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Going to Town

Authentic, private, and connected on Catoonah



Hulya Kolabas

Ross and Valerie Schneiderman are familiar faces around Ridgefield. Ross can be found sharing tennis scores with patrons behind the counter of his bakery, Ross’ Bread, and Valerie leading a class of meditating yogis at the Yoga Shala in Branchville. 

Though baking and yoga may be their most recent vocations, Val and Ross have deep roots in athletics. Ross boasts a 35-year career producing sports television, covering major events including NCAA Final Fours, Super Bowls, and World Series. He is currently a senior producer with the Tennis Channel. Valerie competed as a rhythmic gymnast in the 1984 Olympic Games, where the couple first met. Years later, reconnecting in Seoul, Korea, during the 1988 Games, the two found love from a friendship and shared passions.

After nearly 15 years in Ridgefield and raising two sons Zach, 21, and Will, 20, the Schneidermans began their search for an empty-nester abode. With close ties to the town, choosing a historic colonial on Catoonah Street seemed only fitting. Set practically in the backyard of St. Mary Church, the quaint blue residence boasts two centuries of history in its walls. Built in 1780, the structure was originally located a quarter-mile away on Abbott Avenue before being resettled on its current foundation a century later.

“There’s an interesting balance between honoring the house that is here and making it livable in 2013,” says Valerie. The Schneidermans found downsizing a challenge. Their previous home on Silver Spring Road was double the size of this 1,600-square-foot colonial, and little of their old furniture would fit in the vintage house. So Valerie browsed local merchants, from the Keeler Tavern sale to Olley Court, to furnish the smaller space.

Renovations were required, but the couple sought to maintain anything that could be salvaged from the home’s historic roots. The shingled siding, wide crown molding, and a colorful stained-glass window from an original exterior wall were all maintained throughout the remodel. A dozen original windows were also saved or moved to fit within the new additions. “I like the imperfection in things,” Valerie says of the home’s heritage. “Even the teeny-tiny, crooked stairs.”

History was found in hidden places as well. While uncovering the original flooring on the second level, Ross and Valerie discovered WWII-era newspapers used to level and insulate former layers of linoleum.

When it came to structural and mechanical changes, Ross and Valerie chose a contractor with local ties and experience with smaller spaces. “We were concerned about perhaps having a builder come in and make a grand house. We didn’t want a grand house,” says Valerie. Contractor Nick Borrell had experience renovating older structures on Lake Waccabuc, and his design aesthetic appealed to the Schneidermans. Embracing the couple’s vision to build modern additions that remained authentic to the house, Borrell began with the fundamentals—like wiring. The old structure contained sockets that smoked from modern-day gadgets. It also lacked built-in lighting and storage space. 

Two closets were constructed near the front door, with white vertical paneling to match that found in the kitchen. A wide arch between the entryway and living room created an open flow for the main floor, connecting all areas easily. Rather than use modern sheetrock, artisan plasterers crafted new walls and structured beams. Clunky radiators were removed and forced heating was installed, with vintage-style grates to cover the openings.

Since a coffee table would not suffice to run two businesses, dormers were added to the roof in the walkup attic to create a spacious, light-filled workspace. Five windows face north, “a great vantage point for a storm,” says Ross. The pleasant atmosphere is the exact opposite of what one might expect from an attic, yet still serves a functional purpose. Wooden cabinets line the wall, hiding the service conduits that run through the belly of the house.

The original home was constructed with three nearly equal-size bedrooms. “You can see where people maybe walked into the home and said, ‘Wow, it’s super sweet, but we couldn’t live here,’” says Valerie. But she had a vision. The master-bedroom addition now includes a transition space between the original home and the new construction. A small Indian Ganesha statue sits on a built-in nook where a closet once stood—now a shelved space for knick-knacks and picture frames.

When constructing the master bedroom and bath, Valerie wanted a more modern feel. Expansive windows across the east wall and minimalist decoration are indicative of her Zen-influenced choices. The bed seems to float above the bamboo flooring—an illusion created by a custom-crafted platform. Two fuzzy sheepskin rugs offer cozy padding on either side.

The practical bathroom has his-and-hers sinks and a steam shower. And, in keeping with the Zen-sanctuary theme, a soaking bathtub is hidden behind three translucent, shoji-inspired panels. A small window allows a view onto the surrounding yard but still offers privacy. Aromatherapy candles and jars of Epsom salts surround the tub, creating a relaxing, spa-like environment.

The grounds complement the home’s heritage and the couple’s modern, minimalistic approach. A small courtyard with casual seating overlooks the rolling lawn of St. Mary. Overgrown brush has been replaced with a bountiful garden. “We found a way to give ourselves a really beautiful, private space without closing ourselves off,” says Valerie.

Perhaps the couple’s favorite aspect of the house is its location near the heart of town, which allowed Ross to walk to Ridgefield Hardware twice a day during construction. Today, you might spot the Schneidermans strolling down Main Street with their yellow lab, Pooka. “You’re very connected to your neighbors—there’s no big, high fence,” says Valerie of the communal way of living on Catoonah. “You wouldn’t move to this street if that’s what you wanted.” 

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August 2017

He’s earned so many superlatives in his career, it may be best to put it simply: the cat can play. Trumpeter Chris Botti brings his superb musicianship, his killer band and his...

Cost: $110

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: 203)438-5795
Contact Name: Vania Saintfery
Website »

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Starting June 3rd thru August 27th, Ridgefield Golf Course offers families an opportunity to play golf. For $25 groups of up to 5 people can play a few holes (golf cart included). Tee times are...

Cost: For $25 groups of up to 5 people

Where:
Ridgefield Golf Course
545 Ridgebury Road
Ridgefield, CT
View map »


Website »

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Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


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Turn a summer afternoon into an artful one. Experiment with new materials and creative processes. Families with children of all ages are invited! Imagine what art will look like years from now...

Cost: Free for members or with Museum admission

Where:
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
Telephone: 203-438-4519
Contact Name: Emily Devoe
Website »

More information

Starting June 3rd thru August 27th, Ridgefield Golf Course offers families an opportunity to play golf. For $25 groups of up to 5 people can play a few holes (golf cart included). Tee times are...

Cost: For $25 groups of up to 5 people

Where:
Ridgefield Golf Course
545 Ridgebury Road
Ridgefield, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

Restaurant Weeks, hosted by Stamford Tables, is back for another summer of fabulous dining.  From August 21st through September 4th, participating restaurants will be...

Where:
Participating Downtown Restaurants
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“Ann Wilson of Heart” the next step of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s journey – the step that puts it all together. The present meets the past and joins the timeless. All...

Cost: $90.00

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Pepsi Rock Series powered by xfinity
Website »

More information

Starting June 3rd thru August 27th, Ridgefield Golf Course offers families an opportunity to play golf. For $25 groups of up to 5 people can play a few holes (golf cart included). Tee times are...

Cost: For $25 groups of up to 5 people

Where:
Ridgefield Golf Course
545 Ridgebury Road
Ridgefield, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

Restaurant Weeks, hosted by Stamford Tables, is back for another summer of fabulous dining.  From August 21st through September 4th, participating restaurants will be...

Where:
Participating Downtown Restaurants
Stamford, CT


Website »

More information

Do you love to sing and want to join a contemporary singing group? The Ridgefield Chorale is kicking off their fall rehearsal season and would like to invite anyone interested in becoming a member,...

Cost: Free

Where:
St Andrew's Church
6 Ivy Hill Road
Ridgefield, CT
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Chorale
Telephone: 203-546-8740
Contact Name: Lori Meehan
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Kenny Wayne Shepherd, the Louisiana born axeman and songsmith, has sold millions of albums while throwing singles into the Top 10, shining a light on the rich blues of the past and...

Cost: $69.50

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: (203)438-5795
Contact Name: Vania Saintfery
Website »

More information

Starting June 3rd thru August 27th, Ridgefield Golf Course offers families an opportunity to play golf. For $25 groups of up to 5 people can play a few holes (golf cart included). Tee times are...

Cost: For $25 groups of up to 5 people

Where:
Ridgefield Golf Course
545 Ridgebury Road
Ridgefield, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

Restaurant Weeks, hosted by Stamford Tables, is back for another summer of fabulous dining.  From August 21st through September 4th, participating restaurants will be...

Where:
Participating Downtown Restaurants
Stamford, CT


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Turn a summer afternoon into an artful one. Experiment with new materials and creative processes. Families with children of all ages are invited! Incorporate important words and numbers from...

Cost: Free for members or with Museum admission

Where:
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
Telephone: 203-438-4519
Contact Name: Emily Devoe
Website »

More information

Pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph, who is included on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 greatest guitarists of all time, leads this Grammy Award-nominated funk and soul band. Many musicians...

Cost: $45-65

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: (203)438-5795
Contact Name: Vania Saintfery
Website »

More information

Starting June 3rd thru August 27th, Ridgefield Golf Course offers families an opportunity to play golf. For $25 groups of up to 5 people can play a few holes (golf cart included). Tee times are...

Cost: For $25 groups of up to 5 people

Where:
Ridgefield Golf Course
545 Ridgebury Road
Ridgefield, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

Restaurant Weeks, hosted by Stamford Tables, is back for another summer of fabulous dining.  From August 21st through September 4th, participating restaurants will be...

Where:
Participating Downtown Restaurants
Stamford, CT


Website »

More information

Show More...
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Featuring Mike Portnoy, Randy George, Eric Geillette and Bill Hubauer Ex Dream Theater and current Winery Dogs super drummer Mike Portnoy (also known for his work...

Cost: $45

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: (203)438-5795
Contact Name: Vania Saintfery
Website »

More information

Starting June 3rd thru August 27th, Ridgefield Golf Course offers families an opportunity to play golf. For $25 groups of up to 5 people can play a few holes (golf cart included). Tee times are...

Cost: For $25 groups of up to 5 people

Where:
Ridgefield Golf Course
545 Ridgebury Road
Ridgefield, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

Restaurant Weeks, hosted by Stamford Tables, is back for another summer of fabulous dining.  From August 21st through September 4th, participating restaurants will be...

Where:
Participating Downtown Restaurants
Stamford, CT


Website »

More information

4th Annual ArtWalk Ridgefield: The downtown streets of Ridgefield will once again come alive during Art Walk Ridgefield 2017.  More than 50 restaurants, businesses and cultural venues...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ridgefield, CT


Website »

More information

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The Connecticut Taco Festival will take place on Saturday, August 26, 2017 from 10 AM to 8 PM at the Danbury Ice Arena. This event will feature a variety of taco selections from restaurants and...

Cost: Tickets are limited. Advanced general admission tickets $45 and $25 for kids

Where:
Danbury Ice Arena
1 Independence Way
Danbury, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The multi-platinum selling singer, performer and songwriter with his brand new Gavin DeGRAW TOUR where he will be performing a stripped down set, diving deep into his catalogue for the first time...

Cost: $87

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Join New Pond Farm's team of astronomers as we gaze through the telescopes at the five-day old moon, Jupiter with its bright moons, and Saturn with its magnificent rings....

Cost: $4 per New Pond Farm member, $6 per non-member

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
View map »


Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

Starting June 3rd thru August 27th, Ridgefield Golf Course offers families an opportunity to play golf. For $25 groups of up to 5 people can play a few holes (golf cart included). Tee times are...

Cost: For $25 groups of up to 5 people

Where:
Ridgefield Golf Course
545 Ridgebury Road
Ridgefield, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

Restaurant Weeks, hosted by Stamford Tables, is back for another summer of fabulous dining.  From August 21st through September 4th, participating restaurants will be...

Where:
Participating Downtown Restaurants
Stamford, CT


Website »

More information

4th Annual ArtWalk Ridgefield: The downtown streets of Ridgefield will once again come alive during Art Walk Ridgefield 2017.  More than 50 restaurants, businesses and cultural venues...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ridgefield, CT


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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