The Stillman House I, a variation of Breuer’s “long house” form, was completed in 1951.
Stillman House I consists of a two-level rectangular box structure with extruded porches. On the upper level, an open plan unites kitchen, dining area, and living room as one efficient large space. The canopy above the front entrance is suspended by stainless-steel marine rigging and supported by piers. Large panels of primary colors shine from the back of the house reminding one of the home’s modern ingenuity.
This hillside house is entered from the upper floor. Parents are upstairs; children downstairs. A studio building was added along with a steel framed stair from the living room balcony to a new swimming pool.
A mural wall, originally painted by Alexander Calder, stands at one end of the swimming pool.
Breuer designed three houses for Rufus Stillman, this was the first. The Stillmans sold it around the time they moved to Stillman II, then bought it back years later and as of 2003, they were living there.
Stillman House I remains one of Marcel Breuer’s most successful post-war houses and probably his most important commission in terms of the friendship that developed with his clients, Rufus and Leslie Stillman.
The Stillman House commission evolved quickly into a local web of personal relations and a series of creative collaborations. Leslie Stillman’s mother, Doris Caesar, a sculptress from New Canaan, engaged Breuer to design the Caesar Cottage in Lakeville in 1952. Ten houses were built in the area by the end of the 1950s and another five by 1975, designed by Marcel Breuer, Richard Neutra, John Johansen, Eliot Noyes, Edward Durell Stone, and Edward Larrabee Barnes. in 1953, the Stillmans sold land next to the Stillman House I to local physician Dr. C. H. Huvelle on the stipulation that he hire either Breuer or Johansen.