Noelle and James Hughes
447 Brookside Road
Following the laying out of the “Darien Road”, now Brookside Road, after 1825, this small shingled farmhouse was built in the Greek Revival style c1838, with its gable facing the road and a three-bay façade with the door at the left. Morris and Delia Weed Seely, with three children, were living there by the time of the 1840 census. During this ownership the parlor was probably the long room to the right of the entrance, with a central chimney at the rear or west wall . The stairs were against the wall to the left of the entrance, and a center hall went back to two rooms at the rear of the house, one of which was the kitchen.
In 1860 Seely owned 13 acres of land, 3 cattle and is identified as a farmer. His death certificate in 1888, age 79, listed him as a butcher “which may explain how he could have made a living as a farmer in his few acres of land”
Subsequently, in 1905 the property was purchased by Benjamin Thompkins, a house-builder in Darien, who seems to have extended the back of the house to add a rear kitchen with a second chimney, and incorporated the old kitchen into a living room/dining room with a fireplace on the north exterior wall.
Old Assessors Cards show that an addition of sorts was made in 1910 and considerable remodeling done in1932-33. The paneling in the present dining room probably dates from the 1932-33 work” as does the front door with its row of small, arched windows. The staircase balusters and paneled stringer of the original house remain. A bay window, centered on the south façade, was also added during Thompkins’ ownership, whether in 1910 or in 1933.
With its new Colonial Revival details, the next year, 1934, Thompkins sold the house to Ronald Macdonald, head of a book-binding concern in New York State. His wife “was known both as a horsewoman and a horticulturist, being especially interested in wild flower gardening, traces of which are to be found on the property.” They sold their house to Thomas Allen in 1971, who hired Howard Patterson, Architect to design an L-shaped addition to the rear of the house in 1973. After he sold the house in 1981, a subsequent owner replaced a 19th century barn behind the house with a new pole barn, which contained a three-car garage with living space above. Further renovations claimed the garage as finished space, connected the house and the pole barn with a mudroom and made other alterations until the Hughes family purchased the house in 2005.
In 2008, their architect, Rob Sanders Architects from Wilton, reorganized the spaces, added a crossing gable to terminate the porch and provide space for a hallway and bath upstairs, reconstructed the 1973 family room addition with a new hall and stair, expanded the kitchen and removed the chimney from the early 1900’s kitchen.
Michael Byrne, General Contractor of Pound Ridge, NY, was the contractor and Interior design was by Pamela Wisinski, Interiors, Darien.
The Hughes House represents good preservation practices by
1) preserving the front portion consisting of the original house with its Colonial Revival decorations, but removing the later bay window, and
2) rehabilitating the property with new additions, and the remodeling the 1973 though 1990’s additions and alterations