Two good ones, I thought, 115 Dingletown and 32 Copper Beech, but neither is a house for the typical family of mom, dad, three children and a cute French au pair.
115 Dingletown, a contemporary priced at $2.195 million, is pretty neat, and perfect for, say, a down-sizing couple or brave young investment bankers just starting on their career and with a tiny budget with which to buy shelter. It’s quirky, and has those spiral staircases invented by architects to torture human beings and demonstrate a firm grasp of the modern school’s disassociation of form and function, but it’s also open and light. The master bedroom suite opens to the terraced pool pictured here and even on a grey day like today, with bare trees and patches of old snow (I have no idea how listing agent Janet Milligan Photoshopped in the greenery in the pictures, but she’s a genius in so many areas, why not digital imagery?) it felt like the perfect place to wake up to in the morning. Very nice – I’d move in tomorrow.
32 Copper Beech, $2.6 million, is a complete mindblower, and I used the exterior shot to demonstrate, once you click on the interior shots, how you can completely transform a nondescript, unprepossessing 1965 house into something spectacularly new. MOMA in the suburbs, or something like that. Again, though, it’s a bit of a rabbit warren and lacks the standard playroom spaces that a barrel full of children and a rainy day demand, but someone who doesn’t need that will find a great house on an excellent street, close to town. This one was the talk of the broker circuit today – everyone who saw it loved it although I wasn’t alone in wondering who it might fit among their clients. If this house were in Westport, where buyers don’t seem so insistent upon traditional, it would sell in a heartbeat. As it is, I think it will still sell quickly – certainly the price is reasonable – but only to a certain buyer. Conventional it is not. But if you’re having difficulty envisioning what you can do with an older home, go see this one. At the very least, it will open your eyes to possibilities you might otherwise not consider.
Only because I’m a kind soul do I refrain from identifying a third new listing on today’s tour, but I’ll describe it as a plain old builder’s special, down a very long driveway on a street that doesn’t command much above the low $2s. There’s nothing wrong with the house – it looks quite comfortable, and clearly the sellers have put money into it, but being pretty active showing houses in a broad spectrum of prices these days I thought it looked acceptable for something priced in the street’s low $2s range. But when I rechecked its price I discovered that it’s been priced a million more than what reality dictates. Really?
I understand sellers’ desire to recover what they’ve put into a house and perhaps net a modest profit, but what possesses agents to go along with such an impossible dream? Money will be spent on futile advertising, time will be wasted showing the house to non-buyers and a year or so from now the owners will fire the agent and hire a new one because it’s all the fault of that poor first agent for “failing to market it properly”. Again, the sellers I understand, Why an experienced agent accepts such a challenge baffles me.