Perhaps Middlebury’s oldest and most elegant homesteads, “Topsfield” was built c1926 for a scion of Waterbury’s brass industry, Chauncey Porter Goss and still remains in the family. It rests majestically on a hill overlooking a large and lovely meadow.
This noble house is designed after the Tudor Revival style, evidenced by the stone/half timbering exterior surmounted by a roof of substantial and thick slate tiles. Also notable of age and elegance is the faded whitewash of the partial brick façade, the imposing chimney stacks and the highly wrought copper gutters that garnish the corners of the building.
The gracious and stately interior is replete with detailed decorative moldings and quatrefoil carvings, evocative of the medieval designs that exemplify the romanticism of the Tudor style.
Each room and passageway is the epitome of style and grace: the stately front hall is flanked by a coat room and a powder room; directly ahead is a paneled library, warmed by a fireplace with a unique and stunning mantel, and offering an intimate and inviting window seat ensconced in a wide bay window; this comfortable reading nook overlooks the rolling meadow, with its mature trees and intersections of old stonewalls.
One step down from the front hall is a spacious and dignified living room with a stone fireplace and wet bar. A bank of windows and French doors that flank one wall again beckon to the meadow that rolls gently down the hill.
Turning left from the main hall finds one in the airy, light and expansive dining room. This stately room features a marble fireplace, built-in china closet, elaborate wood panels with intricate frieze work and hand-painted murals.
Again, there is a bank of windows and French doors that frame the pastoral and serene meadow beyond.
The kitchen suite features a relic from the past: a darling cutting room, with sink, is part of this space but also has an outside door leading, of course, to a cutting garden that was once nearby in former times. A butler’s pantry with requisite massive wooden drain board and period glass cabinetry complete the paradigm of the working kitchen on a grand estate.
The graciousness continues in the upstairs chambers, beginning with the handsomely detailed woodwork that leads to a double landing staircase. The four bedrooms are en suite and three have fireplaces; all feature ample closets with built-in cubbies, shelving and drawers.
Old world custom is evident in the back part of the house, fondly called the “children’s wing.” Here is found a discrete sewing room and three bedrooms that share a hall bath.
This historic house bespeaks a gentle era and the people who lived and played and worked in it. Its charm is redolent of the simplicity and nobility of that epoch.
Modernity does have its sway, however: there is an elevator and a generator for convenience and emergencies.