New House “Mandatory Requirements”

Spec(tor) house at 8 Baldwin Farms North...Gid likes.

Gideon Fountain writes:

My house has almost none of the features that I’ve now decided should be “mandatory” at all (expensive) new houses.  I developed this list while walking through 8 Baldwin Farms North (Wilson Alling, listing broker).  It’s just off Round Hill Road, south of the Merritt Parkway.  It’s a spec house built by Greenwich builder Marc Spector (not to be confused with James Bond arch-enemy “SPECTRE”), who seems to get it right every time.

Here then is my list of things that new houses oughtta have:

  • Huge kitchen with huge center-island.
  • Large “mud-room” (Spector’s had two)
  • 3-car, over-size garage
  • Big laundry room with 4 machines, and places to fold stuff
  • Loads and loads of closets, on all floors, with built-in shelves
  • 2nd floor “study area” with cork-board  walls
  • Lower level that is pleasant and has decent ceiling height
  • Big, rubber-floored exercise room, glass walls are a plus
  • Media room, doesn’t have to be gi-mungous
  • Generator

Of course, this house had plenty of other features, like a perfectly sited pool, attractive wine-cellar, truly beautiful bathrooms (not done in the usual “spec-house beige”!), and on and on.  Obviously, the master bedroom/bath needs to be well-designed, with plenty of closets, fireplace, etc., as this one was. They’re asking $7.9M and, for that, you should get all the good stuff.  But there are brand-new houses out there, some cheaper, some more expensive, that are missing quite a few of my “mandatory 10”.  Not acceptable.


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16 responses to “New House “Mandatory Requirements”

  1. Towny

    I’d opine adding Segways to the list.

  2. Cobra

    …the “mandatory 10.” Just like our home…NOT!

  3. Call me wacky, but I couldn’t IMAGINE owning a house with all those mandatory requirements. These houses are for people who can’t think outside the box, literally and figuratively, and have to be told what they need. This same group own boring silver cars (oops, wait Gideon, didn’t YOU just buy a silver Jag?). ANYWAY, my point is that 8 Baldwin is a house, not a home. It’s the kind of place where families have so much space they don’t hang out together. YUCK. Give me character, give me something different, and who the hell needs two washers and two dryers?

    • Gideon Fountain responds…
      “Earth Ocean Sky Redux”: I kinda-sorta agree with you (except for that crack about silver cars). Personally, I don’t need all that stuff either. I will disagree, however, about families not spending time together in big houses. I grew up in a pretty large house with a small-ish kitchen and no family room. Us five kids plus Mom and Dad, did “hang out” in the dining room and living room, but it was difficult. Newer houses, like the one I wrote about, are very conducive to family togetherness.

  4. stump

    The front yard looks like something you’d see out in front of “garden apartments.”

  5. Steve

    My complaint is that houses like that never leave an unfinished space where I can set up my woodworking workshop. It’s like people that buy these houses never have hobbies…

  6. Luke Gardner

    Seems to me Greenwich could use the brilliant design sense of the remarkable woman who runs this design firm:

    Full disclosure is due I suppose: She’s my wife.

  7. Old Timer

    Hi, I’m the one who likes to save historic houses. So, was there any historical significance to that barn that was originally at 8 Baldwin Farms North? I notice that it was there in the 1930s.

    • Gideon Fountain repsonds….
      “Old Timer”: As you say, one of the existing structures dated back to 1925. I spent about 1/2 hour looking the whole place over, back when it came on in 2010 for $1,950,000 (it sold in 50 days, for $1,750,000). I don’t remember anything particularly noteworthy. Pretty much it was just a dated contemporary with a run-down “cottage”.

  8. TraderVic

    Hey Luke Gardner, your wife is very talented. Thanks for sharing.

  9. khiori

    The laundry room is cool.
    Other W/D is for dog blankets.

  10. Anonymous

    For 8 million it should be all stone. What’s up with spec builder’s cheaping out with clapboard on the sides and back like a 200k tract home in Ohio.

  11. Anonymous

    Wasn’t there a house on Baldwin that was bank owned but eventually sold recently for under $5mm? The kitchen was weird in that a staircase was in the middle of it. Seems like $8 million is a lot.

    • Gideon Fountain responds…
      “Anonymous”: It sounds like you’re talking about 45 Baldwin Farms South. It came on the market back in January 2008 for $9,750,000, then got gradually reduced to $5,495,000, didn’t sell, and now is priced at $6,350,000. As for the price of 8 Baldwin Farms North, so far, the market agrees with you.