On the market: Stone house a solid example of Frazier Peters’ design
Published 6:20 am, Saturday, August 8, 2015
The Cape Cod-style house at 33 Hermit Lane is constructed of wood and native fieldstone, with an interesting history and equally interesting features unique to this property.
It was built around 1930 and was authenticated in 2010 as a Frazier Peters designed and constructed house by Robert A. Weingarten, the house history chairman for the Westport Historical Society, member of the town’s Historic District Commission, and an authority on Peters’ houses. Weingarten is the co-author of a book titled “Frazier Forman Peters: Westport’s Legacy in Stone,” along with Peters’ granddaughter Laura A. Blau. Peters was a noteworthy, self-taught architect.
According to documentation provided by Weingarten to the current homeowners, there are key design elements that identify their 2,081-square-foot house as a Peters’ creation, including the exterior walls constructed of fieldstone, greenish-colored tiles in a bathroom “which was a Peters style,” built-in dressers in the two upstairs bedrooms, fireplaces with no original mantels and other features. Weingarten combined this physical evidence with deed and tax information to conclude it is a Peters’ house.
The fact that the house sits on a one-acre parcel with a stream running through it lends more credibility as “Frazier Forman Peters’ houses are marked by their connection to the land … he believed in a direct connection between a building and the land,” Weingarten and Blau said in their book. Peters often chose parcels with water features, generally a pond or a stream.
ABOUT THIS HOUSE
STYLE: Cape Cod stone house
ADDRESS: 33 Hermit Lane
FEATURES: Frazier Peters stone house, water views of stream with a footbridge, his and hers garages, one-acre level and sloped property, deck, covered porch, three fireplaces, imported Spanish tiles on one fireplace, storm doors, insulated windows, skylights, well-maintained with many upgrades, his and hers garages, well water, three bedrooms, two full baths
SCHOOLS: Coleytown Elementary, Coleytown Middle, Staples High
MILL RATE: 18.09 mills
Peters was not responsible for the second unusual feature — the hand-painted tiles of the surround on the fireplace in the living room. According to the granddaughter of an early owner of the house those tiles were imported from Spain in 1936 by her grandfather, who bought the house in 1941. That owner had operated two mines in North Africa for the Spanish royal family. When he returned to the United States he brought the tiles with him, she said in a note to the current owners.
Those tiles tell two distinct stories. Along the top are nine tiles in vibrant colors that depict a matador engaged in a bull fight. Along the outer edges of the firebox there are six tiles on either side installed vertically and they combine to tell the story of “The Ingenious Gentleman of La Mancha” by Cervantes. Each tile continues the story and there are three individual tiles that represent Don Quixote, his lady love Dulcinea and his horse Rocinante. His trusty sidekick, Sancho Panza, does not have his own tile, but he is pictured in several of the tiles.
The house allows for one level living with the living and dining rooms, den and the kitchen on the main level. The master bedroom is “sunken” requiring a few steps down. The granddaughter of the earlier owner said the original first floor master bedroom now serves as the dressing room for the current master suite, which was added to the house in a construction project in the late 1940s. The master bedroom has a vaulted and beamed ceiling and a large picture window with a view of the stream and yard.
In addition to the narrative fireplace, the living room has a beamed ceiling, built-in shelves and cabinets and French doors to an oversize wood deck looking over the bucolic backyard and stream; a perfect place for morning coffee, an evening glass of wine and for summer entertaining. The kitchen has a terra cotta tile floor and patterned Mexican tile backsplash. One counter area is topped with a different Mexican tile, the other has butcher block.
On the second floor there are two additional bedrooms and a bath. One is currently used as a guest room and the other an office.
In the unfinished basement there is a large rock near one part of the stone foundation. Peters was known for leaving natural elements in place and building around them. The basement provides access to the two one-car garages at either end of the house. One garage has a fireplace.
For more information or to make an appointment to see the house, contact Ed Strauss of Halstead Property at 203-247-0986 or firstname.lastname@example.org.