There’s no disguising this. KISS drummer Peter Criss needed an escape from his intense Rock-n-Roll fame. He found it in this enchanting Greenwich, Connecticut manor—a storybook chill estate where he could play with his dog, drums and guns in peace. Sort of.
Criss’ idyllic former home is listed with Douglas Elliman’s William Tuck Keating for nearly $1.88 million. Criss (birth name Peter George John Criscuola) lived here from 1975-1977 with first wife Lydia. It was his prized getaway, a reality check cashed from his international fame and fortune.
Criss was KISS’ original drummer, the heartbeat behind one of the biggest 1970s acts. An underrated hard rock band, KISS is often dismissed as a gimmick group due to their mysterious face paint, androgynous space glam costumes, and on-stage antics like tongue-wagging, fire breathing, and hell-raising pyrotechnics. Their induction into the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame and 24 gold records prove otherwise.
Criss, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Ace Frehley (composers of “Rock and Roll All Nite”, “Beth”, “Detroit Rock City” and “Black Diamond”) dominated mid-70s headlines and rock charts. Criss, who commanded the drum kit dressed in Cat-like makeup, wrote five KISS tracks and sang lead on 13 songs, including the band’s biggest hit “Beth”. According to reports, Criss even helped inspire the band’s name, telling bandmate Stanley about his stint in a band called Lips. Stanley then came up with the provocative name KISS.
The Greenwich estate is far from rock anthems and stadiums full of adoring fans. Or so he thought. As former Manhattan residents, Peter and Lydia reveled in the anonymity of Greenwich life. But diehard KISS fans could see right through the act (and thick makeup), identifying Criss at local restaurants.
KISS fans snuck onto to the estate with cameras and binoculars which reportedly made the drummer paranoid. Lydia once suggested they had more privacy in Manhattan than Connecticut. By 1979, she slept with a .38 mm gun next to her bed as protection against intruders, according to People magazine.
Peter is a gun enthusiast, boasting a collection of firearms he only uses to target shoot and strike poses. There are several old images of him gun posing on the Greenwich estate.
In Greenwich, Criss marched to the slower drumbeat of chirping birds, dog barks and echoing gunshots over 4.24 picturesque acres near Armonk Village (home of IBM). Except for that time he chewed out a house guest for chainsawing logs at the break of dawn—hardly rock god hours.
The estate resembles a Norman Rockwell painting. Recessed by a long driveway from a quiet cul-de-sac, the 3,735-square-foot residence overlooks a narrow brook, a stone-walled pond, a waterfall, and an arched wooden bridge. There’s also a separate, rentable 650-square-foot renovated cottage with a kitchen and loft.
“The home was built in 1968 by a father and son (the Boyce family) who were the first owners,” says Keating. “Their inspiration came from their trip to Normandy where the look and feel of the home were conceptualized.”
Like a 1970s classic, retro suits this scenic backdrop just fine. The four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath main house maintains its rustic European charm with stucco-style interiors; an exposed-beam, cathedral-ceiling living room; a stone stairwell wall; an interior viewing balcony; swinging barn doors; and a paneled pub room with a whimsical bar. The home is warmed by several cozy fireplaces.
Adjacent to the formal dining room, the renovated country kitchen has exposed ceiling beams, red flooring, a stone island, luxury appliances, and a fieldstone fireplace for fireside meals.
A large master suite includes an updated bathroom, sitting room, fireplace and balcony. A wrap-around terrace overlooks a huge yard with a pro-grade bocce ball court. A first-floor office with a wooden ceiling can be converted into an additional bedroom.
Peter and Lydia divorced in 1979. She inherited the estate and a reported $1 million settlement. Lydia sold the home to the Dean family in 1985. Amid a whirlwind of personal issues, Peter married twice more, was involved in two car accidents, got fired and rehired by KISS bandmates, and wrote a controversial memoir. Now, after a post-KISS solo career, the 73-year-old New Jersey resident lives a semi-retired rock star life—at beaches, festivals, rodeos and autograph shows.
“Perhaps the most enduring trace of Peter and Lydia Criss is the brick floor in the country kitchen,” says Keating. “Once bright red, in keeping with the band’s image and artwork, the Deans chose to soften it to a more passive maroon-like shade.”
Everything gets toned down in the wake of rock band KISS. An open house for the Greenwich estate at 6 Carpenters Brook Road is scheduled for Sunday, April 14th.