Tag Archives: Frazier Peters

Another One Bites The Dust…

WestportNow’s “Teardown of the Day” series is many things.

It’s fascinating, educational, addictive and depressing.

It’s also relentless. Every few days, a new house is slated for demolition. Some of them we’ll never miss. Others, it’s hard to believe anyone would knock them down.

And then there is a house like yesterday’s.

WestportNow featured the home at 14 Charcoal Hill Road. Built in 1928, it was owned by Natalie Maynard, the noted concert pianist, and her husband Harry. They lived there since 1977, after inheriting it from her parents. Just last year, the Maynards proudly placed an “Honoring Our Heritage” Westport Historical Society plaque on it.

The house at 14 Charcoal Hill Road. (Photo/Bob Weingarten for WestportNow)

It’s a Frazier Peters house.

Arguably Westport’s most famous architect, he built over 2 dozen homes here.

Writer Susan Farewell — a Peters expert — wrote:

Were Frazier Peters to build houses today, he’d be receiving all sorts of accolades for being an architect on the leading edge of environmentally-conscious, energy-efficient, sustainable design and construction.

The thick fieldstone walls (as much as 16 inches) typical of a Peters stone house make them energy-efficient; the stones effectively hold the heat in winter and keep the interiors cools in summer….

He segregated rooms by giving each one a separate identity, and through the use of step-downs, varied building materials, and interesting transitions. He was also taken by how beautifully European stone structures aged and compared them to American-built frame houses that “droop and pout if they are not continually groomed and manicured.”

Another important component of Peters’ designs was the marriage of the house and its surroundings. He wrote a great deal about this and was especially enamored with the brooks, hillsides, and woods of Connecticut.

Harry Maynard died in August 2011, 3 months after affixing the heritage plaque to his home. He was 93.

Natalie Maynard died 7 months later, in March. She was 85.

And now — just 2 months after her death — an application is in process to demolish their hom

Their Frazier Peters home.

(UPDATE:  As noted in the comments section below, according to Elise Russi, the Maynard estate itself is applying for demolition. She adds, “they would welcome offers in writing from anyone seriously interested in purchasing the property. It is for sale but not listed on MLS. The owners/executors are listed in the Westport online land records.”)

When The Times Talks

After months on the market, Adam Stolpen might have wondered what he had to do to create a buzz for his stunning 1928 Frazier Peters stone house on Spring Hill Road, off Wilton Road.

Then the New York Times came calling.

Before becoming a realtor, Stolpen’s agent — Dorothy Salisbury of Weichert — had done PR for Calvin Klein.  Twenty years ago she rolled out Obsession, so she knows something about publicity.

(Photo by Douglas Healey/The New York Times)

Intrigued by the house’s lineage — Peters’ unique stone houses are revered, for good reason — and its amenities like a sun porch, guest cottage and pond, Salisbury called the Times‘ real estate section.

A reporter spent several hours walking through the house, and interviewing Stolpen.  Three days later, photographer Douglas Healey arrived; he too spent nearly all day, taking shots.

That Saturday, Stolpen’s home appeared in the Sunday Times’ “On the Market in the Region” — in print and online.

The texts started immediately.  By the time Salisbury got to her snowy office on Sunday, she’d received 40 calls.  They kept coming.

A woman in New York was particularly fascinated by the house — and the town.  She said she’d be up as soon as she could — she wanted it for a weekend place.  She asked Salisbury not to show it to anyone else.  She said she’d pay the asking price:  $1,999,999.

(Photo by Douglas Healey/The New York Times)

Stolpen, meanwhile, was hearing from friends in California, Texas, Washington — all over the country.  A cousin from New Jersey asked:  “Is that your home in the Times?”

Stolpen wondered:  “Why do all these people look at the real estate section, when they’re never going to buy here?”

I have no idea.  But I do the same thing.

So was there any downside to having his house featured in the New York Times?

“None,” Stolpen said firmly.  “When you’re selling residential real estate, any publicity is good.”