Tuesday, March 27, 2012


'Almar', the William John Tully estate designed by Kenneth Murchison c. 1916 in Mill Neck. The estate is currently for sale for $4,999,999, click HERE to see the listing via Daniel Gale Sotheby's. Click HERE for more on 'Almar'.

MLS listing photos from Daniel Gale Sotheby's.


Doug Floor Plan said...

I’m as much impressed by what hasn’t been done here as what has been done:
• No additions tacked on to the outside or balconies enclosed,
• No interior walls have been removed in the main public rooms (I’m sure the service wing looks nothing like the floor plan posted yesterday – to be expected),
• No floors covered in marble,
• The paneling & staircase are intact, &
• Not a recessed or track light to be seen.
With the right furnishings this would easily look & feel like a house that has come down through the generations of a family; a great house with which the current owner is intimately familiar & totally comfortable. Why hasn’t there been a bidding war on this house?

I’m glad the Sotheby’s listing said “Restored And Renovated To 'Designer Showcase' Perfection” because that explains the light fixture over the pool table in what was the covered porch off the library in the original floor plan – I don’t think that fixture generates the kind of light you want if you’re playing serious pool. There – now I’ve criticized something so my work here is complete.

The Ancient said...

Seventy-six thousand in property taxes for the privilege of living on a small lot in Mill Neck.


The Down East Dilettante said...

And to those who always say "I don't understand why this house was neglected or demolished", here is the sad answer. Nobody wanted it.

Taste and trends are fickle. Old houses up here are in the same boat. Here's a summer house about a mile from me, in its fourth year on the market---with seven acres and 1200 feet of ocean frontage, priced to market. www.kalmiaknoll.com

In my own neighborhood, there are 3 pre-1850 houses for sale, classic white New England village houses lovingly maintained, lovely grounds, on the market at least two years. And yet our town is supposedly one of the most desirable in all of Maine. By comparison, all comparable ocean front or village properties that are NEW have sold almost instantly. Old has become the new pariah in real estate.

And there you have it.

The Down East Dilettante said...

PS, Doug:

I've never been the drinking game sort, but a friend and I used to watch Candice Olsen's "Divine Design" on the dread HGTV (which station I hold responsible for the gut renovation craze that has overtaken the nation). Anyway, we'd watch the show, and everytime that Candice said "We need to put recessed pot lights in this room", we'd take another sip of our martinis.

Zach L. said...

DED...I don't see a price on that website...do you know what they're asking? Looks like quite a house.

Kellsboro Jack said...

Zach, per Zillow it was last listed (2010) at $3.9M when listed with an agent. Perhaps less now that it appears to be FSBO.


The Down East Dilettante said...

Zach, it is quite a house---magnificent stonework, fine craftsmanship, high ceilings, and that terrace practically touching the water (something that can no longer be done under current shoreland zoning laws).

The price has traveled up and down with the market---a high of 4.3, a low of 3.75 million.

archubuff said...

At $4.999M this home is better priced than many other newer homes built in surrounding communities selling with much higher price tags. I dont think the issue is the 3.7 acre parcel it sits on as both Feeks Lane and Factory Pond Road are at much lower elevations than the house and it is barely visible in any season so privacy is assured.

The issues are what was touched upon in the Bostwick thread and when Lands End was demolished. Todays RE brokers and developers push only "new" and cater to an entirely different upper end client that wants instant gratification and frowns even upon the thought of having to change the paint color on the walls. Better to just tear the house down and build it my way, all new, with high-tech capabilities, stuffed with gadgets and all the glitz and glam I can afford, exactly as I want it. There is zero tolerance for renovation or restoration.

I dont know when the US preservation movement was body slammed, but there is not the same interest in history and preservation with the younger generation or with foreign buyers. When shows like This Old House broke onto the scene, people were fascinated with restoring an older property, but then we were consumed wih flipping houses or making a king's ransom from ones home and looking at real estate as retirement funds so I guess an entire generation grew up with the concept of gutting a home if it doesnt have granite or stainless steel, make the design and finishes as universally bland to appeal to the greatest majority of potential buyers and you will be able to sell it and make a killing.

There is truth to the HGTV generation's vision in that those homes sell while the unique and historic and older properties with character sit on the market begging for buyers. Not a good sign for things to come.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Every word. And 'This Old House Magazine' long ago became the house organ for the gutting movement---from careful preservation, they've moved to templates for how to get rid of all that pesky handmade old stuff and replace it with badly designed generics.

Doesn't bode well at all.

Think about Gwinn, one of the finest estates of its period, going from semi-public, back to private ownership. It should only have been a preservation priority and a museum

Kellsboro Jack said...

A would-be buyer looking for not only top notch build quality and fine lines, but also the stately old world prestige factor couldn't get much more bang for the buck at $4.999M asking with Almar.

Privacy, mature landscape, durable structure (a century's worth of Noreasters, et al, haven't hurt her at all), and all that history. It really is a lovely mansion.

Alas as many others have pointed out it (and so many lovely offerings Zach showcases daily) just do not appeal to the masses with the money to buy these days.

In addition to the HomeDepot fueled consumer needing to "rehab" every structure I suspect all grand historic homes have suffered from a generation of generalized badmouthing from developers of new homes.

We all can imagine the pitch from the opportunistic builder of "that place is drafty, if one thing breaks it will cost a fortune, it has radon, your kids could get lead poisoning from the old paint to leaded glass windows, the wiring isn't good enough, etc etc."

True enough that a good slate roof is not a cheap repair or replacement and tuck pointing a detailed chimney requires money and scheduled maintenance. Still Almar could easily be around for another 200-years if not pulled down by man.

The same durability will not be true of the poorly framed, Tyveck dependent, and glue/screws/nail gun assembled 'mansions' of the last decade. All the synthetic building materials in vogue cannot compare to what was used in the surviving homes of the Gilded Age.

Anonymous said...

"Old has become the new pariah in real estate."

I think the "old" has become the new pariah in just about every aspect of our culture. What does that mean for people like us?

Doug Floor Plan said...

DED, re: your liver – you or someone should contact Ms. Olsen & let her know that her “recessed pot light” comment is so predictably repetitive that a drinking game can made of it. Not that it will make any difference; but hopefully she or someone associated with the show will make the mental association each time those words leave her lips.

I agree with pretty much everything that was said above. As a society we seem to keep moving further away from an awareness, let alone an appreciation of real quality; which is sometimes comparitively affordable.