Bucking ‘In-Town’ Trend, Realtors Turn to New Canaan’s ‘Upper East Side’

Kelly Kraus says that when she came to New Canaan in 1999, prospective homebuyers moving here overwhelmingly wanted homes on four-acre lots north of town. Then in 2004, the sale of a home at 110 South Ave. (and soon after, another on Brooks Road), kickstarted a trend of tearing down and building anew “in town”—call it above Farm Road to about St. Mark’s, and as wide as a walkable distance to the business district. Realtors hyper-focused on that geography—driven by the tastes of prospective residents as well as New Canaanites already here who were seeking to downsize to more manageable properties after, say, their kids moved out, Kraus said.

‘Loving the House and Everything in It’: The Kantors’ Sustainable New Canaan Home

New Canaan resident Etta Kantor can’t pinpoint just when her passion for the environment and sustainable living took hold. Yet one day about 11 years ago, she turned to her husband as they drove away from their Weston home in her Chevy station wagon and said: “I want to get rid of the car.”

Kantor thought at the time that she’d get a Prius (and put down $500 with Toyota of Westport), but then she read something about cars that run on vegetable oil, and soon bought a new VW Jetta, retro-fitted it to run on vegetable oil (with just a little help from diesel to start the engine), started getting her new “fuel” from Ching’s Table on Main Street and Hunan Taste on Elm and launched a small side business selling filtered oil to fellow “veggie car” drivers. “We had an argument about it,” a smiling Kantor recalled Thursday of that long-ago car discussion, sitting in the rustic, hemlock-beamed Great Room of what local Realtors call a rare if not singular New Canaan solar-powered home (94 percent of its energy is solar). “But that never deterred me. My poor husband.