By Susan Nova
December 15, 2006
Three houses in Greenwich designed and built by brothers J. Alden and Quentin Twacthman are now for sale with rices ranging from $7.95 million to more than $16 million.
A 1906 graduate of the Yale School of the Fine Arts, J. Alden Twachtman won the Winchester Prize for study abroad and attended the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. Beaux Arts was established in 1648 by Cardinal Jules Mazarin to offer studies in the arts from architecture to gem cutting.
Early in his career, J. Alden Twacthtman worked for the top New York architecture firms of the day, McKim Mead & white and Carriere and Hastings. Durring World War I, he was a colonel with the 103d Field Artillery, 26th division of the Army, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and the Distinguished Service Cross.
Together with Quentin, a constrruction engineer, he built 20 houses in Greenwich as speculative ventures, along with some that were custom built. J. Alden and Quentin are the sons of the John Henry Twachtman, one of the founders of the Cos Cob Art Colony.
One imposing 12,376-square-foot Georgian stone mansion has been listed by Janice Frijns of Preferred Properties’ Greenwich office for $16.5 million. The house was renovated and expanded by Bobby Ben-Simon, president of the KOSl Building Group LLC based in Mamaroneck, NY.
“The first thing I do is say ‘I’m going to move in here. What do I want?’ ” said Ben-Simon, who added 5,500 square feet of space to the house, using fieldstone from the property and a slate roof as in the original. “Whatever has to be done is done 100 percent.”
Double-height pairs of Corinthian columns frame the entrance under a finely detailed portico that leads to a floating stairway and a front-to-back hall. The rear facade is as impressive as the front, with six Corinthian columns spanning the house-length terrace.
The living room, with a fireplace surrounded by Doric columns, and the dining room, also with a fireplace, have paneling and wainscoting. The library is of mahogany, with a fireplace.
The kitchen has an oversized island, three sinks, two dishwashers, extensive lines of cabinets, and an eating area with cabinets and a built-in desk. Dentil molding runs under a bow molding, and the backsplashes are tumbled marble. The kitchen opens to the family room with a limestone fireplace. The butler’s pantry has built-in plate racks, cabinets, an icemaker, and a wine cooler.
One first-floor pwoder room retains its original beadboard; the other features green marble and a sink set into an antique dresser look-a-like.
At the head of the stairs with its barleycorn balustrade is an open media room that is crafted of cherry wood.
The master bedroom wing, which is larger than the median house in the United States, has 2,400 square feet of space, including a bedroom with a 12-foot ceiling and two baths, his with steam shower, hers with a new clawfoot tub and steam shower, both in marble. One room-size closet has both a window seat and a packing and storage island with drawers.
The third floor has two rooms and a bath for staff, as well as a large playroom. On the lower level is a 3,000-bottle wine cellar and tasting room, with copper sink and slate floor.
Set on the nearly 5-acre property are a recently dredged pond with aerator, a new swimming pool with spa and a new tennis court. The entire property is fenced and gated in wrought iron with an antique lock.
Another Twachtman house, listed by Francine Ehrlich of Sotheby’s International Realty in Greenwich, is listed for sale for $7.95 million. The English Manor house of stone and stucco, under a slate roof, has leaded-glass windows, half-timbering and sharply defined dormers peeking out of the third floor.
The 8,600-square-foot house was built in 1927 and renovated four years ago. It has six bedrooms, eight baths and four powder rooms. The master suite has two baths, a sitting room, a bedroom with fireplace, and a lake-view balcony.
The ballroom-sized living room, with fireplace, accesses a cherry-clad wet bar. The first-floor library, with fireplace, is paneled in cherry, and extras include a billiard room, a spiral tower stairway, a walk-in linen room and wine cellar. On the more than 2 acres are a stream, waterfall and a swimming pool that overlooks the lake.
Jane Gosden of Greenwich Fine Properties has listed a 1925 Tudor house by the Twacthmans. Fieldstone walls surround the gated, nearly 5-acre property. The 13,450-square-foot house of fieldstone and stucco with half-timbering, sharply peaked third-floor dormers and a slate roof was redone three years ago. The house boasts eight family bedrooms, seven baths, two powder rooms and staff quarters with a separate entrance.
The foyer, floored in marble, has an upper gallery. And the two-level chestnut library, with surrounding gallery, holds 20,000 books. The dining room has French doors to a loggia and terrace. There’s a two-story great room and a stone-floored family room, with antique beams crossing the ceiling.
The master suite has a fireplace, two baths and custom-crafted dressing areas. In all, there are four antique fireplaces, all marble.
Outside, the lush grounds reflect the extraordinary talents of famed landscape architect, Russel Page, who also designed the grounds of PepsiCo’s world headquarterss in Rye, NY, along with the gardens of Francois Goffinet. The swimming pool is complemented by a pool house with fireplace, two baths and two changing rooms. There’s a tennis court, as well as a garage apartment.
A separately deeded five-bedroom home of more than 4,000 square feet and a one-bedroom gatehouse, not by the Twacthmans, are included in the $16.5 million price.