Nothing makes Nora Murphy happier than decorating her Newtown, Connecticut, house for the holidays. Every year—for 10 years—she and husband, Rick, and son, Conor, drove by the dreamy Cape Cod on the way to visit her parents down country in Fairfield. And every single time they passed by, she would say: “The people who live in that house are so lucky.” After a decade of pining for the home, a “For Sale” sign popped up—and the family wagon stopped in its tracks. “I thought I would go in, check it out, and get it out of my system,” she says. “But instead I rushed home and gave Rick about a million reasons why we should buy it.” Rick didn’t need much convincing. “He liked it because it’s simple but very charming,” says Nora. “And there are so many windows, so it’s always filled with sunlight, which can be a rare thing for such an old house,” she says.
The move wasn’t exactly a trek. The Murphys’ previous home—a Cotswold-style stucco cottage—is only five miles away from the “new” house, but it may as well have been another world. Situated on two acres and bordered by the Centennial Watershed State Forest, the late 1700s historical home is surrounded by white balsam, cedar, and boxwoods.