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This New Old House

Putting heart and soul into a renovation



Shortly after getting married in the late 1990s, my husband and I moved to Wilton and bought our first home, a partially updated antique situated on a hill overlooking a pond. While the property—two and a half acres of mature trees, flowering bushes, and a series of stone walls—seduced us, we were equally smitten with the house. It was a small Colonial farmhouse built between 1840 and 1880; its sense of history combined with a relaxed elegance appealed to us. The current owner had enlarged and improved it. They installed exterior French doors throughout the first floor, including a set for the front door, accented by custom shutters, and a multi-tiered deck surrounding the entire back of the house, with a cream-colored ruffled awning for warmer weather. Most of the first floor was an open plan, but the formal living room and bedrooms were separate and cozy. From our bedroom, we looked out on a blossoming weeping cherry and the pond. Despite the charming details, the house also had many outdated features, and the property needed major work. We planned to eventually renovate.

Time passed and our home’s many hidden problems started to surface. We discovered a leaky roof that had been expertly concealed, a dangerous hole in a chimney that was hidden behind wallboard, a cast-iron bathtub precariously supported by plywood—and this was just the beginning. In short, the enchanting antique we’d bought was morphing into Mr. Blandings’ dream house, and a headache to own. We needed a house that made our lives easier, not more difficult. We decided to look for a new one.

Our subsequent real-estate shopping trips were incredibly depressing. We hoped to find an updated antique or a newer home that resembled an antique. Nothing in our price range offered charm and the promise of minimal maintenance. We wondered why developers didn’t build at least a few new homes that closely resemble an antique – the type of structure that New England is known for—yet with updated amenities and layouts? Why did so much of the new construction lack fluid floor plans, proper scale or proportions? And why were so many new homes sitting on property stripped of trees and other greenery; their barren surroundings immediately gave them an overly-sanitized look. I decided to research the answers to these questions, and discovered that the majority of residential builders do not use architects. In fact, architects are only directly involved in about 10 percent of homes built nationwide and an estimated 15 percent in Fairfield County. This trend started sixty years ago with the birth of Nassau County’s Levittown and mass produced housing. Referred to as the originator of modern suburbia, Levittown offered affordable housing, but received criticism for its homogeneity. However, thanks to the popularity and low construction costs of similar projects, most developers today buy standardized house plans, and then make minor alterations.

I knew we were not alone in wanting a new home that looked like a finely crafted antique; we saw some in the higher end of the market. In fact, the newly old house has been a hot trend in the highest end of the residential market since the 1980s when people started adding salvaged materials to “authenticate” new homes. As an interior designer and journalist, I sidelined our plans to move and decided to write an interior-design book about the trend instead. New Spaces, Old World Charm features the work of several designers who pioneered the newly old style, but shows people how to achieve the look within any budget.

With the book published, we moved forward with our plans to enlarge and update our own house. Our architect and contractor thought the structure was sound enough to withstand the weight of a new second floor and other changes we wanted to make, but as our contractor ripped open walls, and deemed them unsalvageable, he demolished them one by one. Two stressful weeks later, all that stood above our home’s foundation was a chimney and a bathroom. Once we recovered from the shock, we focused on the opportunity to build a newly old home that would work for our family.

Architecturally, we wanted our new home to look like an authentic Colonial farmhouse complete with a wraparound porch. On the interior, we went for an updated transitional look, drawing upon several influences: British Colonial’s quiet elegance and dramatic dark and light contrasts, Art Deco’s straight lines and striking mirrored glass and metalwork, English Edwardian’s classic style and modern eclecticism.

To make the structure look like an antique, we chose basic, time-tested materials: an exposed stone foundation, wooden clapboard, paned windows and classic shutters. To add detail, we alternated the clapboard pattern, and used tongue and groove bead board for the porch ceiling. Because the house had been built in stages, with each section set back further from the road, the façade was asymmetrical. We love symmetry, but the setback regulations prevented us from changing the front footprint. To disguise the asymmetry, we painted everything white, including the shutters. I designed a dark, wood-paneled front door with two sidelights, inspired by a salvaged Italian apartment door I’d seen online, and illuminated with custom reproduction antique brass lanterns.

For the interior, we used elements such as custom cabinets, Murano glass light fixtures, reclaimed wood floors, built-in mirrored shelving, marble and granite surfaces, hand-crafted tile and hand-forged hardware, and grasscloth wallpaper to create a relaxed, yet sophisticated look.

Even before we started the renovation, we had embarked on re-landscaping the property. We constructed additional stone walls, using reclaimed rather than new cut stones, and enlarged the gravel driveway, adding a decorative walkway with pavers. We also put in more plantings—evergreens, flowering trees and bushes, and perennials—but to achieve a more natural appearance, we avoid over-landscaping. The entire project took two years of planning and construction, but when we finally moved back in, we knew we had the antique home we’d always wanted, albeit a newly old one, without a leaky roof, crumbling chimney or sagging tub.

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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.

Rooms With a View

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

Established Character

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

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August 2018

Looking for some family-friendly activities this summer? Visiting museums is educational and engaging for even young children, but tickets can often be expensive. Luckily, The Friends of Keeler...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 titicus road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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

Morning exhale flow on the water! Yoga on the Boardwalk returns every Sunday morning, beginning in May, on the Harbor Point Boardwalk.  Led by our Yoga Teacher, Shannon Aleksa. Her...

Cost: Free

Where:
Harbor Point Boardwalk
1 Harbor Point Road
Stamford, CT  06902
View map »


Website »

More information

First stop—Pedego, where you and your friends explore the waterfront roadways, picturesque winding routes north of the shoreline, and everything in between on a Pedego Electric Bike....

Cost: $50

Where:
Meet-up at Pedego
50 Water St
Norwalk, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Burn Baby Burn”, a group exhibition featuring works by Kathleen Kucka, Dennis...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Looking for some family-friendly activities this summer? Visiting museums is educational and engaging for even young children, but tickets can often be expensive. Luckily, The Friends of Keeler...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 titicus road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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

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

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Burn Baby Burn”, a group exhibition featuring works by Kathleen Kucka, Dennis...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Caring for a loved one who is ill is stressful and exhausting. It can be a profoundly isolating and lonely experience. Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County and Wilton Library invite you...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Telephone: 203-762-8958, ext. 316.
Contact Name: Laurie Petrasanta
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Looking for some family-friendly activities this summer? Visiting museums is educational and engaging for even young children, but tickets can often be expensive. Luckily, The Friends of Keeler...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 titicus road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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

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

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Burn Baby Burn”, a group exhibition featuring works by Kathleen Kucka, Dennis...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Sing choral classics on Tuesdays in August! Each week, a different work led by a different conductor. No performance, no worries: just show up and sing. Summer Sings are a relaxed way to...

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Presbyterian Church
48 New Canaan Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Music on the Hill
Telephone: 203-529-3133
Contact Name: Music on the Hill
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Looking for some family-friendly activities this summer? Visiting museums is educational and engaging for even young children, but tickets can often be expensive. Luckily, The Friends of Keeler...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 titicus road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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

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

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Burn Baby Burn”, a group exhibition featuring works by Kathleen Kucka, Dennis...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Back by popular demand! Professional book discussion leader Susan Boyar will discuss 6 short stories published in The New Yorker magazine over 6 consecutive weeks. Each Wednesday's...

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enrollment is now open for the next Stamford EMS Safe Sitter class. Children in grades 6-8 will learn the skills needed to care for themselves and young children so they may become safe and...

Cost: $75

Where:
Stamford EMS
684 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: Stamford EMS
Telephone: (203) 252-2193
Contact Name: Laura Roberts
Website »

More information

Looking for some family-friendly activities this summer? Visiting museums is educational and engaging for even young children, but tickets can often be expensive. Luckily, The Friends of Keeler...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 titicus road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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

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

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Burn Baby Burn”, a group exhibition featuring works by Kathleen Kucka, Dennis...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Looking for some family-friendly activities this summer? Visiting museums is educational and engaging for even young children, but tickets can often be expensive. Luckily, The Friends of Keeler...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 titicus road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Trace the life cycle of food at Grace Farms with Community Garden Manager Ashley Kenney, Pastry Chef Leah Jones, and Director of Operations Adam Thatcher. From produce and cut flowers used in the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grace Farms
365 Lukes Wood Road
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


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

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

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Burn Baby Burn”, a group exhibition featuring works by Kathleen Kucka, Dennis...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Stamford EMS and Safety4Kids (S4K) are teaming up to present an important summer safety event: a Bike Safety Roundup on Saturday, August 18th at Chelsea Piers from 9am – 10am.  ...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Chelsea Piers Connecticut
1 Blachley Road
Stamford, CT  06902
View map »


Sponsor: Stamford EMS and Safety4Kids (S4K)
Telephone: 203-968-1118
Contact Name: The Loft at Chelsea Piers Connecticut
Website »

More information

InSitu is an eight-acre sculpture garden where nature and art dramatically interact. Nestled in the rural countryside near Redding, the property is surrounded by the 312-acre Saugatuck Waterfall...

Cost: $7 per private garden; children 12 & under free.

Where:
Redding, CT


Sponsor: The Garden Conservancy
Telephone: 888-842-2442
Contact Name: Open Days program staff
Website »

More information

Explore the InSitu garden in Redding, open for self-guided tours to benefit the Garden Conservancy. This eight-acre sculpture garden is a showcase of architecture, horticulture, and art, seamlessly...

Cost: $7 per person, children 12 and under free

Where:
InSitu
73 Diamond Hill Road
Redding, CT
View map »


Sponsor: The Garden Conservancy
Telephone: 888-842-2442
Contact Name: Open Days Program staff
Website »

More information

Looking for some family-friendly activities this summer? Visiting museums is educational and engaging for even young children, but tickets can often be expensive. Luckily, The Friends of Keeler...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 titicus road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

The Lewisboro Library’s Nightclub Concert Series has a special treat on Saturday, August 18 – a “Beatles Night” featuring a Beatles tribute band and a Beatles Trivia...

Cost: $30/per person

Where:
Lewisboro Library
15 Main Street
South Salem, NY  10590
View map »


Sponsor: Lewisboro Library
Telephone: 914-875-9004
Contact Name: Liz Gabriele
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

Hiking and practicing yoga outside in the fresh air leaves you feeling uplifted, centered, and peaceful! In warm weather months, we meet regularly in various parks and trails. Each event starts...

Cost: Three and Five Class Packages (3 times for $33, 5 times for $42)

Where:
Vary with each class
, CT


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Burn Baby Burn”, a group exhibition featuring works by Kathleen Kucka, Dennis...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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