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All photos via William Pitt
Location: New Canaan, Connecticut
Built against a rough outcropping of stone, the humble Willis Mills Home has twice been the site of architectural reinvention. The initial transformation, when the namesake architect built his own private residence in 1955, turned a steep, tree-lined incline in New Canaan, Connecticut, into an orderly 4,368-square-foot grid of glass and redwood. Maybe Mills' background as a civic architect who designed churches, or his affection for the local scenery, led him to add the double-height, glass-ringed living room that cantilevered out amid the tree line. If this was in any other town, you could walk along that elevated walkway, take in views of the forested hills, and believe you were living in the height of modernism. But, even though it won awards, when Philip Johnson's Glass House is up the block, and the Harvard Five homes aren't just in a book, but in the neighborhood, it makes it a little harder to stand out.
Mills moved away in 1970, and after a string of inattentive owners, the home was purchased in the late 2000s by Craig Bassam and Scott Fellows, an architect and creative director who saw a promise underneath post hoc layers of tacky gray paint. The pair's Dwell-worthy renovation updated the kitchen and lower level, breaking down a bustling set of passageways and rooms to create an open common area and a sense of flow. While it did introduce significant changes, the overall effect compliments Mills' initial serene statement (as does the Japanese garden and stone-lined pool). For $2,850,000, it's ready for the next owner to add a chapter to the home's history.