Lisa Lampanelli's Haven by the Shore
We visit with funnywoman Lisa Lampanelli as she settles into a feel-good waterfront beach house in Fairfield.
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An open plan on the first floor takes full advantage of the water view and incorporates a cook-friendly kitchen (one step up), a seating area with TV, and a dining table close to wide windows that overlook a postage stamp yard—and the Sound. The rest of the house is composed of smaller, more intimate spaces—perfect for entertaining, and perfect for a couple that likes to get away from it all.
“I need a lot of alone time, we both do,” says Lampanelli, “so the layout is ideal. We have a lot of rooms, I don’t even know what some of them are for.” At 4,000-plus square feet with four bathrooms, the house is a source of amusement for the couple: “Hilarious, right? Four bathrooms for two people?”
At the other end of the house, toward the back stairs (on the street side) is Cannizzaro’s “man cave,” a spacious room decorated sparingly with Beatles memorabilia, reclining chairs—and the requisite flat-screen TV mounted on the wall (“for watching the game,” says the diehard Mets fan).
The architectural detail that delights Lampanelli the most is the handcrafted wooden staircase that connects all three floors. Not technically a spiral, it’s more of a helix—but the open risers don’t scare Parker, who trots right up, one giant step at a time, lest his owner leave him behind.
The second floor houses the master suite.Dressed in jewellike ocean colors, with a small balcony and water views, it’s the couple’s sanctuary, taking them as far away from the city as any space could.
Behind the master suite is a sitting room with a piano the couple bought from the previous owner, along with some other furniture that was just too hard to move out. “Some of the things we have here are transitional for now,” says Lampanelli.
This space provides a public area for the guest wing—two bedrooms and a shared bath. They love having a place for company; Lampanelli finds that her family, including her siblings and nieces and nephews, visits more often now and that suits her just fine.
It’s a room at the top of the house, under the eaves where it’s sheltered and quiet, that houses Lampanelli’s heart; here you’ll find sofas for thinking and taking in the view, a desk for writing cards and new material—and everywhere, memories.
“When I moved in the city, everything fit perfectly into the new place, so we really didn’t have anything to use here. But what I did have left over was everything I ever saved from my childhood—it was in 80 boxes in storage in Newtown. I had it brought down here and I went through all 80 boxes. I didn’t really throw that much away—just anything having to do with an ex-boyfriend, and anything that got too icky.”
Among her favorite mementos: A collection of Hello Kitty toys, the chair her mother rocked her in, family wedding photos, treasured lunch boxes, Pez dispensers, books she read as a child and teen, Gumby and Pokey figurines, the valises her parents took with them on their honeymoon to Niagara Falls.
“I can honestly say that everything in this house—absolutely everything—has meaning, or a memory for me,” she says.
Thrilled to have someplace to put it all, she adds: “I am someone who drives everywhere—even in the city, I never take cabs. What I love about this place is that I can drive up whenever I want to. And by the time I get to Norwalk, I feel my shoulders loosen, and the tension fades.”
Visit Lisa on her website insultcomic.com.