It’s easy to see all the teardowns in town.
Sometimes we focus on them so much, we miss the preservation efforts going on nearby.
Preservation Connecticut notices. In fact, they’ve given the owners of 70 Turkey Hill Road South a Connecticut Preservation Award — one of only 10 in the state. The virtual ceremony is May 5.
The 2-story, 1,230-square foot 1892 farmhouse was completely restored last year.
Rahul Ghai and his wife Priyanka Singh bought the property in November 2019. They had several options. They could demolish the 127-year-old house and build a new one; a demolition permit had already been issued to the previous owners.
They could keep the building as it was, and build a new home on the premises.
Or they could restore it — and also build a new house nearby.
The couple decided to restore the 1892 structure, and also build a large house, using a Westport 32-18 regulation obtained by the prior owners. Such a plan — which has prevented 22 other historic structures from being demolished — must be approved by a joint Architectural Review and Historic District Commission committee, then by the Planning & Zoning Commission.
Ghai and Singh hired Christopher Pagliaro, the architect for the previous owners. He worked with them to restore both the exterior and interior.
Work was extensive. All vinyl siding was removed, and replaced with wood. The asphalt roof was replaced with cedar shingles. All windows were replaced. The original front and rear porches — which had been enclosed as living space throughout the years — were recreated.
A number of homeowners have demolished homes the size of 70 Turkey Hill South, replacing them with larger, more modern houses. The Preservation Award press release notes that Westport is “sometimes called Connecticut’s teardown capital.”
The 32-18 regulation shows that those older homes can be retained — while simultaneously allowing construction of new ones.
Singh noted, “We are strongly committed to restoration and preservation of historical structures. Our school-age daughter is also passionate about history. But we couldn’t have done it without our architect Chris, and Ryan Fletcher of Fletcher Development.”
Certificates will be presented to the owners, architect, contractor, town of Westport and the Westport Museum of History & Culture.
(Hat tip: Bob Weingarten, house historian for the Westport Museum of History & Culture, who nominated 70 Turkey Hill Road South for the 2021 Preservation Award.)