It's hard to put a label on artistic architecture. While the house at 82 Morningside Drive South in the Greens Farms neighborhood is called a Contemporary, that particular style is inadequate to describe its sophisticated whimsy as designed by award-winning New York architect James Biber.

"Style can be purchased, but only a private residence shaped for a unique personality carries the meaning that architecture alone can express; space, time and emotion," Biber has said.

This house has a unique personality of its own. It also has a tennis court, heated gunite in-ground swimming pool, and a driveway for service vehicles and substantial parking when entertaining. This second driveway accesses the property from Summer Hill Road, which borders one side of the corner lot property.

The 5,589-square-foot house was built in 1972 by Cliff May and is considered one of the most architecturally significant modern residences in this part of the United States, the broker says. It is quite unusual in its form and function. It has a deep and unusual roofline, including two pyramidal shapes. Its front façade creates a bridge under which visitors pass to enter the courtyard and covered front entrance, which has French doors and textured glass windows. Inside, there is a circular layout. Many of the rooms are on the first floor but staircases on both sides of the bridge lead to the second floor game room.

May is considered the father of the California ranch-style home and he has often blurred the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces. He set this house on a 2.25-acre level and gently sloping property in an optimal way to take advantage of its own views and those of the property directly across the street. The Hilla Von Rebay Arboretum is administered by the Aspectuck Land Trust. It was a gift from Von Rebay, an artist and co-founder of the Guggenheim Museum. The public is invited to explore the land trust property, which includes nine acres of lawns, gardens, specimen trees and wooded wetlands.

The Contemporary house's property has its own artfully landscaped grounds. The interior of the house is also artfully designed, with many unusual and visually appealing elements. There are open geometric cutouts in some walls -- circle, triangle and square shapes. The kitchen sits on an angle rather than having the traditional four square walls. It's called a "floating" concept.

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Kitchen features include a black granite floor, white-and-black granite counters, two circular sinks, and a Five Star six-burner range with grill and double ovens.

In the formal living room there are nearly floor-to-ceiling windows and stone tile flooring.

The master bedroom has a door to a large covered porch/deck. Behind the bed is a dressing room with built-in cabinets and his and hers closets. The master bath is extraordinary and extraordinarily large, as is the shower which features 10 shower heads. There is also a steam room and soaking tub.

This side of the house has another bedroom and an office with a cathedral ceiling.

One of the most unusual features is found in the media or family room. It has a wood-burning stove, wet bar and an interior balcony that spans two walls and has birch tree branches as railings and birch trunk supporting posts. There are also built-in bookshelves giving the room flexible use as a library.

More Information

ABOUT THIS HOUSE
TYPE: Contemporary
ADDRESS: 82 Morningside Drive South
PRICE: $3,150,000
NUMBER OF ROOMS: 10
FEATURES: tennis court, gated property, heated Gunite in-ground swimming pool, cabana, balcony/deck, 2.25-acre level and sloping fully fenced property, corner lot, across from the Hilla Von Rebay Arboretum, close to Greens Farms train station, proximity to Post Road (Route 1), wet bar, professional landscaping, steam room, interior balcony, courtyard, skylights, two covered porches, service driveway, some window treatments, wood shingle roof, unusual media room with wood stove, exterior sprinkler system, stucco exterior, pantry, four bedrooms, four full and two half baths
SCHOOLS: Greens Farms Elementary, Bedford Middle, Staples High
ASSESSMENT: $1,415,500
TAX RATE: 17.94 mills
TAXES: $25,394

Across the bridge on the opposite side of the house there is a kids' play area and homework space. There are two more bedrooms, one of which has a door to the second covered porch/deck.

Although this house is one-of-a-kind, there are plans in place for new construction for the potential buyer who might prefer to raze the existing house. The plans are for a 10-room, 8,000-square-foot Colonial house with six bedrooms, six full and two half baths, and a three-car attached garage.

The other proposal is to expand the existing house while preserving the integrity of the original design.

There will be an open house at the property March 1 from noon to 3 p.m.

For more information or to set up an appointment to see the house, contact Christopher Saxe at 203-984-6000 or chris@higginsgroup.com; Gary Shelton at 646-808-4828 or gary@higginsgroup.com, and Danna Rogers at 917-282-6292 or dkrgrs@aol.com; all of Higgins Group Real Estate.

ABOUT THIS HOUSE

TYPE: Contemporary

ADDRESS: 82 Morningside Drive South

PRICE: $3,150,000

NUMBER OF ROOMS: 10

FEATURES: tennis court, gated property, heated Gunite in-ground swimming pool, cabana, balcony/deck, 2.25-acre level and sloping fully fenced property, corner lot, across from the Hilla Von Rebay Arboretum, close to Greens Farms train station, proximity to Post Road (Route 1), wet bar, professional landscaping, steam room, interior balcony, courtyard, skylights, two covered porches, service driveway, some window treatments, wood shingle roof, unusual media room with wood stove, exterior sprinkler system, stucco exterior, pantry, four bedrooms, four full and two half baths

SCHOOLS: Greens Farms Elementary, Bedford Middle, Staples High

ASSESSMENT: $1,415,500

TAX RATE: 17.94 mills

TAXES: $25,394