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May 2010


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REAL ESTATE

Deeds & Don'ts
By Lily Oliver

INSIDE STORIES BEHIND AREA
REAL ESTATE DEALS

Things are looking up. While the real estate industry trumpeted "positive indicators" throughout the downturn, what it was really looking for was something that only sounds negative: the market to bottom out. And at some point during 2009—history will tell us when, exactly, but this time last year was nothing short of awful—that appears to have happened in our state. In February, for example, the number of single-family homes sold was up 27 percent compared to February 2009, the fourth straight month that this figure had increased by double digits when looking at year-over-year stats. And while the median price of single-family homes also rose 3.6 percent—to $227,000 in February 2010 from $219,104 in February 2009—purchase prices remain much lower than the stratospheric heights they reached at market peak. More glad tidings: From the Gold Coast to the Litchfield Hills, there are some really cool new listings to check out. Here are a few of our favorites.

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FEELING GROOVY (click photo for larger view)

WARREN PLATNER MODERN
GREENWICH
$18.5 MILLION

"Groovy" is not word one associates with Greenwich. So we'll stick to "glamorous"—with a side order of groovy—to describe this 10,174-square-foot contemporary home, designed by architect Warren Platner in 1988. A Guilford resident who passed away a few years ago, Platner is best known for his interior work, most notably the original (groovy and glamorous) Windows of the World restaurant in the Twin Towers, and for his furniture design, including pieces that are still sold by Knoll. Platner's lounge chair and steel-and-glassside table, for instance, are '60s-era icons, and these pieces are currently on display in the house, whose purchase price includes some of its furnishings. In the library, for instance, a gorgeous, honey-colored, burled-wood table matches the insets in the walls, ceiling and cabinetry; the room also features built-in, scalloped-silver lighting fixtures and scalloped detailing on the fireplace surround. Throughout the home, curvy and half-moon shapes give the home's 15 rooms—including five bedrooms and five bathrooms, plus one half bathroom—a gracious feel and flow, which is not always the case with midcentury Modern's boxier dwellings. This styling extends outdoors, as well, to the fabulous pool, pool house and terrace, and to a sculptural fountain and truly groovy reflecting pool with floating lilies. Shelly Tretter Lynch of Sotheby's International Realty in Greenwich has the listing, (203) 618-3103.

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ON POINT (click photo for larger view)

LONG NECK POINT
DARIEN
$16,750,000

On the market for the first time in a century, this grand estate was once the summer home of the Crimmins family, immigrants from County Limerick who made their fortune the old-fashioned way: in construction, building railways and the like at the turn of the last century. John D. Crimmins' estate was valued at $5 million—quite a pile in 1917—and included the home he called Firwood, because of the stately trees on what is now a nearly five-acre property with 325 feet of direct waterfront. Mr. Crimmins had 13 children, and his 14-bedroom home accommodated them all (plus one for him and the missus) while providing ample and gracious spaces for living and entertaining, including an expansive dining room that seats 30. Outside, there are rolling lawns that slope down to the Sound, a pond, a lovely pool and a greenhouse. Nancy Dauk with Halstead Property Wheeler in Darien represents Firwood, (203) 656-6501.

CAN'T FIGHT CITY HALL
But you can buy it, apparently. The circa-1908 building that was once Westport's Town Hall was purchased for $2.325 million by SIR Development of Westport, although plans for the property have not yet been announced. At this time last year, we reported on the shuttering of shops and restaurants along once-bustling Main Street and the Post Road. So we'll take it as good news that Town Hall won't sit empty—and that Westport has seen more openings than closings recently. There's the debut of Crumbs Bake Shop and phase-one development of the Saugatuck Center near the train station. The minuses: The iconic Westport Inn at National Hall shut down operations in March; the building's new owners have not released plans for its future.

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