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December 2007


REAL ESTATE

Deeds & Don'ts
by Lily Oliver

INSIDE STORIES BEHIND AREA REAL ESTATE DEALS

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Save This House
A Philip Johnson home is under threat of demolition in New Canaan, that hotbed of modernism where the architect's Glass House recently opened to the public to much fanfare. The threatened home, called the Alice Ball House, was built in 1953, changing hands just a few times over the years, most recently in 2005. A coalition of preservationists is pressing for a 90-day delay with a campaign reminding the public that the house is the first work by the architect ever proposed for demolition in New Canaan. The other four Johnson houses in town are all protected or are being restored. If you would like to share your views on the subject, contact The Historical Review Commission, New Canaan Town Hall, 77 Main St., New Canaan, CT, 06840.

Mel to Sell
Actor and director Mel Gibson has quietly put his Greenwich estate on the market, listing it for $39.5 million. (CTC&G broke this story in our July 2007 issue, but we had to withhold the actor's name until now.) While the broker for the property didn't return calls—for confidentiality reasons, we presume—a reliable source pointed us to the Web pages for Old Mill Farm, a mansion fit for a star. The nearly 16,000-square-foot, circa-1926 "Elizabethan-style" Tudor wows visitors with a great hall featuring 40-foot cathedral ceilings and something called a "minstrel's gallery" (your guess is as good as ours) and a "walk-in" fireplace (seems like you'd be in no shape to walk out once you walked in). What we do know is that master gardener James Doyle had a hand in designing some of Gibson's 75-plus acres, which include a hedgerow maze, a terraced pool, a tennis court, a log cabin, a stable and a stream-fed pond.

Controversy kicked up when Gibson appealed to have 17 acres classified—and taxed—as farmland.

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