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Philip Johnson's Other Design in New Canaan Asks $1.6M

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Philip Johnson was an American modernist most famous for his Glass House in New Canaan, Conn., a transparent box in an affluent piece of woods that is so beloved, Neiman Marcus once offered a night there and former Connecticut resident Martha Stewart has waxed much in the way of poetic about it. But Johnson was more than the Glass House; he enjoyed designing buildings and landscapes in equal measure and spent much of his career creating houses (many of which were, too, in Connecticut) that integrated his buildings, oft single-storied and glass-imbued, with the surrounding cultivated forestlands. One such example just hit the market: the plywood-sheathed Wiley Speculative House, designed in 1954 and now asking $1.575M.

Six decades ago a trustee of the Wiley Development Corporation of New Canaan bought a slip of land and commissioned Johnson, who had designed Wiley's personal residence down the street two years prior, to build a home that could be replicated for families in the area. The result was a one-story post-and-beam prototype with a plywood exterior and (of course) walls of windows. To maintain some semblance of privacy Johnson crafted an L-shaped plan; one wing housed the den, living room, dining room, and kitchen, the other the three bedrooms.

Wiley did offer to build it anywhere in Connecticut's Fairfield County, but apparently nobody was interested in paying $45,000 a pop—despite the fact that the Wiley Speculative house got a feature in the October 1955 issue of Progressive Architecture and the November 1955 issue of Architectural Record.

In the last 60 years, the property has changed hands a bunch of times, getting an addition in 1963 (making the L-shape more of a U-shape) and, horror of horrors, a granite-topped, stainless-steel plated kitchen. An assessor's report from the '70s once noted the house was made of "inferior materials," but clearly that hasn't stopped many a trustee from stepping in and snatching it off the market over the years. But enough talk, onto the photos:


· 178 Sleepy Hollow Road, New Canaan, Conn. [Realtor.com]
· Wiley Speculative House [National Trust for Historic Preservation]
· All Philip Johnson coverage [Curbed National]