An Eliot Noyes Transformation in Connecticut Honors the Experimental Spirit of the Original

An Eliot Noyes Transformation in Connecticut Honors the Experimental Spirit of the Original

By Jenny Xie
Now offered at under $7 million, a renovation of Noyes’ Brown Residence uses architectural mimicry and contrast to sustain the late architect’s concepts.

During the 1940s and ‘50s, the Harvard Five—Marcel Breuer, John Johannsen, Philip Johnson, Landis Gores, and Eliot Noyes—conducted experiments in residential design in New Canaan, Connecticut, that bestowed the bedroom community with some 100 midcentury modern homes. Many of them have been torn down, rendering the ones that stand all the more precious. Currently on the market, the Brown Residence originally designed by Eliot Noyes and renovated by Joeb Moore & Partners Architects enjoys a sculptural quality and a deep connection to the landscape. The restored home—where, incidentally, Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm was filmed—has dropped $1,045,00 for an asking price of $6,950,000.

The 8,269-square-foot residence sits atop 2.8 acres landscaped by Reed Hilderbrand.

A two-story glass curtain wall allows for natural light and views to permeate the space and the open stairs.

When Dave and Deborah Prutting of Prutting & Company Custom Builders bought the five-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bath residence in 2001, it needed repair and renovation. The Pruttings enlisted Joeb Moore to help execute a transformation that would honor Noyes’ vision while updating the home for a modern lifestyle. In 2004, a new owner continued this important work alongside Joeb Moore & Partners and Reed Hilderbrand landscape architects. The redesign, which was based on extensive research, "preserves and extends the experimental nature of the original residence," explains Moore, through a series of additions and subtractions.

Mahogany windows and doors, black walnut floors, and beech veneer millwork create warmth in the bright interior.

The family room enjoys broad views of the landscaped property and leads to an outdoor terrace and fireplace.

The formal dining room can open onto the terrace as well, while sliding pocket doors give the option of privacy and intimacy.

A zinc-clad container sits above the one-story box of the original home, echoing its dimensions and proportions while also producing an intentionally disjointed effect. A sectional void has been created along the entry wall, and the negative space contributes to a vertical element. "This spatial experience goes against the grain and contrasts with the horizontal sensibility of the house," explains Moore. A two-story glass curtain wall strengthens the relationship between the building and the lushly landscaped grounds, while a pool and separate pool house with two bedrooms, kitchen, and living room complete the property.

On the second floor are two ensuite bedrooms and a master suite with a private balcony, gas fireplace, and dressing room. The separate pool house, which has stayed true to its 1950 footprint, boasts two other bedrooms.

A zinc-clad addition complements the cedar-clad structure, emphasizing the "abstract formal precepts of Noyes’ design," says Moore.

For more information, visit the listing online.

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