Contemporary houses

Must be from Yale

Must be from Yale

I like (a few) contemporary houses and if I were building new and didn’t care about getting my money back, I’d have one designed for me, just as I’d prefer a trimaran sailboat, if resale weren’t an issue. But often, it is and in Greenwich, contemporaries are very much passe. A search through the inventory shows 38 of them on sale (out of 738 single family houses), many of them with long-ago listing dates and none of them with a reasonable chance of getting close to their asking price (that’s my personal opinion, obviously). Greenwich buyers want traditional, for the most part, and contemporaries are not that. Peter Ogden, for instance, made quite a name for himself in Greenwich in the 60s with his designs but the few that haven’t been torn down yet sell for land value only. The poor guy’s life work won’t survive him.

There is a beautiful new contemporary going up on Stanwich overlooking Frye Pond and it’s a pleasure to look at and will no doubt be a wonderful house to live in – I’m envious. But aside from that example, contemporaries  don’t seem to be being built in Greenwich anymore; of the 38 for sale, all are at least 25-years-old and most date back to the 60s.

There is an upside to this: if you like this style of house, you can find numerous examples of the type, most of which have been updated and available, eventually, when their owners give up, for the price of the land they sit on. I can’t think of any that are priced where I think they should be, but give time time, and you’ll do well. But just remember that, when you decide to sell it again, that the house will have gained nothing in value. You should pay for the land only and expect to sell for that, too. In the meantime, if you choose well, you’ll have a wonderful house to live in.


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8 responses to “Contemporary houses

  1. Kidding Really??

    not related chris dodd has prostate cancer

  2. lorin

    all the furniture stores, style magazines, and most of the homes my clients live in are ” contemporary” design…as opposed to say “bohemian” or “shabby chic” of yesteryear…I am proud that the ole’ home town has not fallen for such design marketing ploys

  3. The one going up on mid-Stanwich is absolutely spectacular
    I literally pulled over to get a better look.

  4. There’s a Ogden that actually has been restored/expanded (on Lake I think?) – owners did a wonderful job. See link:

    I, too, have a soft spot for contemporaries and wouldn’t mind living in one.

  5. Another anon

    I was just thinking about one of those you posted a month or two back (maybe longer). It was a single story, L shaped, and enclosed a patio and pool between the two wings. I remember thinking it was an odd sort of house for Greenwich but also that it seemed very pretty and very liveable. I seem to remember it being on a very nicely landscapped lot, maybe on the corner of an intersection?

    I can’t remember the location but I’d just been wondering if that sold or not. You probably don’t remember and I certainly don’t remember enough about it to go back and look up the address. Oh well.

    It was more of a ranch than a contemporary I guess, I’m not very good with the terminology of housing, I just know what I like.

  6. Another anon

    As for the house pictured? Eh, not so much. It seems like an “eff you” to the existing architecture while I prefer something that’s more harmonious and would blend rather than shout “look at me!”

    Having said that, it seems that’s what the Noel-Brown’s had planned for their NYC townhouse before putting it up for sale, hopefully the new owner will junk those plans and find something a lot less jarring.

  7. duff

    Love true contemporaries. Dream is to have the cohunes and deep enough pockets to build one for own home one day.

    Land has to be spectacular to handle a contemporary, ideally waterfront. Don’t know why more don’t exist on our beautiful waterfront here in Fairfield County.

    What are your feelings on the one recently built (2/3 years ago) in OG? (street before E. point lane I think).

  8. Decided to reread the Fountainhead by Ayn Rand this summer. Seemed to have a nice combination of real estate,architecture and capitalism that seemed appropos of out times.Lots of contemporary architecture musings therein.Anywhere if there are contemporary (read that for mid-century ) then New Canaan is the town to check out. on the market now….the “Hemicycle house”. (its round). check it out.