its own bath, comprise the second floor, while a large guest suite enjoys the privacy of the entire top floor. A separate 2-bedroom apartment and a greenhouse flank the gravel drive. Like its past owners, this in-town estate is truly one-of-a-kind.
Princeton, New Jersey is equidistant from New York City and Philadelphia, about 50 miles from each, yet it’s anything but a drive-through municipality along the Northeast Corridor. Read more about luxury homes in Princeton