During the '50s, five Bauhaus-influenced architects known as the Harvard Five changed the housing landscape around Connecticut. They began in New Canaan and worked their way around the Nutmeg State, touching down in the traditional New England town of Litchfield around 1950.
That's where Marcel Breuer, one of the Harvard Five, built this stunning house -- the first modern piece of architecture in Litchfield. Now you can own this piece of architectural history for $2,495,000.
The home, known as the Stillman House, is distinctive not only because it was the springboard for modernity in Litchfield (which had mostly Colonial architecture before the Harvard Five's emergence), but also because it's a home Breuer had free rein over.
"The owners were friends with Breuer, and they gave him carte blanche to do whatever he wanted, essentially," says listing agent Graham Klemm of Klemm Real Estate.
The result is a home similar to the first home Breuer built for himself in New Canaan -- a cantilevered two-story, oblong house built of cinder block and wood with large windows allowing a connection to nature, typical of his style at the time.
But this home is more colorful and playful outside, with rectangles of blue, yellow, red, and gray above a modernist wall mural designed by artist Alexander Calder. Klemm says the original wall had crumbled, so the current homeowners rebuilt the wall and had the mural repainted to match the original.
When the homeowners purchased the property from the Stillman family, it had fallen into disrepair. They set out to update this classic to modern standards, taking care to preserve the original vision.
"They made discreet luxury [updates] yet retained the modern feel," Klemm says.
The four-bedroom, two-bathroom home features hardwood flooring on both levels. The flat-roofed home also has floating staircases, two fireplaces, a guesthouse, pool, and porch, all of which have been restored. Located on a hill, it provides spectacular views of New England treetops.
If it weren't for the Stillmans, Litchfield might not have become a hub for modernism. The married couple commissioned Breuer to build two other homes in Litchfield, and they sold a nearby parcel of land under the condition a modern home be built there, according to The New York Times.
That's why another modern house, built by fellow Harvard Five member John Johansen, is located right next door. Following the group's lead, other influential modernists, including Richard Neutra and Edward Durell Stone, also built homes in Litchfield.
While the modern infusion might not have been appreciated at the time, now, the 2,359-square-foot home is part of Litchfield's historic district.
"The town has embraced it," Klemm says.
The house sits just off Litchfield Green, an area of town with congregational churches, restaurants, shops, and residential buildings. Klemm expects the house to sell quickly.
"Rarely is there a Mid-Century Bauhaus up for sale. The market is strong for these kind [of homes]," he says.
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