One open house today

18 Pinecroft, before renovations

18 Pinecroft, before renovations

But it was a doozy, the mansion at 18 Pinecroft Road. 9,000 sq. ft. up, another 4,000 underground, $7.250 million, this place has so much space, so much of everything in fact that I asked the nice fellow checking hats at the door, Eric Bjork, whether I could come back and show it to some of my $3.5ish clients the next time they complained that a house we were viewing had too small a master bedroom/bath/closet etc. You want that? Pony up and I’ve got it for you.

This is not my kind of house, obviously, but I have clients with large, extended families, a squad of nannies and a phalanx of armed security guards, the whole thing – picture a Saudi Princess’s entourage descending on Paris and you’ll have the idea – and I listen to what they want. 18 Pinecroft could probably meet those wants. Looks like superb quality of finish and has a nice layout. My quibble is that the lawn’s somewhat confined (1.6 acres, with most of the yard to the side) for this price range and the houses leading up to this one are far more modest in scale. You can’t change the size of the lot, but Pinecroft is really well located, off Parsonage, close to town and yet a dead end, so there’s no traffic. I’m sure that the next building boom will see those tiny gardner’s hovels  replaced by mansions, and when they are, you’ll be nestled right in with your neighbors instead of looming over them. Why you’d want to lose that lord of the manor feeling escapes me, but Greenwich is known for its down-to-earth, unpretentious residents so I’m sure most buyers don’t want to be the biggest frog in the pond, right?

But here’s a puzzlement, one that perhaps Fudrucker can answer upon his return from the SOTU tonight: this lot is 1.61 acres in the R-2 zone, which has a FAR of 0.09. By my math, the maximum allowable house size is 6,312 sq. ft,, so how were 9,000 squeezed in here?

18 Pinecroft, as renovated

18 Pinecroft, as renovated

But they were, and they’re for sale. It’s quite a house, and if that bonus finally vested and is now burning a hole in your (crocodile) money belt, here’s a place to spend it.


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30 responses to “One open house today

  1. Libertarian Advocate

    Gee, when I went to Texas as a little kid I saw a building that looks an awful lot like that house.

  2. D

    When were the FAR restrictions incorporated in Greenwich? More importantly, is there an easy way to check if a house you are about to buy was legally built to its current size? If it’s somehow found out to be illegally constructed over the allowed FAR – what are the consequences after the fact?

    • D, there was a window of opportunity back around then when, as the result of a successful court challenge, FAR rules couldn’t be enforced, and home builders rushed to build as large a house as they could before the regulations were reimposed (which they were). Whether this house was built during that hiatus I don’t know, but it would explain how it came about.
      Violations of permits can be serious. I know of one case in Westport, or that area, where the entire roof of a huge new supermarket had to be torn off and the building lowered when a neighborhood opponent discovered that it had been built 6″ too high. Her discovery came on the Friday before the Monday the store was to open, and hilarity (or something) ensued.
      UPDATE: Missed the fine point of your question – after a certificate of occupancy is issued, there’s nothing the town can do about a FAR violation, which explains why so many attics are completed after the town has signed off.

      • D

        Damn… that’s crazy. Any idea how hard it is to apply for a variance to the FAR restriction? Probably not possible for new construction or we’d see it all the time, but what about existing stock? Like adding a bedroom that would push you over square footage?

        • You can do it, but, and Fudrucker can correct me on this, the P&Z doesn’t have the power to grant a variance – of any kind – and one must go before the Zoning Board of Appeals – good people and, in my experience, far more sensible than the P&Z. My own neighbors, for instance, needed a variance to use an until-then-unfinished attic to house some of their 17 children and although it probably added six months to the building process, it was granted. Didn’t hurt that all four of their neighbors on our tiny street wrote letters in support of the application – vehement opposition might have killed it. But we aren’t those kind of neighbors on William Street.

        • D

          Thanks Chris. Thank god for some sense in this world. We have less property rights than back in Mother Russia!

  3. Anonymous

    15 Pinecroft sold brand new for $5.4MM last September. A far more conventional looking house on a flat lot. Even assuming 18 Pinecroft is to your taste architecturally, how can it justify a $1.8MM premium, or selling at the same price as that 4 acre house on Larkspur Lane. You must be getting soft, I have witnessed you come down far harder on listing brokers and owners with lesser pricing transgressions.

  4. Anonymous

    No shed with which to store garden tools and snowplow? Pass.

  5. Anonymous

    Looks like a good chunk of the sf is the 3rd floor playroom. Seeing that the door barely fits under the ceiling, I would suspect the most if not all of that room is less than 7′ in height in which case it counts as sf on your tax card but not as sf for FAR. Still doesn’t get you to FAR restrictions with a 3 car garage but it’s closer.

    • No, I’m sure the 3rd floor playroom would count against allowable FAR. I’m pretty short: 5′ 10″, but if I didn’t bang my head up there, and I didn’t, the height’s enough for the FAR Czar to add it to his tally sheet. Or at least I think so, but FAR rules change faster than I can keep up with so who knows?

      • Mickster

        If you’re 5′ 10″ then I’m 6′ 3″ – you spent half of your life working for the other Walt (Disney) with Snow White!!
        You would definitely be looking for a beating, boyo

  6. iAnon

    From “the to each his own” department:
    The architectural masterpiece…

  7. iAnon

    o/t but so perfectly The Onion, it’s well worth repeating to this crowd of fellow Obamaphobes who appreciate a good laugh at the expense of our President.

    From The Onion:
    On Tuesday night, President Barack Obama will appear before a joint session of Congress and deliver his first State of the Union address since being reelected. Here is what to expect in this year’s speech:

    1. Obama to punctuate each point with skeet shot
    2. Throughout the speech, a large star-spangled beach ball will be batted around the House of Representatives to congressmen’s delight
    3. Michelle Obama to widen tight-mouthed grin slightly at mention of health care
    4. Sign language interpreter to be given two minutes at the end of the speech to say whatever she wants to the nation’s deaf
    5. Harsh criticism of the American people
    6. President Obama to give a shout-out to some sad business owner who hasn’t wised up yet and shipped all of his jobs to China
    7. Some light crowd work whenever Obama feels like it’s dead out there
    8. Planned gag where Gabby Giffords pops in behind the podium, making Obama think the riotous applause is for him

  8. anonymous

    Shahs of Midcountry.

  9. Anonymous

    “Shahs of Midcountry” that was friggin’ hilarious.

    Where are we, Anaheim Hills?

  10. Anonymous

    House too big, ugly decorating and should be priced around $5.5 at best!! good location however.

  11. Cos cobber

    Remember the Alamo! I actually like the interior more than I expected. Love how the ad mentions north street school and central middle.

    • The interior is far more more formal than I’d be comfortable in, but who asked me? It’s very nice, if you like that sort of thing, and far better than some of those truly horrible examples of “Greenwich Back County Decorating” seen in other homes.
      I’m sure the mention of the excellent school district is to reassure the caretaker’s family.

  12. anonymous

    Hey come on. Persians need a place to live too.

  13. Anonymous

    i’d like a bowl of cherry rice and a midcountry estate, to go please. thanks.

  14. FF

    Three possible answers to your FAR question on Pinecroft.

    1) It isnt 9047 square feet but in fact two levels of about 3,000 square feet each and a full 3000 square foot basement. That would conform in the zone so long as the basement was adequately buried.
    2) The lot was never built upon since Jesus first came over to North America to speak to the Nephites, thus immune from FAR restrictions
    3) The number is just made up.

    Since the listing cites the tax card as its source for built area, and the tax card does not cite FAR but “built area; and because of the impeccable reputation of the agent, I’m going with number 1.

    As far as FAR variances, fugeddaboutit. Only the Board of Appeals can grant those, and I think I saw it granted once in the past 10 years. Could be more or less, but where is the hardship so fierce that you need a bigger house?

  15. Anonymous

    “Greenwich is known for its down-to-earth, unpretentious residents…”

    Ha Ha Ha Hardee Har Har Har!

    Surely you were being ironic here, CF.