Anthony and Charlie Champalimaud have a spiritual side. After the couple bought an 18th-century home in Litchfield, Conn., they hired a self-described energy healer to ensure that they would be welcomed by any previous residents.
The pair bought the five-bedroom, 3,800-square-foot home in the town’s historic district last year. They paid $900,000 for the 4-acre property, which also includes a 2,000-square-foot carriage house and a woodshed.
The healer’s fee was a small splurge of $1,000 following a renovation that cost $150,000. The couple updated the three-level home’s electrical and lighting systems, replastered ceilings, stripped wood paneling and painted.
The work transformed the house into a bright family home with a Scandinavian aesthetic, a nod to the Norwegian heritage of Ms. Champalimaud, 36 years old. Outside, the couple planted trees and are making plans for the carriage house.
“We both grew up in historic houses and like them for their patina, warmth and craft,” says Mr. Champalimaud, 42. “This house feels grounded. It’s not grand, but the scale and proportions are proper and lovely.”
After the renovation, the energy healer performed a ritual using incense, candles and salt to prepare for the home birth of the couple’s daughter, their second child, some three months later. They plan to one day convert their roomy attic into a playroom and two additional bedrooms.
The couple’s home is in the landmark historic district of Litchfield, a quaint New England village set in the hills of Northwest Connecticut about two hours from New York City. The area has many second-home residents.
The pair were living in a farmhouse in the town when they decided to downsize. They were drawn to their current home’s multiple 12 over 12 windows, its fireplaces and its four-room floor plan—unusual when the house was built, according to the Litchfield Historical Society.
The house’s most striking feature may be an original plastered wall decoration of repeating urns and sunbursts in the entrance hall. It was designed to imitate block-print wallpaper.
“It’s a bit faded but has stood up pretty well,” says Mr. Champalimaud.
At the time it was built, the home was one of the grandest in Litchfield, believed to be the work of master carpenter and architect William Sprats. It was commissioned by Dr. Daniel Sheldon, who lived there until his death at age 90 in 1840, after which his daughter moved in.
Behind the home is an original three-seat privy—the only extant example in Litchfield. The 19th-century carriage house has a tack room and stalls. The plan is to restore the first floor and add a climbing wall. The second floor would become a guest apartment.
The couple is considering buying horses, which are permitted in the town. They also plan to turn a nearby woodshed into a studio.
Mr. Champalimaud, speaking about the finishing touches to the home, said the interior colors are meant to be fun. The living room has rose walls with gray trim, the den is teal with a bold blue nook, and the main bedroom is an ocher that complements the woodwork.
The décor overall reflects the couple’s love of Midcentury Modern furniture mixed with antiques, folk art—including their collection by Winfred Rembert—and contemporary photography. A Saarinen table and Bertoia Diamond chairs are in the dining area. An early Chinese terra-cotta of a boy with a scythe was purchased from a local estate. The living room features an Old Master painting that hung in Mr. Champalimaud’s grandfather’s house in Estoril, Portugal. The home’s unvarnished wide-plank floors are covered with kilims.
The couple both have extensive experience in historic and cultural preservation. He has developed historic hotels in Europe. She worked for the Nordic World Heritage Foundation in Oslo.
Today, Mr. Champalimaud, a managing partner of The Working Group development company, also is an owner of the historic Troutbeck estate hotel some 30 miles away in Amenia, N.Y.
That estate was built in 1765, then rebuilt in the early 20th century—after a fire—by Joel Spingarn and his artist wife, Amy Einstein Spingarn, both activists for racial equality. Over the decades, Troutbeck was visited by prominent Americans such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, W.E.B. DuBois and Ida B. Wells, according to Ms. Champalimaud. She currently heads programming at Troutbeck.
Back in Litchfield, another home attributed to a commission by the Sheldon family is for sale. Nearby Sheldon Tavern, built in 1760 and later turned into a 7,242-square-foot private home is on the market for $1.795 million.
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