Open houses

Back from the Tuesday tour. It almost seems like a waste of time these days with so many houses grievously overpriced (an exception: 5 Kenilworth Terrace, asking $1.495. I did not see it but my brother Gideon, a good judge of these things, emailed me that it was “a good deal”. I’ll make an effort to see it). But otherwise, I saw houses for $3 that I thought might go for $1.75, maybe, and $4 million tear-downs sitting on land worth perhaps $1 million, if you can find a buyer for land these days. Painful.

A noteable exception to all this was, surprisingly, Bill Gardiner’s $25 million masterpiece at 253 Round Hill Road. The exterior’s of hand-hewn field stone, every proportion is exquisite, inside and out, and the detail work is phenomenal. The banister alone, hand carved, is reason enough to buy this house. It would be a wonderful thing to start my day coming down the stairs with my hand on this piece of art and just admire its beauty. The basement is huge – my form of entertainment growing up was hunting rats with a barbecue fork and a pellet rifle in my parents’ crawlspace. If your recreational tastes are more conventional, this is the place for you: 12′ ceilings, exercise room, sauna, theatre, etc. etc.

I have some quibbles. I might have made the master bedroom ten feet longer, but I understand the architect’s idea, I think, which is that the bedroom should be a protective space, not an airplane hangar, and besides, there’s a huge sitting room if you insist on space. The land itself, while beautifully landscaped, backs up to those two failed spec houses which were carved out of this property and built on S. Baldwin Farms. Eventually they will be finished and occupied or torn down, I suppose, but until then, you have a question mark as a neighbor.

So what’s the proper price for this place? I have no idea. There are still billionaires around and what’s $25 million to them? Lesser folks might blanch at that price but somewhere there’s a value here, whether that’s at $12.5, $15 million or full price I’ll leave to the rich folks. But a grand house, all in all.


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4 responses to “Open houses

  1. SizeBuyer

    Yeah a good deal on the corner of kenilworth and 95…I mean north street

  2. anonymous

    Problem with $25MM (ask) spec houses, no matter how well-built, is most credible, post-Bubble buyers seem to either want to build to their own tastes or simply live in a far cheaper, rather modest used house

    Just look at current housing choices of Greenwich’s billionaires; suspect younger centimillionaire buyers tend to emulate precedent choices of their elder, wealthier colleagues as they choose own housing

    • christopherfountain

      I don’t disagree, Anon, but this house has a real charm that might appeal to a money-bucks. It’s got the feel of a classic, 1920’s mansion, but completely modern, of course. I won’t pretend to know the tastes of people who can afford this price house – from what I’ve seen, they don’t have any – but somewhere, there should be a buyer. I do think the builder made an unfortunate mistake in his timing and ambition, however.

  3. Anonymous

    WOW I am shocked that you chris think this is so great . I think for 25 million people expect a master suite this was ridiculous , the fireplace is ridiculous. Ithink the architecht ran out of paper when he was working on this. I think this was a big disappointment for people viewing this property . most of these clients are viewing cheaper homes with grand masters . the other down fall I think was te kitchen yes it was nice but you can get nice at 10 million . at this price it should be spectacular . maybe i am crazy but for that # EVERYONE that walks in that house should be screaming that it is unreal.