ABC dedicates House Tour to Sandy Kellogg – May 20, 2015
The ABC House Tour this year is dedicated to Sandy Kellogg who, along with his wife Susan, were long time supporters of ABC.
Click here or see below for GOOD Morning Wilton’s wonderful piece on Sandy.
The Legacy of Wilton’s Sandy Kellogg, Homebuilder and True Gentleman
As many residents look forward to the Wilton House Tour fundraiser on Friday, May 29 benefitting A Better Chance of Wilton, one of the more sentimental aspects of the day will be that organizers dedicating the tour to Sanford ‘Sandy’ Kellogg, a devoted town resident and home builder who passed away in November 2014. Sandy will be long-remembered in Wilton both for his warm personality and dedication to the town, as well as for the hundreds of distinctiveKellogg Brothers‘ homes and many neighborhood development projects on Hemmelskamp Rd., Keeler’s Ridge Rd., Cider Mill Pl., Ryders Ln., and Pheasant Run Rd.. Sandy and his wife, Susan, were long time supporters of ABC and of many other altruistic projects in town.
One of the homes on the ABC House Tour will be a recently updated Kellogg Brothers home designed by Sandy. It boasts a spectacular new kitchen and family room with views towards Long Island Sound. To understand who Sandy Kellogg was, GOOD Morning Wilton got the opportunity to learn why honoring Sandy is a perfect fit for an event supporting ABC, when we spoke with Sandy’s wife, Susan, and one of their sons, Tucker, who followed his father into the family business and now one of the principals of Kellogg Brothers.
Sandy is pictured, above, center, flanked by Tucker on the left and his brother, Jonathan, on the right.
GMW: Was ABC an organization you had been involved with as a family for a long time?
Susan Kellogg: Not ABC, but back when [our sons] Ford and Tucker were in high school and the girls, Paige and Whitney, were young, Wilton had ‘Project Friendship.’ Project Friendship is when they brought youngsters from Bridgeport within the Wilton School system–if one youngster from the family came, the entire family had the advantage of coming.
So, Ford and Tucker’s friend, Derek, he was the oldest so his brother Michael, and they all got to come. The down side of that is that at the end of the school day, they were all bussed back to Bridgeport. They neither felt a part of the Bridgeport community or the Wilton community. If they wanted to participate in sports and what-not, that was difficult too. Ford and Tucker participated with them in sports, so they would end up here often. It was a great concept, and the kids did really well and Derek and his family remain very close to our family. The interesting thing is Derek’s brother, Michael [Gordon], is now head of the ABC House [and a teacher atMiddlebrook]. It’s a full circle.
Project Friendship was the first generation, that now has evolved into a much better program, the ABC House, and, so that’s our connection.
GMW: What do you think when they approached you about honoring Sandy and his many contributions to Wilton at the House Tour event?
Susan: Well, I was still in the cry-mode, I still am, …. No I think it’s, (begins crying…)… Tucker, you better talk…
Tucker: Well I think it is a wonderful thing to do and we’re very honored that they choose to have Sandy involved in it. I think it honors him not only with ABC House, but all the other community services he’s done over the years. He was on the Board of Directors to get the YMCA started…
Susan: When we first moved to town before we had children, we noticed there was no Y in town. So there was a group of some of the old guard in town, and they grouped together and went to Norwalk and investigated it. We were able to actually open the door here by Marce Lavin donating the land that the Y now is on. All those little houses Sandy donated to the Y that still stand today. But he was pretty quiet, you won’t see a brick with his name on it. No, he never liked to toot his own horn; he was maybe quieter about some of his accomplishments.
Tucker: He also volunteered on a number of other boards in the town–planning and zoning, the Wilton grade school expansion way back when, he coached little league and Pop Warner.
Susan: He did a lot of community focus things, but not necessarily beating a band. He was just quietly involved in a lot of town boards. And he really became sort of I’ll say, the face of Wilton, of the old guard. We always laughed, we built this house when it was just a farm, and the one thing is that there was a certain consistency. We weren’t with IBM so we didn’t have to move, we had the advantage of staying in one place, raising our children, stalking the wild asparagus through the horse trails, that then became hiking trails, that now became private property. He loved and embraced Wilton and as we grew older and the children grew older we thought we have to downsize we have to sell the house. And he looked at Ridgefield, and he looked at Darien, and he looked at Norwalk, but he just said, “Wilton is my home.” So, he wasn’t going to go anywhere else.
GMW: Driving around you get the beautiful reminder all the time, seeing buildings and homes that he designed. How many Kellogg homes are there?
Susan: Well I think we figured it was in the hundreds, maybe close to 300.
Tucker: In total, at least 300 homes, not all in Wilton, but probably the vast majority of them were in Wilton.
Susan: When Sandy and I were just engaged and he was designing a house on Hidden Lake Ridge, he said, “If somebody would only give me $60,000, I could build them a castle.” And he ended up building a castle in Wilton, not for $60,000, but I thought that was one of his dreams, to just build a castle, and he did!
GMW: What was his philosophy when he designed a house for someone, what did he want to create for them?
Tucker: Well it would always start with sitting down with the client and determining what their interest and design feel was. It involves a lot of listening and asking questions to get what they want and just to try to build the most functional, beautiful house within the client’s budget.
Susan: Last summer, people that Sandy designed and built a home for, maybe 30 years ago, their daughter and son-in-law wanted to build a home, and so Sandy sat at the drawing board. He had the sharpest pen and the most perfect printing. And he designed a home that he thought would be right, and of course the price was out of their budget, so he went back to the drawing board.
Tucker: One thing, my father always told me, which my grandfather told him, which goes back to his philosophy, was that we’re gentlemen builders, and we don’t build houses, we build homes. There’s a difference.
GMW: Wilton has a ‘feel’ about it. I imagine an architect wants the home to fit the family, and for them to feel that it has always been their home. But also that the home fits where it is. Was that important to him?
Tucker: He definitely had a style. Occasionally a client would want something different and we would accommodate them, but he definitely had a distinctive style. One of the details he liked was the clipped roof. If you look at the gable end and the roof line is clipped, chances are that’s one of his houses, and that was a Willamsburg detail that he enjoyed.
GMW: When people go on the house tour, and go into the home he designed, what do you want them to think about as they step in, and experience that house?
Susan: Sandy designed more family homes, for family living, rather than the mansion, with the excessive, formal living room, which Wilton doesn’t seem to go to. I even think the dining room is a question at this point. That house [on the tour] was the second home he designed for a very good friend of ours, Al Nickel. So he worked hand-in-hand with Al on that.
Sandy bought and developed several farms, and Keeler’s Ridge was the last of the Wilton farms with the barns and the silos. Sandy wanted very much for the silos to stay in place–he felt that was a good landmark for Wilton.
One nice thing about the builders in town–there’s always been a hand-in-glove fit. I’ve never ever remembered there being any contentious competition. Competition of course, but nevercontentious competition. I never heard one builder dis another builder. They’d work together on the town boards and Sandy would come home and say “That Bob Meek is such a fine gentleman!” or, “Walter Smith, what a town father!” I think there was this sense of camaraderie amongst the builders in town. I think that was an important thing. Throughout our life here I felt very comfortable engaging all the wives or children or offspring and I think that’s an unusual thing to have in a tight-knit community. I think there was a mutual respect.
GMW: How do you think that Sandy would have liked Wilton to continue moving forward? As sort of a ‘modern town father,’ what would his vision have been for development here?
Tucker: It would be to continue with reasonable development, trying to maintain the same character Wilton’s always had, with not doing cluster housing and big strip malls, but to keep it a quaint country town. Its been nice having all the amenities of the Stop & Shop area, but I don’t think he’d want to see an excess of that.
GMW: Are you going to go on the House Tour?
Susan: Of course!
Tickets for the House Tour can be purchased in advance at Open House, Signature Style, andWilton Hardware and on the ABC of Wilton website. Tickets for the main house tour are $50 in advance and $60 the day of the tour. Tickets for the tour plus one additional home and garden luncheon are $80 and must be purchased by May 26.