The One-of-a-Kind Home of the Late Architect John Black Lee Drops to $750K

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By Paige Alexus / Published by Dwell
For those on the market for a unique dwelling that was designed and inhabited by an iconic midcentury architect, feast your eyes on the Mill Road House in New Canaan, CT.

As a fixer-upper that John Lee Black built into the hill overlooking Silvermine River in 1990, the concrete-and-glass two-bedroom, two-bath house has recently been dropped by $249,000 to the price of $750,000. You have to act fast though, since an offer has been sent to the lender and is waiting for a word of approval. There’s still time—so take a look through these photos to see the ins and outs of this cantilevered, other-worldly residence.  

Thank you to Susan Wasilewski for sharing this find with us! You can see the whole listing here.

The One-of-a-Kind Home of the Late Architect John Black Lee Drops to $750K - Photo 1 of 10 - Architect John Lee Black built this 1,980-square-foot residence in 1990 and lived in it for 25 years until he passed away in April 2016. Built into the side of the hill, it’s topped off with an A-frame entrance. 

Architect John Lee Black built this 1,980-square-foot residence in 1990 and lived in it for 25 years until he passed away in April 2016. Built into the side of the hill, it’s topped off with an A-frame entrance. 


The One-of-a-Kind Home of the Late Architect John Black Lee Drops to $750K - Photo 2 of 10 - Though the house is in need of some dire repairs—including leaks and a lack of heat and water—it stands proud with its original architecture built entirely of concrete and glass. It cantilevers over the Silvermine River. 

Though the house is in need of some dire repairs—including leaks and a lack of heat and water—it stands proud with its original architecture built entirely of concrete and glass. It cantilevers over the Silvermine River. 

The One-of-a-Kind Home of the Late Architect John Black Lee Drops to $750K - Photo 3 of 10 - Black was said to have mentioned, "This house is the only one in New Canaan that you enter through a skylight." 

Black was said to have mentioned, "This house is the only one in New Canaan that you enter through a skylight." 

The One-of-a-Kind Home of the Late Architect John Black Lee Drops to $750K - Photo 4 of 10 - Shown here is an archival photo of the house during the winter season. Black has sometimes been referred to as the "Sixth of the Harvard Five"—the architects that made history by leading the modern design movement that flourished in Connecticut during the midcentury era. 

Shown here is an archival photo of the house during the winter season. Black has sometimes been referred to as the "Sixth of the Harvard Five"—the architects that made history by leading the modern design movement that flourished in Connecticut during the midcentury era. 

The One-of-a-Kind Home of the Late Architect John Black Lee Drops to $750K - Photo 5 of 10 - The living spaces and dining room are connected and feature an original fireplace. The concrete foundation is exposed throughout, accentuating the house's angular lines. 

The living spaces and dining room are connected and feature an original fireplace. The concrete foundation is exposed throughout, accentuating the house's angular lines. 

The One-of-a-Kind Home of the Late Architect John Black Lee Drops to $750K - Photo 6 of 10 - Wood-and-metal stairs lead up from the living space to the skylight entrance. The glass A-frame gives the feeling of a greenhouse or garden shed. 

Wood-and-metal stairs lead up from the living space to the skylight entrance. The glass A-frame gives the feeling of a greenhouse or garden shed. 

The One-of-a-Kind Home of the Late Architect John Black Lee Drops to $750K - Photo 7 of 10 - The interior hosts an open floor plan and looks out over a balcony that runs the length of the structure along the river side. 

The interior hosts an open floor plan and looks out over a balcony that runs the length of the structure along the river side. 

The One-of-a-Kind Home of the Late Architect John Black Lee Drops to $750K - Photo 8 of 10 - Pillars and other raw construction elements are exposed throughout the space. 

Pillars and other raw construction elements are exposed throughout the space. 

The One-of-a-Kind Home of the Late Architect John Black Lee Drops to $750K - Photo 9 of 10 - You can walk along the thin balcony that lines the edge of the house, where you’ll enjoy incredible views of the river.

You can walk along the thin balcony that lines the edge of the house, where you’ll enjoy incredible views of the river.


The One-of-a-Kind Home of the Late Architect John Black Lee Drops to $750K - Photo 10 of 10 - Black was a supporter of the Glass House School of modern residential architecture that flourished in New Canaan in the midcentury era. This house is no exception as it’s filled with a substantial amount of glass—and concrete, of course. It’s finished with Thermopane Windows throughout. 

Black was a supporter of the Glass House School of modern residential architecture that flourished in New Canaan in the midcentury era. This house is no exception as it’s filled with a substantial amount of glass—and concrete, of course. It’s finished with Thermopane Windows throughout. 

Would you want to take on this house as a project to bring it back to life? What would be the first thing you'd do? Let us know in the comments.