10 Moon Hill – The Sills House For Sale

(SOLD July/2010)

In the June 1950 issue of Architectural Forum magazine profile on the homes of Six Moon Hill, the Sills House, 10 Moon Hill Road, is described as, “designed for one of Six Moon Hill’s few non-academic couples, this carefully detailed house has reserve space to provide for future family growth… A slate floor throughout the central area contrasts pleasantly with chimney brick and natural plywood panels and ties this space in with the flagstone terrace… Separated from the living area by only a two-way fireplace and a low storage cabinet for records, the dining space may be used for general entertaining.”

Click to enlarge:

Well, the cabinet is gone, but then — perhaps unfortunately — so are many peoples’ record collections. But now the floor plan is even more dazzlingly open, with an updated kitchen flowing into the dining area and, beyond the two-sided fireplace, the living room, which itself seems to flow naturally into the landscape outside the walls of glass. Oral history passed down through the three sets of owners has it that none other than Walter Gropius himself stood in the kitchen admiring this fireplace.

Scroll to see additional 2009 photos of the house below.

Stats for 10 Moon Hill Road

Price: $1,048,888, showings to begin March 10, 2010.

8 rooms

4 bedrooms

2.5 baths

2319 s.f. of living area

2 zones of radiant heat

Oil + propane

Discreet ductless mini-split air conditioning

2007 renovated Master suite with large Duravit soaking tub; multi-jet tiled shower with glass doors; large vanity/dressing area and closets; laundry room; private patio overlooking Japanese-style gardens

Flooring: hardwood; slate; stained concrete with radiant heat.

Finished, above-grade, walk-out lower-level family room, bedroom, and half bath.

Modern, recently (2008) renovated kitchen with stone countertops, 2008 appliances, flooring, and lighting.

Carport with enclosed storage.

Built 1948

26,136 square foot lot, professionally landscaped

Neighborhood association, common land, and swimming pool ($510/year without pool use; $950/year with pool use, approximately)

Prior owners: Sills 48-56; Marion Sheehan 56-02

Additions: Carport (TAC, 1956); Master bedroom suite (Dick Morehouse, 1980)

Floor plans (click):

Town appraisal card

Lexington GIS viewer

The Architects Collaborative partners

Robert McMillan designed the 10 Moon Hill Road house for the Sills family. He later headed the Rome office of TAC before leaving TAC and starting his own firm, remaining in Rome.

The house has been brought up to today’s standards of simple luxury. An early renovation designed by TAC created the ground floor living room and a carport with storage. The master bedroom wing, designed by TAC partner Dick Moorhouse, was added in the 1980’s.

The entire house has been completely upgraded in the last three years, while scrupulously maintaining the original architectural character of the home. Recent renovations include:

• MBR: Complete gut renovation 2007

• Other Bedrooms, bath: Complete gut renovation 2008

• Kitchen: Complete gut renovation 2008 with all new cabinets, utilities and appliances.

• Lower level family room, bedroom, bath: Complete gut renovation 2009

• Alarm system: New system installed 2008

• Roof membrane: resealed 2007

• Electrical system: almost entire house is brand new.

• House exterior painted 2008.

The original kitchen of 10 Moon Hill Rd. as featured in a 1950s home magazine:

About Moon Hill and TAC

In 1947, one young group of forward-thinking architects, The Architects Collaborative (TAC), founded by Bauhaus pioneer, Walter Gropius — who had fled Germany and joined Harvard University Graduate School of Design — purchased 20 acres of land on the east-central side of Lexington and formed a non-profit corporation for the community they named Six Moon Hill.

According to personal interviews with some of the partners and residents conducted by Aram Demirjian, the land had been owned since 1908 by a retired automobile dealer, described as “a stubborn and slightly intimidating man… suspicious of TAC’s motives for their desire to purchase his land,” which was a wooded hill and on the east side of town, and thus convenient to the TAC office in Harvard Square. Ultimately a deal was struck with the former auto dealer, who had held on to six 1920s-era Moon cars in a barn on the property. Appropriately, the development was named Six Moon Hill.

Laid out on a cul-de-sac, they set aside common land to leave as open space, including an area with a swimming pool. They built about 26 houses in the International modernist style: walls of glass, open floor plans, flat or slant roofs, simple and inexpensive materials, austere lines, nestled thoughtfully into the landscape. Though they at first might have seemed out of place—European modernist statements plopped down in the middle of wooded Lexington and adjacent to farms—they actually reflected the old clichés regarding New England Yankee frugality, sensibility, and working with materials at hand. As an article in the Boston Globe pointed out not too long ago, the houses of Moon Hill “remain remarkably unpretentious and livable.” And, when one stops to think about it, what would have been more out of place than Grecian columns on a farmhouse in the middle of a New England field when those originally started appearing? The Moon Hill houses were as unassuming, if not more so, than the good old white-clapboarded colonials dotting the town. Unlike reproductions of that familiar style, the modernist architects saw no need to busy up the facades of their homes with fake shutters, mullioned windows, cupolas and the like. And the use of rubber, tar and gravel, and other new building materials and techniques did away with the need for steeply gabled roofs to dump away the snow, rain and other byproducts of the New England climate.

More photos and information about TAC, Moon Hill, Five Fields, Peacock Farm and more, found here at our Modernism in Massachusetts site.

Six Moon Hill on Wikipedia