On the Market / A magical modern with water views
NEW CANAAN — New Canaan’s landscape is richly decorated with residential masterpieces from some of the country’s leading architects, well-known names from the past and those on the cutting edge of today’s architectural design.
The owners of the modern house at 131 Hemlock Hill Road chose well when they asked Greenwich architect Joeb Moore and his firm to update, renovate and simplify their living space. When the owners first purchased the house it was “a conglomeration of styles,” with pink and gray shingles on the exterior and dated turquoise baths. “The house had good bones, but it needed a major facelift,” one of the homeowners said.
Moore completely re-imagined their house and when it was rebuilt in 2010 it was not only the structure that was elevated, but the surrounding natural landscape, the professionally landscaped gardens and the lifestyle of this home’s inhabitants.
“We believe a ‘home’ is not a house at all; it is less about a fixed form or even a place, but more a journey through time and culture itself. … We delight in spaces that leave room for interpretation, spaces that transcend the present and every day,” Moore’s website says.
This space transcends time and reality, and yet it is rooted in practical living. Moore’s vision and innovation created a magical setting that is a living space, entertainment place, and a year-round vacation oasis. The stunning result garnered Moore and his firm a Design Award from the Architectural Institute of America, Connecticut chapter, in 2013. Also recognized with that honor was general contractor Carcole Construction of Stamford and Heather O’Neill of Second Nature Landscape Design and Outdoor Designs of Distinction in Darien.
Walls of floor-to-ceiling glass, particularly on the back of the house, invite exquisite environmental views inside. Bluestone terraces and a second floor balcony in the private master suite invite residents to extend their indoor life to the outside in all seasons.
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Through the property runs a tributary to the Noroton River that creates three interlocking ponds on this 3.2-acre level property, and the owners have riparian rights. The residents of this house can canoe and fish on this waterway in warm weather months and ice-skate in winter. In fact, hidden in a woodland area of the property at the water’s edge there is a warming hut that has a fieldstone fireplace. Although that is the only heat source (there is no heating system), this hut does have electricity. It could also be a great place to read, do yoga, or meditate among the trees.
Moore imbued the 6,042-square-foot main house with innumerable architectural features. It has “floating” walls that do not quite conclude at the floors or the ceilings. The black walnut floors are complemented by brown walnut built-ins throughout the beautifully proportioned rooms. A floating staircase encased in glass and steel adds to the openness and brightness of the interior space.
The level of detail is seen throughout the house in obvious and subtle ways, the latter including the mitered edges of the glass “railings” of the master suite balcony and the hand-chiseled edges of the slate slabs that top the natural fieldstone sitting wall on one terrace.
ABOUT THIS HOUSE
ADDRESS: 131 Hemlock Hill Road
FEATURES: 3.27-acre level property, pond, water views, generator, two bluestone terraces, professional landscaping, lawn sprinkler, exterior lighting, warming hut for ice skating, Thermal windows, balcony, wine cellar, gym, well water, three propane fireplaces, sound system, Lutron lighting system throughout, water filtration system, on-demand hot water system, two cedar closets, proximity to downtown and Metro-North train station, central vacuuming system, attached heated three-car garage, motor court, heat sensors on the wall, pull-down attic stairs, partial finished basement, pool site, four bedrooms (all en suite), five full and one half baths
SCHOOLS: West Elementary, Saxe Middle, New Canaan High School
The sleek chef’s kitchen features stainless steel counters, opaque glass and steel upper cabinets, trip-latch cabinets, a nine-foot long center island topped in caesarstone, under-cabinet lighting, and high-end appliances including a Wolf range, two Wolf induction burners, a Miele warming oven, and Sub-Zero side-by-side 36-inch refrigerator and 30-inch freezer with additional refrigerator and freezer drawers. There is also a Miele espresso-maker, a steam oven and a built-in desk area.
Between the kitchen and family room there is a built-in leather banquette with brown walnut display shelving for books and objet d’art. In the family room the television is hidden in a retractable roll-out tray so as not to disrupt the beautiful views of the grounds.
Off the kitchen there is a long hall with access to an office, an athletic equipment storage closet, powder room, access to the attached heated three-car garage, and a large gym with a wall of mirrors and ballet barre.
On the first floor there is another office and an en suite bedroom. Three more bedrooms are on the second floor, and there is also a glass-enclosed office. In the cavernous master suite there are two spa-like baths, two luxurious walk-in closets — one with a dressing room, a padded leather bed wall, and a sitting room. In one of the baths the mirror above the vanity has technologically advanced integrated lights and integrated television, both of which disappear from view when in the “off” position.
The house has many practical features. The gutters are integrated into the roofline. Retractable sunshades recess into the ceiling. There are hidden speakers in the ceilings. A door to the yard in the back hall has a special automatic door that opens with the trip of a wall button on the interior that can be hit with an elbow if hands are full. Outside, the same door opens by activating a “kicker” plate with a foot. All the closets have automatic lights that turn on and off as the doors open and close. The house also has a wine cellar.
For information or to make an appointment to see the house contact Sherri Kielland of Houlihan Lawrence at 203-977-3566 or email@example.com.