Porches of New Canaan: 275 Main St., Memorial Day gathering spot
Published 3:47 pm, Friday, August 9, 2013
The following is the first of an ongoing series featuring New Canaan's porches.
Walking down Main Street in New Canaan, one sees nearly an exhibition of New England porches.
On Memorial Day, the porches, adorned with bunting and flags, offer a vantage point for residents and their friends to watch as the various town organizations and clubs parade down the middle of the street.
For Denise Gannalo, who owns the porch and home at 275 Main St., the day has become an annual get-together with friends and family. In 2004, only weeks after she bought the house and before renovations were complete, she started that tradition.
"I said to some people, `Come by, we can see the parade from the porch.' So I bought a box of coffee and some people came. The following year, I invited a few more people, and every year it gets bigger and bigger. Now people just show up," she said during an interview from her porch.
Gannalo's house sits high on the property and offers a pleasant look down onto Main Street. The porch is decorated with dark wicker furniture -- a couch, two armchairs, a coffee table and an ottoman -- all holding plush cushions and pillows. Two plants, one a fern, sit on either side of the couch, and a pot of yellow flowers rests on the glass top of the coffee table.
Gannalo, has been a vice president for sales with William Raveis Real Estate for 15 years, has lived in New Canaan for 33 years. As a realtor, she is an expert on the market, and jumped when 275 Main went up for sale in 2004. It took Gannalo a full year to complete renovations to the home built in 1901. Everything in it needed updating -- except the porch, which, though repainted, remains made of the original wood, which is now more than 100 years old.
While many of the homes on Main Street have porches, most of the newer construction in town does not. Gannalo said this is due to New Canaan zoning regulations, which limit the percent of a lot a building's footprint may take up. Builders, she said, prefer to get more square footage for living quarters rather than porch space. Still, she said, porches are a selling point for many buyers.
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"A porch is definitely a plus for houses. It serves as a gathering spot, a place for morning coffee or an evening cocktail," she said.
Since a sidewalk was installed on Main Street in 2011, Gannalo said the prospects for people watching have increased dramatically.
"There's a constant stream of pedestrians walking, pushing strollers and jogging," she said.
Looking over a row of "endless summer" hydrangeas, which bloom from May to September, Gannalo recalled the sights she'd seen from her vantage point, sitting on the porch.
"I've seen car accidents, police stopping vehicles and a neighbor's house fire," she said. "And it's a nice place to greet the postman when he brings mail up to the house."
Do you have a great porch? Contact reporter Tyler Woods by email at email@example.com; by phone at 203-330-6582; or by Twitter at @Woods_NCNews