At Home With Writer Jonathan Tolins And Robert Cary

Robert Cary and Jonathan Tolins. Photos by Autumn Driscoll

Robert Cary and Jonathan Tolins. Photos by Autumn Driscoll


Jonathan Tolins and husband Robert Cary wanted the Connecticut experience.

Married in California in 2008 and having adopted their first child, the couple in 2009 moved from Los Angeles for family circumstances, as well as the need to get away from the Hollywood grind.

They found the perfect place in Fairfield, a salt-box home on several acres that includes a swimming pool, gazebo and footbridge over a running stream. The home dates back to pre-Revolutionary days, when it was the Sherwood Tavern and over the centuries the now-residence has been renovated and expanded. But the house is still filled with Colonial-era details like wide plank floors, an eight-foot fireplace (there were five originally) with a beehive oven and tiny closets with the original wooden pegs.

"We always preferred houses that have some kind of character,” says Tolins, 49, a playwright best known for the off-Broadway hit, “Buyer and Cellar,” and a writer-producer for the CBS series, “BrainDead.”

“It’s a house with quirks, personality and flaws — and it has plenty of flaws,” says Cary, 48, also a writer, who sometimes teams with Tolins. (They scripted TV’s “Grease Live!” and wrote “additional material” for the Broadway revival of “On the Town.”)

On this day’s visit, an infestation of bees on a gable is the latest homeowner challenge, which their son, Henry, 6, seizes as an opportunity for his super-soaker. (Daughter Selina, 12, was away at summer camp.)

“I was told it would be terrible for my career if I left L.A.,” says Tolins, settled in his living room decorated with comfortable good taste from mostly HomeGoods and Crate & Barrel. “But everything got better.”

When asked how the two places differ, Tolins, a studious-looking, wry man who resembles Leonard on “The Big Bang Theory,” quotes a visiting friend from L.A.: “Sometimes you just have to get out of the casino.”