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Greenwich Point Landmark Combines New and Old

The Innis Arden Cottage on Greenwich Point, closed to the public for 60 years as the building fell into decay, will soon be open to show off renovation work that combined historical touches with modern technologies.

“We’ve had such a great reception,” said Greenwich Point Conservancy Treasurer Sue Baker, who toured the building with granddaughter, 9-year-old Eliza Keller, a fourth grade student at Riverside School. “We found photographs … of the original building and were able to maintain the look of the original features of the building."

The conservancy began renovation plans in 2004. Two years later, work began through a collaboration with the town and other organizations. By the end of April, the work was completed at a cost of $1.5 million, raised at the conservancy’s Beach Ball benefits.

The cottage, originally used as a bungalow by J. Kennedy Tod, was designed in 1902 by K.C. Budd, one of the first noted female architects. Anne Young of the Greenwich Historical Society found an article in a 1903 issue of Architectural Digest that featured the building's floor plans, which the conservancy put to use in its planning.

“These are all original ceiling walls, and we know this is how they were to be finished because of the article we found,” said Baker, running her hands along the honey-colored wood. “They were finished with a coat of varnish and wax. Over the years, the wax held so much dirt so it looked much darker. We blasted it off and refinished it, and now you can see how bright it is in here.”

The building now has copper gutters, refurbished windows and Dutch doors and a wider staircase, and a fully accessible handicapped lift with a plexiglass. The Queen Anne building has nine fireplaces. New shingles were placed on the roof and sides.

The building will serve as an educational center for groups, a meetinghouse for town use and a lab for environmental and marine studies. The newly restored open patio will feature a touch tank when the cottage officially opens to the public June 29.

Innis Arden Cottage will showcase sustainable energy technologies, including its geothermal energy system, consisting of two 550-foot-deep wells that will tap heat stored beneath the earth’s crust. The system will heat and cool the building, and chill water for the Bruce Museum’s Seaside Center aquarium.

Other green technologies featured on the cottage include solar panels that the conservancy hopes will supply most of the electricity needs, a wind turbine to operate a web camera and video system monitoring osprey activity in Greenwich Cove, and a rainwater collection system to supply the cottage’s restroom toilets. All of these generating systems are emission-free.

Do you know of any other buildings getting some “green” renovations?

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