What To Do With An Old House (besides tearing it down, I mean)

314 North Maple, new price $1.775M (rear view shown). Mere steps from Greenwich Academy, Brunswick, etc.

314 North Maple, new price $1.775M (rear view shown). Mere steps from Greenwich Academy, Brunswick, etc. Great house, with a small kitchen. Bring your architect.

My parents once sent me into NYC for “aptitude evaluation” by the Johnson O’Conner Research Foundation (still very much in business, although the upper East Side brownstone where I went to be tested was recently unloaded for around $20M).

For one of the tests, they sat me at a table with a small pile of multi-sized pieces of wood. I was told to assemble them into the shape of a cube.  After about ten minutes, the administrator came back in the room. I said, “Wait, I’ve almost got this!”. She shook her head sadly, as though regarding a dog trying to get a tennis ball from under a couch. “If you had structural vision, you’d have finished in under a minute.”

Ok, so I don’t have structural #@%&-ing vision,  but you know who does? Engineers, for one, but also architects! That’s why an architect can walk into a house and immediately tell you how to fix a problem.  A broker might suggest you “remove that wall”, but a good architect develops a plan to not just remove the offending wall, but to make a dozen other small or large changes that dramatically transform/re-vitalize an existing house.

314 North Maple Avenue, listed by Shore & Country’s Jennifer O’Brien, needs just such a transformation, but it will be worth it! This house, a few doors down from Greenwich Academy, is ideally located close to Town, and is loaded with charm, elegance, and character. You don’t get any of that with a newer house. Just reduced to $1,775,000. At least go look.

Note: click “slide show” on the Houlihan Lawrence link to see the beautiful interior.


13 thoughts on “What To Do With An Old House (besides tearing it down, I mean)

  1. Before reading your comment I thought, “Loaded with the kind of character and charm many new homes don’t have.”

    My mother loved renovating homes. She had the eye for it…and could express her ideas as a wonderful illustrator. No wonder I went to design school and managed major design/construction. So much fun it it’s truly in your blood.

    Seems like this should go soon…

  2. So you found your computer. Got it back from the Pawn Shop?

    Two posts in a week – does this mean you intend to fully disregard the ill communication requirements of your employer?

    Great story about ‘structural vision’ – that’s one I won’t forget.

    • Cobb:
      What’s all this flap-doodle about “communication requirements”? The only reason I wasn’t writing was because, well, because…I’m not sure! Sometimes I just don”t feel like it, but then suddenly, the urge strikes me!

      • My observation, ever since you donned the Sotheby’s crest you’ve shut down your free flowing stream of meaningful opinions and real estate data.

      • Cobbster:
        Ah ha, that’s where you make your bloomer, old chap! I left Sotheby’s a few months ago and joined Houlihan Lawrence, across from Greenwich Library. Feel free to drop by.

  3. This home is absolutely lovely. I wouldn’t touch the bathrooms. No pic of kitchen so I’m guessing it got renovated in the ugly days of the 80s or 90s.

    I’d only be concerned that during a heavy rain the run off DOWN the driveway would end up in the garage. I owned a house once with the same issue and I had two giant french drains dug into the driveway that caught the water before it made it into my basement.

    • Anon:
      I agree about those bathrooms, they’re classic, and in perfect condition. As for the kitchen, it too is original, and like the baths, perfectly preserved. But it is small and simply MUST be expanded.
      Not sure about the outside water drainage system, but I did note that the garage showed no signs of water intrusion. The owners of this house have clearly been meticulous maintainers.

      • Wonderful that the kitchen is original. Hint: a photo of it in the listing would help. Disagree that it MUST be enlarged. Not having seen it mind you (hint two), not everyone wants a huge kitchen. I HATE open concept kitchens. HATE! This house strikes me as perfect for empty nesters. So market it that way, not for someone who wants to enlarge/change it but to someone who appreciates it for what it is and moves right in.

      • Anon:
        Say, this isn’t even my listing, for heaven’s sake, but perhaps listing broker Jennifer O’Brien will read your words. And furthermore, I agree with you.

  4. Beautiful house. Love the bathrooms. Duplicate of a Waterworks bath but they are original. If this has a maids room next to the kitchen, not such a big renovation. Can use the library as a family room. Only thing is a busy street where cars go fast.

  5. Sweet house. Love the old, but appreciate that we just don’t live the way we did in the ’20s. Sad to hear that no one can be bothered with this sort of process and want soulless (literally) new copies of these sort of houses.

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