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Friday, March 23 Real Estate

Italian atmosphere in Greenwich’s backcountry

GREENWICH — There’s something about the modern Italian design aesthetic that commands attention.

When the house at 86 Lower Cross Road was being rebuilt, it was from the sleek Italian design firms based in Milan from which inspiration was drawn. Much of the house’s interior was assembled from Italian components — including doors, woodwork, kitchen fixtures and closets.

“There's no doubt that Italians know good design,” notes Architectural Digest. “Italy has been a leader in innovative, beautiful and high-quality design for decades.”

The design team renovating the backcountry home had a lot to play with, says listing agent Julianne Ward, and looked to modern Italian design for the re-do.

“They gutted it — down to the studs. The only thing original is the framing,” she said. “It’s got new everything -- it’s like a brand new house.”

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The house was built in 1970, but in its new incarnation, it has the feel of contemporary Europe. On the smaller side, it offers aesthetics in place of size: “It’s a high end small house, less than 4,000 square feet,” Ward observed.

“They were going for contemporary, they were going for clean. All the doors are striated wood, gray and white, from Italy. Clean and modern,” said Ward.

Design writer Amy Gamerman recently observed in the Wall Street Journal that “Italian custom kitchens have become the Prada handbag of luxury real estate,” and this house follows that pattern.

The kitchen on Lower Cross has Italian-made cabinets with “soft close” drawers and imported Italian quartz countertops.

The closets in the bedrooms are not actually closets, they’re wardrobes made with Italian components, said Ward.

“They’re not traditional closets, with doors, they’re wardrobes. They’re one-, two- or three-piece units put together to make up a closet. They’re all customized on the inside — drawers, shelves, tie racks, a little bit of everything. And they’re lacquered,” said the agent. They also come with full-length mirrors.

The house has not been enlarged, but it did get a new look.

“The siding is interesting -- horizontal and vertical, with copper,” said Ward. “The garage doors are smoked glass, unusual.”

There are abundant grounds, as well, and the stone walls and terracing give it a rustic feel that contrasts with the modern interior.

“The grounds are beautiful, it’s all level, and the entire property is enclosed by stone walls. Beautiful details on the stone walls. And a beautiful stone terrace in the back yard,” Ward said. “The stone work is all original, the walls are all over the property. They’ve been there the whole time, they’ve been rebuilt. It feels warm on the outside.”

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The house would be ideal for people who want to live in the backcountry “who want simple, clean and energy efficient,” she said.

The house is being listed at $2,349,000 through Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.