On the Market / New Canaan’s Gratwick House benefited from work of two famed architects
NEW CANAAN — It’s hard to improve on perfection but architect Harvey Kaufman did enhance the mid-century modern house at 53 Myanos Road that was originally designed by fellow New Canaan architect Victor Christ-Janer.
Construction on the Gratwick House, as it is called, was started in 1952 and was completed the following year. Christ-Janer’s design was deemed significant enough for the house to be included in the New Canaan Historical Society’s groundbreaking Modern Homes Survey, “which identified 91 modern houses in the community and created a set of evaluation criteria,” according to the Society’s website.
Both architects are remembered for noteworthy professional achievements. Christ-Janer’s architectural legacy includes the designs for Walter Stewart’s Market (1955), the stables at New Canaan Mounted Troop (1957), the New Canaan Post Office (1958), and New Canaan Senior High School (1958), according to his obituary published in Greenwich Time on Apr. 17, 2008. Among his many projects beyond the borders of New Canaan Christ-Janer designed Brien Mc Mahon High School in Norwalk, Glenville School and the YWCA in Greenwich, and Scott’s Corner Shopping Center in Pound Ridge, New York.
Kaufman, the owner of the Myanos Road house until his passing in December 2016, was well known as the lead architect of the design for the original Windows on the World, the restaurant that topped one of the buildings in the World Trade Center. New York magazine referred to it as “The most spectacular restaurant in the world.”
Their combined talents resulted in a house that the listing agent calls “the perfect culmination of architectural significance and livability.” It lives extremely well, she said, adding that this house is magical, especially at night when it seems to glow from within and out.
The house and its level property of just over an acre contain numerous unusual and eye-catching features starting with the mushroom-shaped exterior lighting fixtures which glow from below. There is also a grass bridge in the backyard that draws the viewers’ eyes to the oval in-ground swimming pool.
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From the street the house is not visible. It is set back from the roadway and is hidden behind wooden walls. Enter into the grass-edged flagstone forecourt, which leads to the stairs and front wood deck, which runs the length of the front exterior. Thick square columns serve as the base for the pergola. Contemporary trellising covers the exterior vertical board wood.
The front door is flanked by wide sidelights and opens into the foyer and 3,696 square feet of living space in 10 rooms, many of which have refinished cerused hardwood floors. The house boasts comfortable living spaces and large entertaining spaces throughout. The formal living room features a fireplace, tray ceiling, and wood and marble flooring, the latter in a harlequin pattern of mottled black and white tiles. A wall of windows looks down to the side lawn where there is a courtyard enclosed by squared and shaped shrubbery, and a reflecting pool. The wood-paneled formal dining room windows provide views of the attractive backyard.
The kitchen was well ahead of its time when the house was first built and has stood the test of time. It has a barrel-shaped vaulted skylight with an Art Deco feel. The counters are black marble and the backsplash comprises white marble with a black marble border. There is a center island and a beverage refrigerator.
ABOUT THIS HOUSE
STYLE: Mid Century Modern
ADDRESS: 53 Myanos Road
FEATURES: 1.02-acre level property, heated in-ground swimming pool, bluestone terrace, brick patio, reflecting pool, lawn sprinkler, two fireplaces, deck, stone walls, walk-out lower level, close to town and Metro North train station, professional landscaping, skylight, well water, attached two-car garage, finished walk-out lower level, stone walls, four bedrooms, three full and one half baths
SCHOOLS: West Elementary, Saxe Middle, New Canaan High School
MILL RATE: 16.312 mills
There are four bedrooms in this house, two of which is on the first floor. These bedrooms access a timeless Calacatta Gold marble bath that looks like it could have been built a year ago or 20 years ago but is still aesthetically and functionally relevant. On the lower level there are two more bedrooms including the spacious master suite, which has a fireplace, a tray ceiling, a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, and two walk-in closets. The family room, also on this level, has the same harlequin marble floor of the living room, and a door to the expansive bluestone patio.
Technically, there is — or was a two-car attached garage, but half of one bay was “borrowed” to create a good-sized laundry room on the lower level.
For more information or to make an appointment to see the house contact Christine Saxe of Halstead Property at 203-273-1548 or firstname.lastname@example.org.