Christ-Janer Speculative House


Victor Christ-Janer


1959


Description

The Christ-Janer Speculative House is set on a flat, wet site overlooking a shallow pond. A stream runs along the side of the property. Christ-Janer designed the house by moving three existing identical 21'x26' gable-roofed structures to the site and arranging them around a new central structure. Christ-Janer's interest in experimenting with modules is evident in his design for this house; he envisioned the house as having a central living room/dining room/foyer core with three radiating wings: a master bedroom wing (two bedrooms, bath, dressing room); a children's wing (three bedrooms, play area, bathroom); and a service wing (kitchen, breakfast and utility area, two maid's rooms, and bath). Each wing was contained in an existing building. The central building has multiple gables to allow the gables of the secondary structures to nestle under the main building while providing space for clerestory windows to light the core space.

Although the exterior of the house has a traditional feel overall, Christ-Janer's influence is evident in the entry, which has two adjacent doors set at an angle to each other with fixed sidelights and transoms, and the rear wall of the 1959 structure, which is entirely glazed with sliding glass doors and clerestory windows. The rear wall overlooks the pond and a deck with an in-ground swimming pool.


Significance

This speculative house was designed by architect Victor Christ-Janer using three existing surplus government buildings set around a new central building that he designed himself. This is one of several speculative houses that Christ-Janer built in New Canaan. He purchased the property for this house in 1954. By 1959, the foundation had been poured and the rest of the building was erected and assembled between 1959 and 1960. The house was put up for sale in 1960, but ownership of the house during the 1960s is unknown because the assessor property cards are currently undergoing conservation. A two-car garage and concrete patio were constructed in 1962. In 1969, an in-ground vinyl pool was added to the property.

In 1972, Elisabeth H. Null purchased the house. In 1975, Null added a 35'x36' flat-roofed addition that contained a recording studio. The addition altered the symmetry of the three wings and muddied the readability of the house. In 1990, Gregory R. Faillaci and Deborah L. Gerber (later Faillaci) purchased the property. In 2006, John R. Mastera became owner of the house.


National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2009.