An Award Winning Pergola in Greenwich

August 2, 2021

A pretty pergola in Greenwich complements both house and pool.

Text by Lisa H. Speidel    Photography by Robert Benson

The Fredrick Law Olmsted-designed Khakum Wood neighborhood in Greenwich is known for its stately Tudors, Georgians, and stone manor houses. So when a young couple set out to build their family home, they sought to mimic the very character that drew them to the community. They turned to Charles Hilton Architects, who devised an elegant 7,000-square-foot brick Georgian revival with classic white trim and a regal entryway marked by a semicircular portico and a two-story gable.

The grounds, designed by Tim Paterson, principal of Highland Design Gardens, followed suit, drawing inspiration from the English picturesque movement. Beautiful mature trees flank a lush lawn, and a short bluestone path leads from the house and rear patio to a pool and pergola.

While the house itself packs an architectural punch, the pergola is a star in its own right. In fact, it recently won an Alice Washburn Award from the Connecticut Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. “What is beautiful about the design is that while the form is simple, the details are intricate,” notes project manager Nicholas Rotondi of Charles Hilton Architects.

The homeowners wanted a structure that was open and connected to nature yet could provide relief from the sun or a passing summer shower. The design, explains Rotondi, borrowed inspiration both from the work of renowned English architect Sir Edwin Lutyens and traditional Japanese pavilions. Constructed of teak timber framing and an Alaskan yellow cedar shingle roof, the pergola will develop a subtle grayish-silver patina over time. “The materials are soft and a little subservient to the house,” says Rotondi, “so it’s a nice accent to the house.”

The pergola was designed with various vantage points in mind: whether looking in, out, up, or down, it is, in a word, perfect. “We thought about every detail,” admits Rotondi. The complexity of the design and the meticulous construction—executed by Hobbs—shows in the exacting overlap of the shingles, positioned to conceal waterproofing, and in the way that the framing and roof piece together so precisely that the joints aren’t visible.

The architectural details—too many to list—are vast, but the end product serves a simple purpose: a place to seek shelter from the sun, relax, and enjoy the striking views—both natural and man-made.

Project Team
Architecture: Charles Hilton, Nicholas Rotondi, Charles Hilton Architects
Builder: Ian Hobbs, Scott Hobbs, Hobbs
Landscape design: Tim Paterson, Highland Design Gardens
Interior design: Tim Button, Stedila Design