Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Respect for the Past

Remaking a traditional Wilton home



Now a rambling 4,400 square feet, Michael and Janet Foster’s antique home in North Wilton started out as a one room up-one room down structure, with a narrow angled staircase connecting the two floors. Dating from the early 1800’s, its original owners would have used the first floor room as their living area and kitchen, and the space above for sleeping. As they needed more space, subsequent owners added to the footprint, and when the Fosters purchased the property in 1983, they too built additions to accommodate their growing family. Like the inhabitants before them, they did so with an appreciation for its pedigree.

In the first addition, completed in 1992, the Fosters added a master bedroom on the 2nd floor, and a breakfast area and larger kitchen on the 1st floor. In the kitchen, two islands topped with cherry wood— a long low one with a gas cook top and a higher one with a stainless steel sink—provide ample work space. Both islands overlook the new windowed breakfast area. A built-in cherry wood breakfront and adjacent open shelving hold many of the Foster’s vintage and holiday plates. Exposed beam ceilings match the ceilings in the sitting rooms in the oldest part of the house. 

Around the time the Fosters began thinking about a second addition, they learned that an antique house on Vista Road was slated for demolition. “We contacted the sellers and they agreed to let us dismantle the house,” explains Janet. While the Fosters knew it would have been simpler to build the new addition from scratch, using new materials, the end result would never have as much character as it would if they used authentic old materials. “The chance to get old floor boards and beams doesn’t come along every day,” adds Michael.

The Vista Road house, originally a story-and-a-half, had been expanded over time to two full stories. The Fosters hired Wilton architect Rob Sanders to reconstruct it in its original story-and-a-half form; it became the new master bedroom, set on top of a new foundation and a new first floor family room. Pointing to the exposed cathedral ceiling in the new bedroom, Janet notes, “This is what the under side of the Vista Road house roof looked like. You can actually see the outline of the tree each board was cut from. And the floor boards are the original ones from that house.”

While the family room below is a new space, most of the posts and beams came from the Vista Road house. The fireplaces in both the family room and the master bedroom look old, but are actually new construction. “The original house had a center fireplace, but when we reconstructed it, Rob located the fireplaces on the front wall,” says Janet. “He also used stone for the exterior of the family room to replicate the foundation of the Vista Road house, so the addition looks like is has always been here.” 

Rob pushed the kitchen out several feet to meet the new family room, but kept and reused all of the islands and cabinets from the 1992 renovation. He designed a long, low cherry wood cabinet to visually separate the kitchen from the new family room. “When we enlarged the kitchen, we considered eliminating a second set of stairs installed adjacent to it by a previous owner, because like the ones in the front hall, they are steep and narrow. But our daughters refused to let us; they loved their quirkiness,” says Janet. Instead, Rob designed a third staircase leading from the rear of the kitchen to an office and cozy light-filled guest room above it. “Before that staircase, we had to bring all the large pieces of furniture for the second floor through a window,” says Janet. 

The stairways are just one of the many quirky features of the almost 200-year old house, features the Fosters appreciate and have been careful to preserve. The wide plank chestnut floors throughout the oldest part of the house are uneven; and in some places, have gaps wide enough to reveal the room below. The doorway between the kitchen and front sitting room is crooked, the 2nd floor banister is only about two feet high, hallways are narrow and ceilings are low in many rooms. “One of my favorite things about the house has always been the crooked doorway, and I told Rob and the builder that I did not want to make it level,” recalls Janet.

While the majority of the house relies on cast iron radiators for heat, the Fosters, with Rob’s encouragement, installed a geothermal system during the 2009 construction project to heat the new space. During the summer, the system provides air conditioning for the entire house. They have furnished their home with an eclectic mix of early American antique pieces passed down from their families or that they have collected together, original oil paintings, Oriental decorative objects, and many hand-painted murals. 

Three outbuildings, a red barn, a chicken coop and what appears to be an old stone root cellar sit on the property. The root cellar was actually built in 2001 to house a new oil tank. The old in-ground tank leaked, and had to be dug up. “We had to install the new one above ground, but we didn’t want to look out and see it in the yard so we decided to recreate an old root cellar to hide it,” explains Janet. The chicken coop is the only one of three original sheds on the property; the other two collapsed and could not be salvaged. The Fosters use the barn for storage. One bay once served as a blacksmith shop; the other was used to house animals and farm machinery and has a ramp leading to sliding doors at the back of the barn. 

“I love living in this house,” admits Janet. “When we renovated, we didn’t want to be able to tell the oldest spaces from the new construction. And we wanted to build the way people built houses a long time ago. They added on as they needed to as opposed to building a 7,000 foot house all at once.” 

Connect With Us

               

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Bling

Mary Tucciarone has filled her antique home with elegant old things—trophies, urns, chandeliers, rhinestone and pearl costume jewelry, and other accessories that she finds at flea markets, estate sales, and antiques shops. During the holidays, she deconstructs and reconstructs objects from her collections to create one-of-a-kind decorations that add an extra dose of sparkle and glamour to every room.

Collecting History

When Clyde Phillips and Jane Lancellotti moved here from L.A., they fell in love with a stucco house in South Wilton. They bought it, and embarked on an 18-month renovation, yet kept many original details intact. Today, the handsome structure is home to their family and their eclectic collections.

This New Old House

This interior designer and author of New Spaces, Old World Charm practices what she preaches. When she and her husband renovated their antique home, they created a new old house, full of modern amenities but loaded with period details and ambiance.

Rooms With a View

The revolutionary design of Wilton's Round House. Built in 1968, this home offers spectacular revolving views.

This Old House

Not everyone can deal with the inevitable quirks- cranky pipes, leaky windows, uneven floors, tiny rooms- that come with a 200-years old house. But these three homeowners share a willingness to overlook the eccentricities and embrace the charms of their antique homes.

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

September 2018

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Francisco Fullana, Violin Soloist Join us for three masterpieces representing important moments in time for orchestral music.  Arvo...

Cost: $50; $37.50, $25, Students $10

Where:
Norwalk Concert Hall
125 East Avenue
NORWALK, CT  06855
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Symphony Orchestra
Telephone: 203-956-6771
Contact Name: Sandra Miklave, Executive Director
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Capture the imagination of your preschooler by exploring great artists and their masterpieces. Each week, children ages 3-5 will be introduced to one of the world’s great artists through...

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Pequot Library
Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Francisco Fullana, Violin Soloist Join us for three masterpieces representing important moments in time for orchestral music.  Arvo...

Cost: $50; $37.50, $25, Students $10

Where:
Norwalk Concert Hall
125 East Avenue
NORWALK, CT  06855
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Symphony Orchestra
Telephone: 203-956-6771
Contact Name: Sandra Miklave, Executive Director
Website »

More information

Gunn Memorial Library in Washington, CT is pleased to welcome back literary scholar Mark Scarbrough as he leads a five week course The Soul Ajar: An Emily Dickinson Literature Course.  The classes...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This presentation, led by Martin House member Bryan Stern, will help small business owners understand key tax law changes that may affect their 2018 business tax returns so that they can plan ahead...

Cost: Free

Where:
Martin House Workspace
69 Westchester Ave.
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Martin House Workspace
Telephone: 914-764-3128
Contact Name: Erin Trostle
Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Francisco Fullana, Violin Soloist Join us for three masterpieces representing important moments in time for orchestral music.  Arvo...

Cost: $50; $37.50, $25, Students $10

Where:
Norwalk Concert Hall
125 East Avenue
NORWALK, CT  06855
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Symphony Orchestra
Telephone: 203-956-6771
Contact Name: Sandra Miklave, Executive Director
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On Wednesday Sept 26th, from 5.30 pm – 7.30 pm, Goldenberry Wilton will host the award winning author Kristen Harnisch and offer a tasting of wines to pair with 2 fantastic reads, The...

Cost: $10. suggestion donation to Circle of Care

Where:
Goldenberry Gourmet & Gift
5 River Rd (Kimco Wilton River Park Shopping Ctr)
next to TomEToes Pizza, corner across from Stop & Shop
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Goldenberry Devonshire
Telephone: 203-972-5887
Contact Name: Goldenberry Gourmet & Gift
Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Francisco Fullana, Violin Soloist Join us for three masterpieces representing important moments in time for orchestral music.  Arvo...

Cost: $50; $37.50, $25, Students $10

Where:
Norwalk Concert Hall
125 East Avenue
NORWALK, CT  06855
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Symphony Orchestra
Telephone: 203-956-6771
Contact Name: Sandra Miklave, Executive Director
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Francisco Fullana, Violin Soloist Join us for three masterpieces representing important moments in time for orchestral music.  Arvo...

Cost: $50; $37.50, $25, Students $10

Where:
Norwalk Concert Hall
125 East Avenue
NORWALK, CT  06855
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Symphony Orchestra
Telephone: 203-956-6771
Contact Name: Sandra Miklave, Executive Director
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join us while we hunt for the East Coast's best Dance Crew. Watch as crews for all ethnic backgrounds and styles of dance come together to compete for title of The Best Dance Crew! Hip Hop,...

Cost: Pre Sale $25.00 Day of Show $30.00

Where:
Wall Street Theater
Wall Street
Norwalk, CT  06850
View map »


Sponsor: Wall Street Theater
Telephone: 877-987-8764
Contact Name: Jeanne Moore
Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Francisco Fullana, Violin Soloist Join us for three masterpieces representing important moments in time for orchestral music.  Arvo...

Cost: $50; $37.50, $25, Students $10

Where:
Norwalk Concert Hall
125 East Avenue
NORWALK, CT  06855
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Symphony Orchestra
Telephone: 203-956-6771
Contact Name: Sandra Miklave, Executive Director
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Laura from Olive My Skin will be joining us to talk about her lovely natural soaps, wood wick soy candles and skin care line, all proudly made in Connecticut. All Fair Trade, paraben free,...

Cost: free

Where:
The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy
Telephone: (860)868-9003
Contact Name: susan
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Evocation of light is ever present in the romantic and experiential landscapes of Ira Barkoff. His recent works convey the spontaneity and the maturity of the artist’s hand and dedication to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: 1953
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

Francisco Fullana, Violin Soloist Join us for three masterpieces representing important moments in time for orchestral music.  Arvo...

Cost: $50; $37.50, $25, Students $10

Where:
Norwalk Concert Hall
125 East Avenue
NORWALK, CT  06855
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Symphony Orchestra
Telephone: 203-956-6771
Contact Name: Sandra Miklave, Executive Director
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags