For more than 30 years, architect Charles Hilton has become synonymous with exceptional classical design and personal service. “Our firm is known for traditionally-inspired residences. In Fairfield County we get the most demand for brick and stone Georgian homes, which are based on 500 year old mathematical theories and are beautifully
proportioned,” says Hilton, whose firm is based in Greenwich, CT. “In Westchester, we do more European, French and medieval styles, where the homes are nestled into their landscape, as opposed to placed on the site.”

As for personalized service, Hilton loves collaborating with clients. “The conception stage is my favorite part of the process,” he explains. “Whether the client is a wine enthusiast, a car collector or a gourmet chef, we hone in on what’s important to them and lay the plans for a special, unique home.”

Charles Hilton
This classic brick Georgian home features a semi-circular entry portico with Doric columns below a Palladian window.

The firm also specializes in waterfront projects and has been included in Ocean Home’s Top 50 Coastal Architects the past two years. “Homes on the water are different in many aspects. Architecturally, there are two ‘fronts’ of the house—the street side is the front, but the backside facing the water is like a second front of the home. There is always a push to maximize water views from every room, so that affects the floor plan,” he explains. “Regulatory requirements are more strict, for example the foundation has to be higher off the ground. Building materials are different because you have harsh environmental concerns—sun glare that comes off the water, hurricane-wind loads on windows, and salt water that is tougher on everything, including hardware finishes. In short, everything must be durable and crafted extremely well to hold up long term.”

Charles Hilton
The entry hall of this Georgian home has a classical stairway, arched moldings and a view of the breakfast area that opens onto the rear garden.

Hilton, who was inducted into the New England Design Hall of Fame in 2016, believes it’s his responsibility to design and build in a way that helps preserve the planet’s resources for future generations. His firm puts heavy emphasis on sustainable design and green building strategies. “We try to use local, reclaimed and recyclable materials in our projects,” Hilton describes. “We incorporate technologies such as high efficiency glazing systems, geothermal heating and cooling, LED lighting, home automation, and solar- and green-roofs.”

Charles Hilton
The outdoor dining porch at a Westchester Colonial is located just outside the kitchen and overlooks the pool terrace and outdoor fireplace beyond.

In addition to thinking on a global level, Hilton is passionately committed to his local community and received the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce Corporate Citizen Award in 2016 and the Greenwich Rotary Citizen of the Year award for 2017. “We will always share our time and talent to support humanitarian causes,” says Hilton. “Recently we’ve worked on the Darien, CT, Boy Scout cabin, the Rotary Centennial Pavilion in Byram Shore Park, and Our Lady of Grace Preschool.” Most notably, he designed the September 11th Memorial in Cos Cob Park, dedicated in 2015. “I admired the Towers of Light memorial in New York City because it seemed to bring the towers back. I had recently seen an edge-lit glass show in Venice, Italy, and thought a glass memorial would have a similar feel,” says Hilton. “We erected two glass tower memorials with a flag motif. The names of the area victims are written in the stripes. We used a piece of steel from Ground Zero in the marker and planted a wild flower meadow around it that blooms in September.”

At the same time Hilton Architects is building homes in the local area, the company is working on a number of out-of-town projects, including an ocean-front house in Santa Barbara County, CA, a shingle-style home on a golf course in New Jersey and a contemporary NYC apartment. “We’re [also] launching an interior design business called Hilton Interiors, which will be headed up by Amy Andrews, to add a full-service offering to our clients,” says Hilton. “We enjoy variety and always strive to expand our areas of expertise.”