Publishing scion James Fairchild and his wife, Whitney, are drawing intense criticism for plans to renovate the historic Hildreth House in Southampton, an 1885 Victorian that Fairchilds are in contract to buy. The home at 75 South Main Street, which has not been listed in 125 years, was on the market for $11 million, but will be reportedly receiving much less should the deal go through. One broker told the Post that 'it's a bit of a wreck inside'. The Fairchilds' plans include the demolition of a historic shed and barn, as well as a changed parking area and new siding for the home. The chief concern among the project's critics is that of an impending paint color change, as the Fairchilds hope to stain the exterior gray and paint the trim white.
This change, according to the head of the East Hampton Historical Society, is an abomination, telling the Press 'to denude this painted lady of her clothes is shocking, if not obscene'. An architectural review board meeting on Monday night addressed many of these concerns, hearing from the Fairchilds' lawyers and community members alike. While the potential buyers were willing to compromise, offering to leave up the existing siding and to relocate the historic barn, the one exception remained the paint. Many neighbors (and the current owner of the home) are fine with the change, but preservationists staunchly believe that the Hildreth House is not historic without its colorful coat. No decision was made at this week's meeting, and the ARB will next reconvene on Monday, November 23rd. Expect a war.
· Architectural Review Board Takes Jabberwocky Approach [SH Press]
· Summary: Public Hearing Nov. 9th, 2009 [SHVR]