Open House report

Three suitable for comment, in my opinion.

20 West End Avenue

20 West End Avenue

Star of the day was undoubtedly 20 West End Avenue, $4.189 million. The drawback first: it’s on a long, shared driveway, and everybody hates those. That out of the way, the house is fantastic: open, beautifully finished, just livable and unstuffy. I didn’t hear a negative word about it from the dozen or so brokers who were there when I was, and in this nasty business, that’s unusual. Is this the right price? Who knows, but it feels about right.

340 Stanwich

340 Stanwich

340 Stanwich’s price I’m not so sure about. It’s asking $3.495 million which, on first walk-around, I figured was at least $1.2 too much, but that’s before I went outside. Inside, it has a nice, but cluttered layout that looks as though it would make for excellent entertaining space. The clutter can be removed of course (one man’s clutter, by the way, is someone

view from 340 Stanwich patio

view from 340 Stanwich patio

else’s prized possessions, I get it – but I’m looking at it from a buyer’s perspective, not a collector’s). There are bedrooms upstairs that feel like a ski lodge dormitory but that could also be changed.

It’s the outside that transforms this place – 3.5 acres, including a pool an a great lawn sweeping down to Frye “Lake” (I was told by father that any body of water you can see across is a pond “unless”, he added, “you’re a real estate agent”. I’m a real estate agent now, a life decision that would have my father spinning in his grave, if he had a grave, so I’ll go with “lake”).  But all that land poses a problem: it, and the pool, and the Frye Whateveryoucallit, are down a long, steep stairway built into a rock wall. Not a big problem at all for an active family, but the house itself will presumably a couple of old fogies who need its first-floor bedroom. So that’s a conundrum, but one I’m sure will be worked out by the market. Stay tuned.

40 Winthrop

40 Winthrop

40 Winthrop Drive in Riverside is priced at $3.395 million, a price that gave me pause when it came on this week and still has me a little unconvinced after seeing it; a little, but it also wouldn’t surprise me if it sold for this price. I think I’ll follow the lead of our president and Senator Markey and vote “present”.

Plus side: very nice inside, good layout, and a fantastic yard, in the back and on the (western) side. These days, finding an acre of yard in Riverside is just about impossible, and an acre on Winthrop, a beautiful, traffic-free street within easy walking distance of the schools and trains, is even rarer. If someone pays what I consider to be a premium for this location and this acreage, I wouldn’t be surprised.

I do think, however, that if you’re reaching for top dollar, it would be wise to spend a little bit up front to make a good first impression. This is a pretty plain looking house as is, and a rusty handrail on the front steps, an uneven, sagging stone walkway to the front door and a banister on the third floor that threatens to fall off in your hand raises questions, unjustified, surely, that maintenance wasn’t in the budget during this owner’s tenure. I am not saying that the house is in poor condition; to the contrary, it appears to be in great shape, overall, but as a general tip to homeowners thinking of selling, fix up the minor cosmetic problems that detract from a home’s appearance. You know what your grandmother told you about first immersions? It’s still true.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Mid Country, Neighborhoods, Old Greenwich, pricing

21 responses to “Open House report

  1. LMNOP

    I suppose this headline isn’t MEANT to be funny but darn, it sure is. And it’s not even written by The Onion.

    @eyewitnessnyc: BREAKING: A 20 yr old male was operating his toy helicopter when it struck him in the head, killing him

  2. Anonymous

    Does 20 west end come with a boat?

    • It would do you no good without a trailer, as there’s no immediate access to water. If you’re asking about flooding, it looked to my unprofessional eye that while the pool might get wet, the actual house is raised pretty high. I’d imagine that, as brand new construction, they built it above the new FEMA elevation of 15′ but obviously, you’ll want to ask before buying.

  3. Sound Beacher

    Is that what has been under construction beyond the ballfields behind OG School! Wow, looks beautiful, but what about the tidal flat w/ them buzzing ‘squitos just at the edge of your yard?

  4. Anonymous

    Best thing about the house was the flat screen TV that comes up in the center of the kitchen island. Not a very good location, narrow shared driveway, and uneven strange looking floors.- the list goes on!

    • So here you have it, a builder who finally dares to roll the dice and go beyond the traditional and “anonymous” wants to bust his balls. This house is simply stunning and deserves every plaudit I hope will be bestowed upon it. As a developer who missed out on the property I can only congratulate the builder who had the vision to bring this to market and challenge the norm in Old Grenwich and Riverside. He has opened my eyes to a whole new world and I only hope his bravado is rewarded.

      • Anonymous

        Is it FEMA compliant?

        • AJ

          Looking at the photos of 20 West End Ave., I can see the back of the OG school yard and the reeds growing in the swamp, or salt marsh if you prefer. That marsh, covered in salt hay, sits only inches above the high water mark and the top of the reeds grow to about six feet, maybe seven feet at the highest, above the marsh. In reality, the water has never come anywhere near that high in that area, but FEMA regs have nothing to do with reality. Here’s a link to the current (to my best knowledge) FEMA flood map for that area. Scroll down to the “depiction to changes to the firm panels” heading, then click on the Old Greenwich PDF to view the current FEMA flood zones for West End Avenue on the following site:

      • housecat

        Really great looking. I have to agree with you and the other commenters here who liked this house. LOVE the beachy aesthetic here. I would love to have a house like this.

    • Toonces

      Did we see the same house?? The only thing I didn’t like about this house was the Tv in the island. The rest is absolutely stunning. I was hoping they’d overpriced it and thus in our price range. Alas, I believe it will go for close to ask. Gorgeous, different, cool, and beautifully built.

      • I had initially thought it might be overpriced, before I saw it, based on location alone. That changed when I arrived, but don’t give up, yet. I, like you, think it will go quickly, but it’s possible that shared driveway will put buyers off or … who knows? Houses sell and don’t sell for reasons, sometimes, I just don’t understand. So check back in, say 3-4 weeks; you might find more flexible pricing.

        • Toonces

          exactly right, Chris. I thought it might be high because of the proximity of school, fire house, train and that driveway. It’s interesting that when you really, REALLY like a house you can look at the positives of those things. Walk to school, house on fire – quick service!, walk to train. Need to borrow sugar – walk down your driveway. A shared driveway magically becomes a lane when you really like a house. I hope you’re right and it doesn’t go so quickly. It was a mob scene today.

  5. Anonymous

    So there you have it Gary, a builder who finally dares to roll the dice……….

    • I’m entirely with Gary in this one. You should know that the “anonymous” commenter who trashes the place is a rather ugly, aging real estate agent who sells, when she sells anything at all, little half-million-dollar bungalows in Chickahominy. When she isn’t cold-calling expired listings she comes here to vent her frustration, rage and envy.
      So I don’t pay much attention to her opinions.

      • Anonymous

        yeah, but is it in the flood zone or not?

        • I’m sure it’s “in the flood zone” but the question to ask is its elevation, and I’m sure it wouldn’t have a c/o if it weren’t high enough. That said, you obviously don’t buy without confirmation of that (and a dozen other things, but we’re talking about flood zone here).

        • t

          OK. Here goes.
          The pictures show a really wonderful looking home. The builder/arch should be complimented.
          However, it is in a marginally location. Getting into the very busy street from the shared driveway is no picnic. It is surrounded by homes that are not worth nearly as much and its 100 yards from the noisy firehouse and overhead train tracks. The backyard view is great if one likes to look a storm sewer pipes and cattails.

          That said, from the pictures, it is a beautiful house and the archt/builder should be busy-building on good land- from here on out

  6. Anonymous

    that 20 west end house is probably one of the coolest places i’ve seen marketed around here. spectacular in every way….other than the piddly 2 car detached. it deserves a 4 car setup, and NOW you’re talkin’!

  7. Flash

    20 West End is magazine ready.
    Who was architect?
    Who selected finishes?
    What is today’s equivilent to ‘cool’?

  8. Anon

    WEA house is fabulous. Should be on the water front or in the Hamptons! Glad to see someone doing something different. I am slowly trying to make our house look ‘cool’ which is currently a mish mash from previous owners and people keep saying – oh no, you’ll never sell it. Would love to know who the interior designer was for that house.

  9. jennifer

    Went to the open house at WEA based on your rave reviews, and it didn’t disappoint ! it is about time Greenwich had options like this for young, modern families who know what they like and expect their builders and architects to be just as up to date. My only concern as a mom of a 4 year old is the balconies off of the kids rooms and I wasn’t loving the view from the family room of the screened in porch and outdoor kitchen. Would’ve loved to see more of the pool from that room but the outdoor entertaining area was amazing !