TV’s original home improvement show is interested in spotlighting a project to rebuild an antique New Canaan house as part of an upcoming season, the property’s owner said last week.
Karp on Sept. 26 applied for a permit to demolish the long-vacant structure, and his plan is to rebuild the original part of its street-facing facade while creating a new home that will have a smaller footprint than what’s there now.
“I like the character of New Canaan but what is there has been—I’ll use the term ‘bastardized’—over the years,” Karp told members of the Town Council at their regular meeting, held Oct. 17 at Town Hall. “There is really very little historic nature except for the front facade of that building. It has gone through many, many renovations. It has marble bathrooms, it has modern electricity and quite honestly everything down to strip oak flooring on plywood. So our thought was, in conjunction with ‘This Old House,’ is that we would rebuild the front facade to look exactly like the old front facade, the historic portion.”
His comments regarding the PBS show came during a general update to the town’s legislative body on projects including Merritt Village, site of New Canaan’s most widely discussed retaining wall, and a residential property at Weed and Elm Streets that’s ripe for redevelopment.
The 10-room, 7,000-square-foot God’s Acre home, known to many as “The Talbot house” after its former owner, had been tied up for years in lawsuits and foreclosure proceedings until Karp finally purchased it for $810,000 last summer, tax records show. It’s in the Historic District, meaning a town Commission must approve plans for the property, by law.
Paul Stone, Karp Associates’ COO, told the Council that the company has met informally with the Historic District Commission, received the group’s input and that newly drawn renderings reflect the interaction.
Karp said that “if people are concerned that we are going to rip this down and what would get replaced wouldn’t look as sort of iconic to New Canaan, that is one of the reasons I bought it.”
“It would look just like that again,” he said. “Again, due to the Building Code, old lead windows, asbestos, what is there, in our view—again, we have to go to the Historic District and get their input—just hasn’t stood the test of time. We would like to design a new building.”