WESTFIELD, NJ — The historically significant Matthias Sayre home on Fourth Avenue is anticipated to get a close neighbor on its subdivided property, funding from the sale of which is intended to benefit the original home’s restoration.
The town’s Historic Preservation Commission on Monday approved plans for the second home to be built at 667 Fourth Ave., next to the expansive white home originally built in the 1760s. The schematics now head to the Planning Board for final approval.
“This is a difficult site,” said Anastasia Harrison, the principal architect on the project. “It's across the street from a baseball field and it's down the street from 1940s-50s split levels and right next door to mega-McMansions [rising to] 50 feet in the air because they’re right on a hill.”
The plans call for the new residence to be comprised of a standing-seam metal roof, aluminum-clad windows, monotone gray stone and half-round anodized aluminum gutters. The plans also call for stucco walls of a neutral color and natural wood planking siding.
Getting the new home to align within its surroundings remains a challenge but one that can be met with proper landscaping, Harrison told the commission.
The proposed new home would be closer to the Fourth Avenue side, Harrison said. The commission decided it should either be moved 10 feet towards Brandt Court or to have a flat roof on its porch.
In a two-hour talk with the commission, Harrison discussed everything from the porch to the views of the house from the surrounding streets to privacy walls built on the property.
The property has American split-level and expanded ranch homes down Chestnut Street towards Fourth Avenue, Harrison said. The Gumbert Park baseball field lies to the south of the property, she said. Streets border three sides of the property including Brandt and Chestnut.
The commission approved a metal roof, regular use of stone, stucco walls, cedar sidings and glass-paneled garage doors. Commission members also discussed landscape techniques to protect privacy. The original house was to be-farm-like, while the revised plans called for a more modern look.
Harrison expressed concern about the proposed home lacking privacy, as it would be visible from three different streets and said landscaping would be key to maintaining privacy. A covered porch surrounded by holly bushes would provide that privacy, she said.
Andrew and Heather Stillufsen had acquired the property in 2009, according to the Planning Board application. In July 2018, the Planning Board approved its subdivision contingent on plans for the new residence going before the Historic Preservation Commission.
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