A Peaceable Life
A grand 1900s carriage house becomes a swell family resort
Photos by Karen Amendola
Albert Wiggin was a titan of finance a century ago, leading Chase National Bank, and building a strip-mall-sized home on Peaceable Street. It was grand, spacious, and elegant, but upon his death, a new owner reduced its size by more than half. Fast forward to 2002, Brian and Toni Franz purchased the property, with an eye on two of the more architecturally significant buildings.
The structures face each other across a stone and gravel courtyard, creating a private and balanced sense of home. The buildings rest elegantly atop a well-manicured and hilly three and a half acres, with gorgeous views, privacy, and plenty of magnificently preserved interior and exterior space.
Fast forward another dozen years to see the Franzes undertake a massive, $2-million renovation—under the direction of Ridgefield architect Sean O’Kane, adding a pool, poolhouse, and tasteful landscaping. “In what were once pony stalls, we added a gym and a potting room,” says Brian.
L and L Builders handled the construction and Susan Buzaid of Olley Court led the extenseive interior design—redecotrating the bedrooms, living room, above-garage apartments, and selected the outdoor furnitue. “It’s really, really nice. It’s like a Hamptons resort, nicer than any hotel you will stay in,” says Brian.
Guests enter the U-shaped main building through two large hinged gates that demark a stone walk. At either end of the wide main stoop that leads to a heavy oversize door are two even larger and original sliding barn doors that remain open in a decorative pose. Three stable doors, which at one time reined in the horses that tugged the grand Wiggin carriages, punctuate the wing to the left of the front door. Kitchen and family-room windows line the wing to the right.
“Brian and Toni were wonderful to work with,” say designer Buzaid from Olley Court. “They both have wonderful taste.”
In the master bedroom, Buzaid selected Andrew Martin fabrics, from Britain, where the Franzes were living during much of the renovation. For the antique bed and bench, which belonged to Brian’s grandmother, she used Andrew Martin silk and for the ottoman velvet. The night stands she got from Julien Chichester.
“In the master bath, we selected lighting by Barbara Barry, and blue Nobilis velvet for a bench.” An exquisite attention to detail was also paid to guest rooms, baths, and living area. Says Brian: “My mother lives in one of the apartments, which were both part of the renovation as well.”
This house has gone through quite an evolution—following a gradual transformation from a horse shelter into a sophisticated domicile for a 21st-century family. It retains the past while moving boldly into the future. Now after more than 15 years in this home that they love the Franzes are moving on, having listed the 9,000-square-foot dwelling with Laura Freed Ancona of William Pitt Sotheby’s International, for $3.6 million.
“With my son in college and daughter attending high school in New York City, it’s an enormous compound that is too much for just the two of us,” Brian explains. The Franzes plan to stay local—he works at Diageo in Norwalk and they belong to Silver Spring Country Club.
SPECIAL TOUCH The kitchen was part of the original renovation, and the billiard room recently addded. For the master bedroom, Susan Buzaid of Olley Court chose Andrew Martin silk fabric, from England, for the headboard and bench, which belonged to Brian’s grandmother. The two chairs she covered in a charcoal Andrew Martin wool fabric.
Buzaid selected Mamagreen pool loungers, with umbrellas.