Rustic property in Greenwich transformed into modern home



GREENWICH — Not too long ago, midcountry Greenwich was a land of pastures, orchards, barns and horse paddocks.

Some of those rustic touches can still be found in the landscape, and even among some of the older houses built during an era when farming was still a major occupation in Greenwich. One of those houses, at 129 Dingletown Road, still has fruit trees growing on the property, along with a converted livery stable that still bears the names of its four-legged inhabitants. There’s an old greenhouse on the property, brought back into service.




The listing agent for the property, Randy Keleher, who saw the work that went into renovating the old carriage house and stable, said it was a memorable renovation project. “To watch the renovation — it was an experience. Impressive to watch the craftsmen at work. Knowing what they wanted to create, and how they had to do it. A great collaboration. They know their business, it was fun to watch.”

The adjoining structures that make up the site were built as a carriage house and a horse stable in 1926. At the time, a large estate and working farm was established on Stanwich Road by Louis William Dommerich a Yale graduate and partner in a family firm that would in time become a part of Chemical Bank, and family members.

The two buildings were modest in appearance until new owners acquired it. The old carriage house had unfinished stone walls and cement flooring. But while it was unpolished in the extreme, it was built to last, with imposing stone walls and sturdy construction.

Beginning in 2012, the house went through a major transformation.

“It was a major over-haul and expansion. There’s nothing that hasn’t been touched,” said Keleher. “It blends today’s lifestyle with the character of the period, and maintaining as much character as possible.”

A local architect, Cormac Byrne, was paired with a contractor from Massachusetts, Michael Gimbrere, who had experience with older homes. The old stone walls were preserved, but new portals and entryways were carved into the structure to let in the light and increase connections to the natural world outside.

Rounded archways were used to soften the hard look of the stone walls. A new layout and floor plan went it, and modern features like a big kitchen, added on. Exposed steel beams were clad in hardwood, looking as if there were original to the house, when they are actually modern additions. New heating ducts and mechanicals were seamlessly installed. A home gym was put in downstairs. Neutral paint colors, like owl gray, and a grass cloth wallpaper, kept the rustic feel of the house.

“They opened everything up, repurposed everything,” the listing agent said. “It’s a very efficient home to live in, and yet still maintaining some great character.”

While much was added onto the old building, much was also preserved. The builders kept to the same materials that had clad the buildings since 1926 — stone, slate, copper and stucco.

The old balustrades on the upper floor were retained, maintaining an Old World feel to the property. The names of two horses, Babe and Didi, inscribed onto the Dutch doors of the stable, are still visible under a coat of white paint. The stable was converted into a separate structure, with its own kitchen, bedroom and entrance, ideal for guests. On top of the guest cottage is a cupola sheathed in tin, original to the property.

Among the more notable features of the house is a wide patio just off the master bedroom, a nice spot for cocktail hour, sunsets or star gazing. “It gives you a French countryside feel. It’s a scene you don’t see very often,” said Keleher.

New stone retaining walls were built onto the property, to create a proper backyard. There’s also a little pond for maritime adventures, ideally suited for young people. A row of cypress trees was planted along the driveway to add to the rural feel of the site.

“It’s a home you can enjoy coming home to everyday,” said Keleher.

The $2.95 million listing is being handled through Halstead Properties.


rmarchant@greenwichtime.com

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