Stone Country Residence

Greenwich, Connecticut

This Greenwich country house was originally built in the 1940’s, yet aspects of its overall design hearken back to much older English country homes of the Georgian period. Although some parts of the house already possessed a natural elegance, two unflattering wings, weather-worn windows and doors, and grossly outdated interiors detracted from the beauty of the home. Charles Hilton Architects was hired to conduct an extensive renovation, which would both enhance the original character of the home and improve upon it with further custom detail, more living space, and the comforts of the 21st century.

The project began with the installation of a new slate roof and new reproduction windows and doors, yet, as with any renovation, unexpected challenges arose. The removal of the old windows revealed what were expected to be a stone veneer exterior walls, typical of construction in the 1940’s, were in fact made of solid stone. Although typically indicative of the highest quality and expense of construction these massive walls posed a problem. They left little room for the installation of new Geothermal mechanical systems and spray foam insulation, which required the furring-in of all the exterior walls throughout the house. The exterior renovations also included the addition of a new English conservatory and breakfast room to the rear of the house. Built with an eastern exposure, the breakfast room was designed to take advantage of the morning sun, while also expanding the space for entertaining from the kitchen to the back patio. In addition to its function, the conservatory also served to add visual interest to an otherwise lackluster wing. Only steps away, a new one-and-a-half story mudroom annex was added between the garage and adjacent wing. Constructed to replace an incongruous frame passageway to the garage, the new mudroom was built of stone, carefully matched to that of the house. No longer just a passageway, the new annex serves as a hinge, offering easy access to the house, garage, backyard, and a guest suite above. To complete the exterior renovation, countless other details from dormer trim to bronze railings and a new front stoop were carefully crafted to best suit the house’s classic Georgian style.

The renovation wasn’t limited only to the exterior of the house. Horribly outmoded, many of the rooms were due a renovation. Saved from a garish color palette and outdated fixtures, the formal living and dining rooms were restored to comfortable elegance, each boasting extensive paneling and complex moldings. Off the living room a small library and home office was also extensively transformed. New built in bookcases and paneling gave the room symmetry and provided additional storage. A semicircular bay at one end was almost completely rebuilt, boasting not only a 180° built-in stand-up desk, but also expansive views to the garden and the yard. Just above, in the master suite, is one of the most significant transformations in the project, the conversion of a small second floor study to a new en suite master bath. The new bathroom incorporating a double vanity, Cararra countertops, and an arched tub niche, manages cozy elegance in an otherwise tight space. The bathroom conversion also allowed the study’s fireplace, once masked by storage bins, to be flipped across the chimney to the master bedroom. A new broad archway, framing a light-filled sitting area, was also added to the master bedroom along an adjacent wall.

To unify the house, new hand-finished walnut floors were installed throughout, providing a particularly pleasant contrast to the traditional, white cabinets in the kitchen and adjacent family room. Requested by the client to be an ideal spot for entertaining, a marble-topped island and broad opening are all that define the separation between the two rooms. A breakfast bar on one side of the island offers both an accessible buffet for parties and additional seating in the family room. The kitchen, though traditional in form, vaunts every modern convenience, and is, in a way, indicative of the house, which, despite its traditional detail both inside and out, was, too, re-imagined with modern life in mind.

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“I have had the pleasure of working with Chuck Hilton and his team on a variety of projects; from a high-end home, to an accessory building, to an institutional project. Although the design aesthetic of each of their projects varies greatly, everyone at Charles Hilton Architects is instilled with the same common thread – a dedication to the success of their projects and an unwavering commitment to creativity and quality. CHA engages in a rigorous design process, which includes a thorough analysis of design options, a culture of collaboration with consultants and vendors to explore the best possible solutions, and a tremendous attention to detail to ensure all the trades are working in unison towards the same high goals. The result is stunning architecture at the best value for their clients!”
— Harry Raymond, Managing Director – Builder Architect Division Southend Reclaimed

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“We have partnered with Chuck Hilton on numerous projects over many years. We always look forward to working with Chuck and his team. They are a well organized, highly creative group of professionals who truly do go the extra mile for a client. Chuck's projects are well planned, orderly, and are always of the highest quality. Chuck's attention to detail is spectacular, making for smooth-running jobs and an impeccable end product. While he is firm on details, he is also very fair to the subs working with him. It is always a pleasure to work with Charles Hilton Architects!”
— Frank Byrne, Byrne Woodworking, Inc.

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“I have been building high end custom homes in Fairfield and Westchester County for 45+ years and have worked with many of the area's finest architects. While successfully completing multiple projects with Charles Hilton I have had the honor of watching him work. I can say, without a shadow of a doubt that Chuck is as detailed as they come and his drive for perfection is bar none. Chuck stands by his clients and their vision every single step of the way. The precision of a Charles Hilton project begins with thoroughly detailed plans and specifications allowing the team in the field to execute explicitly. From ornate classic to austere contemporary Chuck and his team can implement a wide range of design. One by one each structure this firm creates will remain enduring and peerless.”
— Significant Homes, LLC

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Awards

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