Lindstrom House


Gary Lindstrom


1963


Description

The Lindstrom House is set on a sloping site below street grade. A stream runs from the street down the hill through the property. The property consists of multiple structures connected by wood decks and flagstone paths. The structures include the main house, a studio, a garage/workshop, and a tool shed. The main house and studio are set on tall concrete piers because initial porosity tests indicated that the soil absorbed water very slowly, increasing the potential damage from a flood; the remaining structures have concrete block foundations (Janet Lindstrom, 13 May 2008). All of the structures have shed roofs and are clad in wood shingles.

The main house is accessed by a wood bridge leading to an enclosed shed-roofed vestibule. Recessed clerestory windows are placed at the peak of the main shed roofline to project light down into the house. The main house also has a large opening cut into one wall to expose a brick chimney set at an angle to the wall plane. The design of the house creates a modular effect with rooflines set at different intersecting angles and heights.

The studio has a partially false front (the main wall extends beyond the intersecting side wall at one end) and a greenhouse window. The studio connects to the main house by a wood drawbridge. The garage/workshop is placed on the hillside so that the garage is at the level of the driveway and the workshop is below the garage but opens at grade. The workshop has a large skylight. The tool shed has large wood barn doors installed on an overhead track that extends beyond the width of the building; the doors open by sliding to the sides.


Significance

The Lindstrom House was designed by architect Gary Lindstrom for his wife Janet and their young daughter. The Lindstroms were able to acquire the land fairly cheaply because it was sloping lot that would have required a large amount of fill for a traditional house. The Lindstroms were attracted to this particular piece of land because it was originally filled with native dogwoods of which seven trees still survive (Janet Lindstrom, 13 May 2008). Janet E. Lindstrom acquired the lot in 1963. The house was built by Emil Toikka of Greenwich and completed in 1964.

Architect Gary Lindstrom had worked for noted lighting designer Richard Kelly and designed the house with solar principles in mind to allow for natural lighting and ventilation. Trained as a carpenter, Lindstrom designed many of the furniture, artwork, and lighting fixtures in the house. Janet Lindstrom graduated from Penn State University and received a master's degree at Columbia University. She was a teacher at several schools in New Canaan. She later served as president of the New Canaan Historical Society before becoming executive director in 1985. She was named "Woman of the Year" by the New Canaan branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in 2004. The Lindstroms eventually had two daughters.

The original house was 30'x36' with a wood walkway leading to the main entrance. A separate 9'x11' building containing the furnace sat just adjacent to the house. Between 1966 and 1967, a garage with a basement workshop was constructed on the site. It appears that a freestanding tool shed was also constructed at this time. In 1969, the house was expanded with a 28'x27'6" addition at the rear containing a family room/game room on the first floor and a master suite on the second floor. The family room featured a conversation pit with a brick fireplace designed to radiate heat. Also around this time, a small addition containing an eating area was constructed between the house and the furnace building, along with a wood deck.

In 1976, a freestanding studio was constructed on the property. It was connected to the house by an elevated wood deck with a drawbridge to allow a tractor to pass through, necessitating the removal of an earlier wood deck at this side of the house.


National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2009.