Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Georgian on His Mind

Building a Bedford classic for the ages



"We were living in a wonderful, old house we loved,” explains John Walker, a classical architecture enthusiast and lifelong student of all things Jeffersonian. “I had always wanted to build a house and had been storing up ideas for a long time.” After years of searching for buildable land within the Village, Walker and his wife, Caroline, expanded their radius and, in due time, received a call from their real estate agent, Frank Haymson, about an eight-acre property adjacent to St. Matthews Episcopal Church. “St. Matthew’s is an important part of our lives, and the land was breathtaking, so we were thrilled when our bid was accepted,” the retired corporate attorney continues. “We couldn’t wait to get started.”

Having completed several renovations during the 21 years they lived in their Village Colonial, the Walkers had been impressed by a recent addition to the Fellowship Hall at St. Matthews. Designed by Ralph R. Mackin Architects and built by DPD Builders, the final product spoke volumes about the team’s attention to detail. “Ralph has an amazing eye and understood that we wanted to be intimately involved in our design. When we hired him, he assigned Darren Mercer as the project architect, and it was a brilliant match. Darren was a master; he took our ideas and brought them to life,” John adds. 

Before the building began, the Walkers hired Dan Divitto of DPD Builders as a consultant and later retained him as the contractor. “Working with the design team from the beginning allowed me to educate them along the way about where money could be best spent for long-term results,” recalls Divitto, who has worked in the local construction industry for more than 30 years.  

With all the players in place, the design phase could begin. Walker’s dream home was to be Georgian in style. Inspired by the works of Andrea Palladio, Thomas Jefferson, and Mott Schmidt, he had compiled a list of rooms and adjacencies and filled a leather portfolio with photos and drawings of windows and architectural details. “I wanted to build a beautiful, classic home of Bedford, along the lines of Mott Schmidt’s home on Guard Hill, that would add to the historic character of our town.”

A 19th-century barn stood guard at the entrance to the Walker’s new property. Reportedly, an old butcher’s shop, the structure was salvaged and repaired, and a mid-century main house was torn down to make way for the Georgian. 

Walking the land, Mercer, Divitto, and the Walkers realized that slightly adjusting the original home’s orientation would maximize views and sunlight. While the long and narrow shape of the house was dictated by the pedestal-type building site, the southern light and northern views were carefully-planned benefits. As DPD Builders began the process of framing the home, John stayed in close contact. “We had such a wonderful working relationship with Dan, that we soon proposed that the garage apartment be finished first, so Caroline and I could move in while the rest of the house was completed,” John says. “It was a dream come true to live onsite and watch it day by day. Our team meetings were the highlight of each week.”

Completed in 2008, the home is a reflection of John’s passion for beautiful architecture and Caroline’s eye for color and warmth. The exterior is an elegant blend of stone and clapboard. Leaving nothing to chance, the couple photographed dozens of stone houses and made a chart for Divitto’s masons to prioritize color, shape and pattern options. “There are so many variables that go into a stone facade,” explains Caroline, a retired attorney and amateur painter who spearheaded the interior decor and collaborated with her husband on the masonry design. “We worked with the stone mason until it was absolutely perfect.”  

More than satisfied with the fruit of the entire team’s labors, the Walkers are full of enthusiasm. Inside the double mahogany doors, the foyer unfolds with gracious symmetry. A bespoke dome caps the three-story entry at the top of the magnificent, winding staircase. Its installation was a feat of engineering ingenuity. The living room, to the left, boasts custom woodwork, meticulously installed to breathtaking effect. “I can sit in a room like this and admire it for hours,” John opines with delight. His adjacent paneled library is filled with light and overlooks the Beaver Dam River. 

To the right of the foyer is a beautifully appointed dining room which leads to Caroline’s dream kitchen and breakfast room. An enthusiastic cook, she loves the light, airy space. “I find it very uplifting to be in there,” she says with a smile. “And, it’s open to my little office, which is something I never had in my old house.”  A family room and conservatory complete the public areas of the house. “Rather than order a pre-fabricated English conservatory, we worked with Darren and Dan to design and build one. This is one of our favorite places to sit and watch the changing scenery,” John points out.

The second floor houses the master suite as well as three family bedroom suites. Caroline’s art studio and a fourth bedroom suite are on the third floor. While many of her unframed canvases—a mixture of family portraits, local landscapes and reproductions of Hudson River School paintings—are arranged in various stages of completion, a significant number of framed works are hung throughout the house to the delight of guests and family.

Gathering with Team Walker to celebrate the holidays recently, John raised a glass to toast Divitto, Mackin, and Mercer and described the bittersweet feelings he had as the project came to an end.  “People were incredulous and would ask, ‘Are you crazy, don’t you hate your builder and architect?’ And, I felt completely the opposite. It was such a great, collaborative process and so much fun. Every time we ran into a challenge individually and wondered how we would solve it, we worked together and came up with a better solution. That’s where having a great architect and a great builder made this a pleasure.” 

Connect With Us

             

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Simple Pleasures

Whispering Spirits

Fire and Ice

Halle Revival

Breathing new modern life into Hiram Halle's home

Mis En Place

Cooking at home with Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

November 2018

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join us for a FREE lecture! Falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults. However, the fear of falling doesn’t need to rule your life. Learn strategies for preventing falls and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Health Tully Health Center
32 Strawberry Hill Court
1st Floor Auditorium
Stamford, CT  06902
View map »


Sponsor: HSS Sports Rehab
Telephone: 203-705-2933
Contact Name: Pamela Villagomez
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Wednesday, November 14th at 4:00 PM. Open to all ages. Decorate an apple with candy to make it look like a turkey! This event is free and no registration is required. Co-sponsored with the NS...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a behind-the-scenes, private tour of The Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition Jewelry: The Body Transformed with Curator of American Decorative Arts, Beth Carver Wees. Followed by lunch and...

Cost: Member price: $50 Non-Member price: $60

Where:
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenune
New York, NY   10028
View map »


Sponsor: Katonah Museum of Art
Telephone: 914-232-9555

More information

Join Laura’s brother Jan, and singers Diane Garisto and Kate Ferber for an evening of live music, stories and videos of this Rock & Roll Hall of Fame trailblazer.   Laura Nyro, posthumously...

Cost: 50.00

Where:
Bedford Playhouse
633 Old Post Road
bedford, NY
View map »

More information

914INC. will host its annual Women in Business Luncheon, to be held in conjunction with the magazine’s Q4/Winter issue, showcasing leading area businesswomen.

Cost: Single Ticket: $85 / Table of Ten: $800

Where:
DoubleTree by Hilton
455 South Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: 914INC and Westchester Magazine
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Friday mornings from 10:30 to 12:30. Free, no registration. Open to adults and older teens. Participants are asked to bring their own supplies in, but some basic supplies will be provided by the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Meet us under the Dome and catch all the excitement! Come out for the 16th Annual Festival of Trees to benefit Ann’s Place at the Danbury Sports Dome for a weekend filled with live events...

Cost: Ages 3 to 64, $10; Seniors, $5; kids under 3, free.

Where:
Danbury Sports Dome
25 Shelter Rock Ln
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Ann's Place
Telephone: 203-790-6568
Contact Name: Michelle Frosch
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Meet us under the Dome and catch all the excitement! Come out for the 16th Annual Festival of Trees to benefit Ann’s Place at the Danbury Sports Dome for a weekend filled with live events...

Cost: Ages 3 to 64, $10; Seniors, $5; kids under 3, free.

Where:
Danbury Sports Dome
25 Shelter Rock Ln
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Ann's Place
Telephone: 203-790-6568
Contact Name: Michelle Frosch
Website »

More information

Saturday, November 17th from 12:00 - 3:00 PM for kids K+. Plan on staying with your children and having fun together.   This year’s annual STEAMFEST will feature Mad Science’s special...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Wise financial planning includes getting up to date values for jewelry, watches and other valuables tucked away in jewelry boxes and safe deposit boxes. To make an appointment for a complimentary...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Katonah Museum of Art
134 Jay Street
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Katonah Museum of Art
Telephone: 914-232-9555
Website »

More information

Westchester Oratorio Society, Artistic Director Benjamin Niemczyk, opens its 21st season with a concert entitled, “An Evening with Bach” at the South Salem Presbyterian Church,...

Cost: $15 to $50

Where:
South Salem Presbyterian Church
111 Spring Street
South Salem, NY  10590
View map »


Sponsor: Westchester Oratorio Society
Telephone: 800 838 3006
Contact Name: Joe Spallina
Website »

More information

Molsky’s Mountain Drifters brings tradition steeped in possibility. The grace and wisdom of longtime fiddle player and multi-instrumentalist Bruce Molsky, described as “an absolute...

Cost: $25, $40, $55, $70

Where:
Rosen House Music Room
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Rd
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags