Visionary, self-taught architect Frazier Forman Peters (1895-1963) gave old stone new life, often unearthing boulders on a particular property and using them in the construction of his famed stone houses.
Peters built more than 200 houses from Virginia to Maine, including about 60 in Connecticut, many of which still dot the Fairfield County landscape. Among them is the enchanting Old Stone, a European-style stone and shingle colonial house on a nearly five-acre estate at 354 Nod Hill Road in Wilton. Peters built in in 1932.
Peters is not only known for his distinctive stone houses, but also for his thoughtful placement of those houses within a natural setting, often near a pond or stream. “Frazier Forman Peters’ houses are marked by their connection to the land,” according to Robert A. Weingarten, the house history chair for the Westport Museum for History and Culture (formerly the Westport Historical Society), and Architect Laura A. Blau - Peters’ granddaughter. The two co-authored a book titled Frazier Forman Peters: Westport’s Legacy in Stone.
“Peters was keenly sensitive to the harmony between a properly designed stone residence and its siting. He sought in particular to integrate stone, water and vista. Old Stone is perhaps one of the best examples of this harmony, perched on a cliff with its back views looking down on acres of untouched woods and streams, amounting to a private nature preserve,” according to the current homeowner.
Perennial-rimmed Frog Prince Pond was restored to its original state and is home to many species of frogs, toads, turtles, goldfish, koi, some resident ducks and many visiting waterfowl. As with the pond, the residence was also improved. Throughout these many decades the house, as Peters designed it, has been expanded to its current 5,903 square feet, updated and carefully maintained, all the while preserving the harmony of Peters’ original vision, the homeowner said.
To access this very secluded, unique English country retreat, drive down the private drive - marked by stone pillars, through the iron gates, passed the free-standing, two-story guest house matching the stone of the main house, and through a second matched pair of flower-topped stone pillars where the driveway opens into the large cobblestone courtyard. There is a staff apartment above the attached three-car garage with its own entrance and it includes a bedroom, living room, kitchen and full bath; perhaps an in-law or au pair suite.
“Through the portico, with the residence to the right and garage to the left, lies an enchanting, double-gated rose garden encircled by old growth flowering vines, at its center a one-of-a-kind round Wagner heated in-ground pool,” according to the homeowner.
The current owners have restored much of the landscape to its original grandeur, adding to old-growth trees more than an acre of new lawn, specimen plantings and perennial gardens including over two hundred irises and day-lilies, all protected by an impenetrable barrier of custom deer fencing.
Inside, the interior is as elegant as the grounds are beautiful. From the balconied foyer take three steps down into the formal living room, which features a high coffered ceiling and fireplace. In the banquet-sized formal dining room there is paneled custom wainscoting and above the chair rail, hand-painted alternating stripes of yellow and gold, representing the ancestral roots of the current owners. From there, enter the octagonal solarium, one of the later additions. It is 14 feet high at the center and features walls of windows providing a “commanding view of the entire forest preserve,” the owner said.
ABOUT THIS HOUSE
STYLE: European-style stone Colonial
ADDRESS: 354 Nod Hill Road, Wilton
FEATURES: 4.92-acre level and sloping property, gated property, restored pond, heated Gunite Wagner circular in-ground swimming pool, guest house, exterior lighting, underground sprinkler, garden area, terrace, outbuildings, custom designed deer fencing lightly wooded property, octagonal solarium, four fireplaces, in-law or au pair suite, proximity to Wilton Town Forest and Weir Farm National Historic Park, wood shingle and metal roof, zoned central air conditioning and zoned oil heat, stone wall, attached and detached garages totaling five vehicle bays, staff apartment above one garage, cedar closet, private well, septic system, partially finished walk-out basement, seven bedrooms (four in the main house), seven full and one half baths
SCHOOLS: Miller-Driscoll Elementary, Cider Mill Intermediate, Middlebrook Middle, Wilton High
MILL RATE: 28.5373 mills
In the kitchen, there is a breakfast bar, pantry, tile floor, a decorative ceramic tile backsplash, and built-in hutch and desk area. The great room features three sets of French doors, one of which opens to a raised deck looking out over the back cliff side, and to the lawn and a large perennial garden, and another opens to the flagstone patio and pool area. In the study or library there are built-in bookshelves and a stone fireplace.
This house has four bedrooms on the second floor. The oversized master suite is housed in a private wing and features a fireplace, two separate baths, and two separate walk-in closets.
This important Peters’ stone estate would be almost impossible to replicate today. This house and property is for sale at under $2 million while its replacement cost has been professionally appraised at $4 million.
Although this secluded setting seems far away from the rest of the world, it is only eight minutes from downtown Wilton shops and restaurants and the Metro North train station, and it is easily accessible to the towns of Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and New Canaan. Within only five minute is the Weir Farm National Historic Park with its hiking trails and emphasis of American Impressionist art, which would be to Peters’ liking; a place that integrates and honors nature and art.
For more information or to make an appointment to see the house contact Dori Seamans of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties at 203-858-5107 or [email protected].