“Believe it or not, when my husband Jerry and I saw this magnificent French Normandy home for the very first time, we made an offer before we even saw the inside,” said Terry Feldman of her breathtaking country estate in Bedford Hills. “I had wanted a home on a hill with an expansive view, along with beautiful trees and grounds, and the place just spoke to us.”
And the house, Rabbit Run, had another element that Terry loved – strong ties to the music world.
“(It) had it all, including a spectacular tree-lined driveway that we both love,” Terry said. “And when we did get inside, we were totally captivated by the layout of the rooms and other special features.”
The couple was also intrigued that the house was built in 1974 by pianist-bandleader Peter Duchin and served as a locus of fun and relaxation for his famous guests over the years, including Frank Sinatra, a regular visitor.
Duchin, the son of Swing-era pianist-bandleader Eddy Duchin, built on his father’s stellar legacy. Clients from the highest social echelons the world over have delighted to his music, with Duchin and his orchestra performing at some of the most exclusive celebrations, including inaugural balls, society weddings, private parties, cotillions, charity balls and corporate functions.
Terry was especially taken with the Duchin connection because of her own musical background.
Singing through life
“I grew up singing in the church choir in Greeneville, Tennessee,” she said. “My mother was a composer and my grandmother went to the Juilliard School of music. I had a nice alto voice and sang in my college choir. After graduating, I worked in television and had an assortment of singing roles in television shows. Music has always been important to me and always will be. Today, I am active in the Music Conservatory of Westchester and have been for the past 15 years.
“I also belong to a local group, The Scarborough Singers. We just performed at the Scarborough Presbyterian Church with a program called ‘Pop, Be-Bop and Broadway: Great Hits through the Ages.’”
And the program Terry described was indeed an eclectic one, ranging from “Johnny Angel,” to “We’re in the Money,” “Music of the Night,” “House of the Rising Sun,” “One Singular Sensation,” “You Raise Me Up,” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
“We always have plenty of variety and it’s a lot of fun,” says Terry, who along the way worked for fellow Tennessean Sen. Estes Kefauver and then-Sen. John F. Kennedy.
Jerry has no musical abilities, but he has excelled in business. After graduating from law school, he soon became interested in being an entrepreneur and started his own companies based on new technology, obtaining lucrative patents in several areas.
“The company I founded wanted to look for opportunities in the world that were new,” he says. “In the l960s, we went to the Soviet Union when Khrushchev was in power. We met with Russian leaders and others in the Eastern Bloc and developed scores of new technologies ranging from heavy industry to surgical instruments. While dealing with the Eastern Bloc, we found a new plastic that ultimately became the basis of the soft contact lens. We kept all of our licenses and patents and eventually partnered with Bausch & Lomb. We also started U.S. Surgical.”
Everything Jerry got involved with took off and flourished. In 2003, the company, the National Patent Development Corp., broke up into smaller units. Jerry took over one of them, GSE Systems Inc., where he holds the post of chairman.
“Our current focus is building simulators for the nuclear industry,” he says.
Run, Rabbit Run
With two such creative, high-energy people, it’s nice to have a haven like Rabbit Run, which, by the way, is now on the market.
The 7,000-square-foot house, where the Feldmans have lived for 28 years and raised four children, is on 20 acres in the heart of Bedford horse country. The views from the grounds are nothing less than magnificent. Behind the stone wall and down the long wooded driveway, privacy and luxury abound. The estate is complete with fenced paddocks, manicured gardens, tennis courts and a pool. The home has six bedrooms and four full baths, along with two half-baths. The main house has parking for two cars and there is an additional three-car garage with a bedroom, kitchen, two full baths, home office, family room and fireplace above.
The house radiates charm and graciousness, from the front entrance with a grand piano nestled nearby to the enormous family room with its vaulted ceiling and soaring windows, to the nearby paneled study. A spacious dining room, adjacent to a lovely sun room and a designer kitchen with granite counters and stainless steel appliances complete the public areas.
Upstairs a master bedroom with a balcony overlooking the back lawn and pool, a separate family bedroom-and-bath wing and a wood-paneled playroom/billiard room make for luxurious family time.
The home has several fireplaces, beamed ceilings and magnificent wood floors throughout, and a décor that is warm and inviting, filled with lovely paintings, sculpture and other collectibles.
There is a brick-floored screened-in porch and a large stone terrace looking toward the back gardens and pool.
And the Feldmans say the acoustics in the great room, which is surrounded by a broad furnished balcony, are “the best.”
Perfect for a little night music.
For more on the $6.1 million Rabbit Run home, call Candice Stafford of Coldwell Banker Previews International Real Estate at (914) 234-3647.