Mills House 2


Sherwood, Mills and Smith


1956


Description

Mills House 2 is situated on a rocky, wooded hillside. The site drops 45 feet from the street level entrance and the three-story house follows suit, with cantilevered sections at each level. The house is oriented north-south. Fieldstone walls run along the eastern edge of the property.

The house has a rectangular plan. The upper story has a rectangular plan. The foundation of the building is concrete block. The exterior walls are clad with clear-finished vertical redwood siding. The house has a flat built-up roof. Wood decks are located on the east façade of the upper level and the west façade of the lower level, and a cantilevered stone patio is located on the east side of the first-floor level.

The house was renovated between 1999 and 2003. This resulted in a number of alterations to the structure, including the removal of several interior walls and the replacement of a section of the solid wall on the rear façade with a wall of glass. At the time of this renovation, the wood decks had rotted and were replaced with new decks in the same footprint. Steel and wood windows were restored, wood windows were replaced with steel units, and aluminum windows were replaced with aluminum units. A new stone-clad garage was constructed to the north of the house. The original garage was integrated into the living quarters and the north wall of the house was reclad with stone to match the garage.


Significance

The house was built in 1956 by Willis N. Mills, a principal in the architectural firm of Sherwood, Mills & Smith, as his private residence. The house received design awards from Architectural Record and the Boston Arts Festival. It was constructed on a rocky slope where many thought it was impossible to build. The uncomplicated geometry of the rectangular floor plans was offset by the diagonal balconies and terraces.

Mills House 2 was included in the 1957 Modern House Tour in New Canaan and featured in Architectural Record Houses of 1957, Progressive Architecture (March 1957), and House & Garden's Book of Building (1958-59).

In 1999, the house was purchased and renovated by architect Craig Bassam and Christopher Scott Fellows. The property was sold to James C. Seuss in 2007 (transferred to Willis Mills House LLC that same year).


National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2009.