Round Hill is a peaceful, quiet part of Greenwich, Connecticut’s semi-rural back country. Stone walls delineate ancient farmlands and sedate lanes are lined with old trees. It was here, in the mid-1970s, that the owners of this property chose to build a midcentury-inspired home designed by Edgar Tafel, an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Tafel was a member of the original Taliesin Fellowship, which convened in 1932 at Wright’s home and school, Taliesin, near Spring Green, Wisconsin. As an apprentice in the 1930s, Tafel worked on two of Wright’s most important buildings: Fallingwater, in Mill Run, Penn., and the Johnson Wax Building in Racine, Wis. He also worked on Wingspread, the home of Johnson Wax’s president Herbert Fisk Johnson Jr., also in Racine. On his own, the prolific architect designed 80 houses, plus 35 religious buildings and three college campuses.
Greenwich’s Mazer residence was designed in 1976. While obviously reflecting the 1970s, echoes of Wright are apparent. The long, low building is snuggled comfortably into the undulating Greenwich landscape, while abundant natural fieldstone mirror the many stone walls found throughout Round Hill and Greenwich. Terracotta tiles, dark-stained woodwork, and plentiful windows give a feel of the outdoors, while the cantilevered staircase is a definite Wrightian touch. Outside, there are stone patios and numerous balconies to enjoy nature, as well as a free-form gunite pool.
The house, which is 5,300 square feet, offers 5 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. Set on 7.81 acres of verdant Connecticut countryside, the residence is available for $4.7 million through Kristine Blake and Joseph Barbieri at Sotheby’s International Realty.
Three years after the design of the Mazer residence, Tafel defended his adherence to Wright’s principles. “Many people outside Taliesin, especially critics and writers, mistook our devotion for subservience,” he wrote. “Mr. Wright didn’t want subservience. He wanted devotion to the cause of an organic architecture — integration of form, materials indigenous to the setting, and function.” All things Tafel was careful to observe in the Mazer residence.
The Mazer family has long been both wealthy and philanthropic. Patriarch Abraham Mazer immigrated from the Ukraine at the age of 17 in 1893. He started a paper business, the Hudson Pulp and Paper Corporation, which was enormously successful and merged with Georgia-Pacific in 1979. The Mazer family was and still is very active in charity work, particularly for Jewish causes and in Israel. In fact, in 1953 the family sponsored American-Israeli Paper Mills, the first modern paper mill in the Middle East, which still exists under the name Hadera.