A Manhattan based couple searching for a weekend retreat in Fairfield County Connecticut fell in love with this classic 1932 home perched high on 7½ backcountry acres atop Round Hill in Greenwich. The house, which stood largely unaltered since construction, retained most of its original layout, details and architectural integrity. The home, however, was showing its age and in need of modernization.
Similarly, the property was an unarticulated expanse of land, neither relating in any meaningful way to the house nor sharing the wealth of its inherent natural beauty with the casual observer. The owner’s well considered brief of project requirements was succinct: Take a tired home and property, both with tremendous potential, and through the process of transformation and thoughtful restoration, create a casual yet sophisticated Country Estate. Soper Babcock Associates was commissioned to plan an extensive renovation which was intended to build upon the homes original character, clarify out of date aspects of the floor plan and achieve better integration with changes being planned for the site. Addressing the floor plan issues first, Soper Babcock Associates redesigned all of the Easternmost wing of the first floor.
The home as purchased consisted of principal rooms of ample proportions, including the first-floor living room, dining room, family room, sunroom and entrance hallway. Missing from the layout, however, was a study and modern kitchen. What existed as the kitchen area was more a collection of spaces sized for the utilitarian purposes of family service. A gut renovation encompassing 1,000 square feet of space paved the way for a new and generously sized kitchen and study.
The kitchen occupies the Southeast corner of this area with abundant floor space wrapped on three sides with 30 Linear feet of countertop. Grouped casement windows flood the kitchen with morning light and provide views East across a broad expanse of lawn, past the new barn, to the walled vegetable garden beyond. Anchoring the Northeast corner of the first floor, the new study opens onto the existing family room with a small vestibule separating the spaces. Elliptical arches trim the new wall openings at each side of the vestibule matching the original 1932 elliptical arches of the entrance hall.
The balance of first floor work consisted of the addition of two powder rooms, one for family use and one formal, a new back stairway to the basement and second floor and conversion of existing garage space to a screened porch. Other areas of significant work included a complete redesign of the second floor master bedroom wing. The results of this effort created a new master bedroom of intimate scale with sweeping views of Long Island Sound some seven miles distant. The bedroom is accessed via a new sitting room with fireplace and matching southward views. A new master bathroom and closets complete the suite redesign. Work to the homes exterior was extensive including replacing 49 of the 60 existing windows and exterior doors, installation of a columned veranda on the eastern side of the house, addition of an enlarged entry landing on the south facing front, replacement of all built in gutters and clapboard siding and extensive copper and slate roofing repair/replacement. The sure hand of landscape architect Victoria Landau can be seen in the extensive reworking of the property. A new gated driveway descends gently from the street with vistas of natural meadows and manicured lawn area interspersed. The driveway sweeps north culminating at the new arrival court where the home sits prominently above amongst an elevated lawn and terraced planting beds.