DARIEN — There is something poetic about the graceful white stucco façade and interior of the sophisticated midcentury modern structure that stands atop a rocky hill at 27 Tory Hole Road in the private Delafield Island community. So it should come as no surprise that the house was designed by architect, author and poet Arthur Cort Holden.

Holden “is perhaps most noted for advising Frank Lloyd Wright on the design of the Guggenheim Museum in 1949,” according to the website www.nypap.org/preservation-history/arthur-cort-holden. Some have suggested this house echoes elements of the Guggenheim with its curved walls and circular staircase. Holden likened the house to the form of a crescent moon that melted into the natural surroundings and had a unity between indoor and outdoor spaces. Another architectural expert compared its wooded setting to a bird nest and the house to an open shell in that nest.

In an article titled Accent on Space published in the July 1942 edition of Architectural Record Jean Labatut also said of this house the value of space could not be felt or appreciated even in good photographs. His article was written after he had an opportunity to walk through the nine-room, 4,035-square-foot house, which sits on a 5.5-acre property that contains two natural ponds, a koi pond, and beautiful gardens,

“The absence of parallelism between walls and the absence of doors gives a great fluidity and value to space, yet privacy is insured in the circulations, living room and dining room by the curving and treatment of the walls … The emphasis on free and fluid space is felt throughout the house,” said Labatut, who was at the time chief critic of architectural design at Princeton University. Of one pond on the property Labatut said it “reminds one of the sacred well at Chichen Itza,” in the Mayan ruins of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Holden designed this house for his cousin Thomas Holden, a former president of FW Dodge Co., which was purchased by McGraw-Hill in 1962. It was built in 1938 in a setting that provides the house a great amount of privacy. In 1997 the house was renovated. Stone pillars mark the entrance to the long driveway, which wends its way through the trees and up along a ravine to a glade in which the house sits. The informal courtyard provides ample parking and allows access to the front entrance, the service entrance and the attached two-car garage.

Enter into the house by way of the three-story circular space with a spiral staircase with polished aluminum railings that accesses the lower level, main living level, and the second floor. The foyer on the main level has French doors out to a stone patio and the backyard, where there are beautiful gardens and a stone wall as gracefully curved as the front exterior façade and interior walls. The spacious formal living room has built-in bookshelves and the first of the home’s two fireplaces, this one with a quarried rock surround. Large picture windows provides unobstructed views of the attractive grounds, and a door accesses one of the terraces.

The kitchen is large and has a long center island topped in granite, glass-front cabinetry, a granite backsplash, and high-end appliances including a Dacor four-burner range top with a grill. It is open to a breakfast room, which has built-in cabinetry and two sets of sliding doors to a large deck. The formal dining room has a rounded wall filled with windows and a slate floor. On this main living level there is also a guest suite.

More Information


STYLE: Contemporary

ADDRESS: 27 Tory Hole Road

PRICE: $2,395,000


FEATURES: water community, 5.5-acre level and gently sloping property, two natural ponds, koi pond, professionally landscaped, deer fencing, flagstone terrace, deck, short walk to Pear Tree Point Beach, proximity to Tokeneke Park, convenient to town and train, wet bar, balcony, skylights, two fireplaces, stone walls, storm windows, extensive gardens, sprinkler system, partial basement partially finished, two-car attached garage, four bedrooms all en suite, four full and one half baths

SCHOOLS: Tokeneke Elementary, Middlesex Middle, Darien High School

ASSESSMENT: $1,941,940 * may be different with new mill rate

MILL RATE: 16.16 mills

TAXES: $31,382

ASSOCIATION FEE: $1,000 (annual)

On the second floor there are three bedrooms and an office with built-in bookshelves. The master suite has a fireplace, wall-to-wall carpeting, dressing room, and sliding doors to a private balcony/deck with a slate floor.

The lower level contains the family or media room and a large laundry/utility room, both with doors to the grounds.

Recent Perc tests show support for a six-bedroom septic system should additional bedrooms be necessary.

For more information or to make an appointment to see the house contact Nancy Dauk of Halstead Property at 203-858-1146 or ndauk@halstead.com, or co-listing agent Inger Stringfellow of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty at 203-321-9361 or istringfellow@williampitt.com.