Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Gathering Place

A historic home pulses with all things old, local, and new



Photos by Susan Fisher Photography

Nudged by the impending arrival of daughter Cory, their desire to live in a walkable town, and prior positive experiences remodeling fixer-uppers, Jane and Howard Turner moved to Ridgefield in May 1986, becoming the fourth owners of 50 High Ridge Avenue, also known as the A.L. Benedict House. 

At the time, the 1880 Victorian farmhouse needed serious TLC. Their creative plan of attack: strengthen the original foundation, then carve a modern, circular layout from a traditionally closed-off structure. Thanks to local builders, masons, artisans, and craftsmen, and two-plus decades of renovations, the Turners’ vision lives on.

Jane expressed that the home and High Ridge Avenue have come full circle since A. Barton Hepburn initially relocated the house so that his New York and Boston friends could spread out and build a surrounding compound of culture. One could argue that the home’s new design embodies this full-circle effect—everything is about flow and a forward-looking preservation of history. 

Now, with its understated, quaint farmhouse façade and airy, updated interior, the Turners’ whimsical revamp encourages old and new to cohabitate. Open the turquoise front door and you’re greeted head on by the kitchen area. To the right is the main living space—containing a ground-to-fourth-floor round balcony staircase—where neutral walls, open arches, and original and period-mimicked molding juxtapose the wood furnishings. In the main living room, windowed doors stand tall on either side of the fireplace, framing the backyard like a piece of art. “We kind of saw the outside and inside as a whole. As we were opening up the inside, we were creating spaces outside,” says Jane. 

Both the ground floor and the deck grant access to the backyard where hydrangeas and peonies pocket the lawn among century-old trees. A step above the L-shaped pool is a patio, and across the lawn sits what the Turners affectionately call the Little House: a multipurpose, functional loft space built on the footprint of the original carriage house, its doorway framed by a pergola climbing with trumpet vines.

Throughout the home, contemporary pieces sit beside flea-market finds—like a coffee table from the Paris Flea Market and porch benches from Santa Fe. Each room contains a burst of color: blue on ceilings and floors, orangey hues in pillow stitchings, rugs, and terra-cotta tiles. Precious collectables also have a special place. On spot-lit shelves in the main living room rests Howard’s cross-cultural pottery collection. “I love that some of these really ancient pieces look so contemporary,” says Jane. Such an aesthetic influences the Turners’ consistently eclectic design. 

With its library balcony, exposed beams, and vaulted ceiling, the master bedroom and bath are the most contemporary of the upstairs rooms. The rest of the partitioned bedrooms showcase the original structure in their angled ceilings and slightly slanted wood floors.  

Early on, the Turners’ property functioned not only as a place to live space but as a vital community space. In the late ’90s, their backyard hosted the founding fundraiser for the Ridgefield Playhouse. From their dining room table, a small group of families restarted the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance after Patricia Schuster’s death. That same table also saw the first board meeting for Ridgefield Academy. 

Since living in Ridgefield, Jane has served as president of ROAR (Ridgefield Operation for Animal Rescue) and of the Ridgefield Playhouse. She is also on the board at the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance where husband Howard is the current chair; he is also the founding chair of Ridgefield Academy. “All of these organizations were things we care about. We wanted to see them be what they could be, and then let someone else carry on,” says Jane, who also authored and illustrated a children’s book set in Ridgefield titled The Dog Who We nt to Main Street. Most recently, Jane and daughter Cory co-founded Dogly: a curated website pooling local pooch products from small business. 

Although a need to downsize has prompted the Turners to move away from this beloved house, Howard and Jane plan to remain close, to stay involved in the organizations they’ve nurtured. “I feel about Ridgefield the way I feel about this house,” remarks Jane. “It has a very happy heart.” Howard smiles. “There is a spirit in this town that is a consistent spirit of optimism,” he adds.

The Turner property—currently listed by Laura Freed Ancona of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty—waits for new residents who will make it their own by inviting and entertaining the energy of the vibrant community that surrounds it.

 

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

            

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Catch the Vibe Newsletter

See this weekend's events in the area!
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Got Milk, Sheik?

Local couple advocate camel milk at One Hump Farm

At Your Service

Caterers in the Bedford area

Ready, Set, Go, Go, Go

Places to go this holiday season in Ridgefield

Secret Bailey’s Treats

Bailey’s Backyard excels at Farm-to-Table

Upstairs Downstairs

Bernard’s and Sarah’s Wine Bar serve excellent food in both an elegant and casual setting

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

January 2019

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Hartford Boat Show (HBS50) features the newest boats on the market including center consoles, fishing boats, luxury cruisers, deck and pontoon boats, sport and...

Cost: $12 in advance online, $14 at the door, $10 Senior/Military one day pass

Where:
Expo Center at Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
Uncasville, CT  06382
View map »


Sponsor: Connecticut Marine Trades Association
Telephone: 860-767-2645
Contact Name: Kathleen Burns
Website »

More information

The temple dancer Nikiya and the warrior Solor fall deeply in love, igniting heated passions and murderous intrigues when the Rajah and his daughter Gamzatti discover their forbidden love. La...

Cost: Tickets: $25 | Members & Seniors $20 | Students $15

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


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Contact Name: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Website »

More information

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Join us to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year. Create your own decorative dragon using construction paper, paper towel rolls, tissue paper, and other fun materials to usher in the New...

Cost: Free for members and with Museum admission

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Wednesday, January 23rd at 7:00 PM Create a cool yarn hat in a single evening! All materials will be provided. This event is free and no registration is required. Ages 12 and up. Hosted by North...

Cost: Free

Where:
Keeler 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...

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Grab a glass of wine and join us in exploring the basics of drawing the figure with artist and Aldrich staff member Noah Steinman. With a live model as inspiration, use a variety of materials such...

Cost: $12; $10.80 member

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


Website »

More information

Thursday, Jan. 24 Author Talk: Stephanie Land - Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother's Will to Survive, 7 – 8:30 p.m. Maid is showing up on almost every best of, must read, don't miss list of...

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Wilton Library
Telephone: 203-762-3950
Contact Name: Wilton Library
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Original members of the Billy Joel Band featuring Liberty DeVitto on drums, Richie Cannata on saxophone and Russell Javors on rhythm guitar. The band recorded and toured extensively with Billy Joel...

Cost: $40

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


Telephone: (203) 438-5795
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Winter Guided Hike @ Woodcock Nature Center Saturday January 26th, 10-11:30am, FREE ​ Join Mr. Sam for a hike where we'll investigate whats going on in nature in the winter season and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Woodcock Nature Center
56 Deer Run Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Woodcock Nature Center
Telephone: (203) 762-7280
Contact Name: Sam Nunes
Website »

More information

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Saturday, January 26th from 1:00 - 2:00 PM, Ages 4+ Attend for groovy crafts, snacks, games, and more in celebration of the Pete the Cat book series. This event is free and no registration is...

Cost: Free

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


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

More information

Hudson Chorale, the area’s largest mixed voice chorus, is poised to please.  The group will begin its 2019 season with two matinee concerts on Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 3:00 pm and Sunday,...

Cost: Advance Sale-$25; Door-$30; Students-$10.

Where:
The Chapel at Maryknoll
55 Ryder Rd
Ossining, NY  10562
View map »


Sponsor: Hudson Chorale
Telephone: 1-800-838-3006
Contact Name: Anne Norum
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags