And we’re back

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 Rd

115 Dingletown Rd

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

32 Copper Beech

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.


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13 responses to “And we’re back

  1. Anonymous

    It must be “opposite day.”

  2. anonymous

    Aw, come on.. you’re kidding right? Having an Austin Powers goes to Massapequa retro moment? On the payroll for Benjamin Moore paints? Been watching too much of HGTV’s Design on a Dime? Spiked your morning coffee with bath salts? No no no no. We want our old curmudgeon Chris back.

  3. Accolay

    Just curious – why do you say that the house would fit in Westport? Does the town have a reputation for more avant-garde design? I thought towns got more traditional as you go up the line?

    • No, Greenwich is the most traditional, for some reason, and buyers seem to prefer traditional designs (although contemporaries obviously sell). It’s funny, because Westport, Fairfield and towns north have also preserved much of their authentic “traditional” homes – buyers value them, buy them and maintain them, whereas here we tear them down and put up super sized replicas in their place. Go figure.

  4. You say bedroom opens to terraced pool at dingletown but, I believe that is a pond. Moreover. I wonder if it is moving or stagnant water?

  5. Greenwich Gal

    It is indeed a shame that Greenwich residents don’t try and save their beautiful antique homes here. In other places around the country. older, beautifully built homes are the pride and joy of communities – Montgomery, Alabama, San Francisco, CA, Savannah, GA, just to name a few off the top of my head. Maybe all the old Greenwich money and the values that come with it have up and left for Florida….

  6. anonymous

    It is definitely a pond, b/c I asked about it. The previous owners put in a filtration system, but these owners have never hooked it up. The water flows in one end and out the other…..Supposedly the bottom was filled with concrete so it’s pool like. But obviously dark like a pond and not heated!
    I wonder what happens if we get a ton of rain very quickly….you would think the water would come right in to the kitchen….

  7. D

    That’s a pretty wild contemporary, but I gotta say I like it. If I weren’t so afraid of re-sale, I’d love to live in a modern house. Sadly… they’re just not what most people want so you’ll need someone special to sell it to eventually.

    • Some years ago an agent – Sandy Shaw? – took the time to calculate days on market for contemporaries vs. traditional and if I recall correctly, there wasn’t much difference between them in either time or price. That result doesn’t jibe with what I think I see, but what I think and what “is” can be entirely different things. Maybe if the power stays on I’ll take advantage of this downtime and take another look at those data. Trouble is, our board’s statistics are so skewed, i.e.. using the last sales price for the ask-to-value ratio and resetting days on market whenever a listing is pulled and then put back up for sale that the numbers have to be calculated individually. Still if I picked, say, 100 sales, that would be manageable and should be a large enough sample to be useful. Stay tuned, but don’t hold your breath. I have a rental comparison to work up for a client first!

      • D

        That would be interesting. I’ve always thought I’d have to wait until I can afford a vacation house to be able to own modern. Oh well, we’ll have to wait – priorities, they are a bitch!🙂