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Greenwich Landmark Gets Facelift

The Innis Arden Cottage on Greenwich Point is undergoing renovations that combine historical touches with modern technologies. The redone building should be ready for town and public use by spring. "We're trying to do a balance of a correct historic reconstruction, but also updating it for 2011 and beyond," said Christopher Franco, president of the Greenwich Point Conservancy .

The cottage, originally used as a bungalow by J. Kennedy Tod, was designed in 1902 by K.C. Budd, one of the first 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.

Closed to the public for 60 years, the building fell into decay. The conservancy began renovation plans in 2004. Two years later, work began, and by April, it is expected to be finished.

"We want this to be a zero-net energy building," said Franco, who added electric energy would be supplemented with solar panels, a wind turbine and a geothermal heating and cooling system. "The whole point is to show people alternative energy technologies in action."

The building has copper gutters, refurbished windows and Dutch doors and a wider staircase, and it will soon have a handicapped lift to be fully accessible. The Queen Anne building has nine fireplaces, including a kitchen fireplace hidden behind wall plaster, all undergoing restoration. New shingles were placed on the roof and sides.

"All the groups working together on this has been so gratifying," said Sue Baker, conservancy treasurer. "It's a town-owned park, it's a town-owned building and the town will manage it so civic and cultural organizations can use it."

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 as early as next summer.

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