HOW A GREEK REVIVAL BECAME A
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THE LIVING IS EASY (click photo for larger view)
ONCE A COMMUNITY OF SHIPBUILDING, LOBSTERING AND FISHING, Noank has a mix of homes and businesses that were established in the 19th century. The town's charm certainly appealed to Broadway producer Tom Viertel. When he became chairman of the Eugene O'Neill Theater in Waterford, he and partner Pat Daily wanted to find a seaside home in the area. After dinner at Corson's Store and a visit to Universal Food Market—both with an authentic vintage vibe they adored—the couple knew they wanted to be in Noank. But with no houses on the market, Viertel and Daily had to settle for renting the Greek Revival that eventually became their home.
At the end of their first summer, the house came onto the market and Viertel and Daily immediately scooped it up. They loved the half-acre lot, which is considered large for that area, and the water views. Viertel and Daily were amazed that so many 19th-century houses were still intact without a formal preservation program in place. Noank was established as a working waterfront town, when beach-going wasn't a priority. Since the lots are relatively small, it wasn't appealing to homebuyers seeking larger properties.
Viertel and Daily wanted to be sensitive to the environment and to Noank's special character. The couple spent a year in the house to determine how to go about a renovation. They assembled a three-person team to work on their renovation—architect Bill Roehl, who lived across the street; contractor Wes Maxwell, a Noank native who knew the area well; and interior designer Patrick Gallagher. A friend had introduced Gallagher to the homeowners and they found that they all had similar tastes. He had a shop in the area and Viertel and Daily admired his sense of color and the unusual style of his own house. Gallagher also brought landscape designer Louis Raymond into the group. "It was one of the best collaborations in a lifetime of collaborations," says Viertel.