Making a Masterpiece

Gracefully lulling over 13 immaculate acres is one of Greenwich’s most iconic estates: Sleepy Cat Farm. A passion project of Fred Landman since acquiring the property in 1994, the farm draws on European and Asian influences and the thoughtful planning of Greenwich architect Charles Hilton.

Garden spaces and buildings with names like The Golden Path and The Celestial Pavilion evoke the atmosphere of the farm: a fully immersive experience of contemplation, appreciation and solitude—with plenty of benches to help in that end. But Landman, with the help of his wife Seen Lippert, an accomplished professional chef, wanted to do more than create a garden with majesty. In the spirit of sharing the farm’s bounty, they provide fresh, organic produce to the surrounding community. The owners are also committed to instilling public awareness of horticulture and landscape architecture through hosting charitable events and garden tours. As Landman says, “One of my greatest joys is when other people come here and get to experience what I experience every day. The most important thing is that they leave happy.”

Sleepy Cat Farm: A Gardener’s Journey recounts the transformation of Landman’s Georgian Revival home and its grounds by Hilton and landscape architect Charles J. Stick.

A wisteria arbor in full bloom provides a canopy over the Chippendale-style bench, which overlooks the boxwood cat maze.

Hilton, one of Greenwich’s (and the industry’s) notable architects, says working on Sleepy Cat Farm was one of the most unique projects in his career. “Twenty-seven years ago, we began working with Fred on the estate that would eventually become Sleepy Cat Farm. What began as a renovation to the main house blossomed into 10 different projects that span across the 13-acre property and vary greatly in style from Georgian, to French Normandy, to Italian neoclassical.”

The renovation projects ran the full gamut of challenges you’d expect when reviving old buildings, says Hilton: “The primary challenge was creating an aesthetic that was collectively cohesive with the other buildings, the bucolic landscape and the interiors, while simultaneously allowing each building to have its own unique identity.”

What sets Sleepy Cat Farm apart from other estates is its dedicated and visionary mission. “The comprehensiveness of Fred’s vision and the consistency and thoroughness of his approach to integrate architecture, landscape architecture, interior design and the culinary and fine arts into one exceptional place is a rare and very joyful experience.”

His proudest moment? “The French Normandy main house, because of its uniqueness, comfortable wide-open spaces and its integration with the surrounding landscape.”

Sleepy Cat Farm: A Gardener’s Journey;
$50. Monacelli Press, November 2, 2021;

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