Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Modern Love

Turning an 1800s colonial into a modern gem takes a mighty vision



“It’s all been about editing, editing, editing,” says Fairfield landscape designer Diane Devore about the eight stunning acres around this Ridgefield estate. “We wanted to enhance the property, not fill it up.” Devore has been working with the owners, a producer and investment banker, to “edit” the landscape since they bought the 1800s farmhouse 14 years ago, inspired in large part by the property. For the past decade and a half, the couple, who prefers to remain anonymous, and their three (now grown) children, have enjoyed the house on weekends and vacations.

“The property has a rural feel,” the owner explains. “But it’s five minutes from town. A lot of weekenders have houses in Bedford, but they come to Ridgefield to do everything. I wanted a town.” 

Devore, and the owners have transformed the farmhouse and property into a contemporary estate.  “Once you’re in here—behind those gates—you’re in your own world,” says realtor Karla Murtaugh. With a tennis court, basketball court, outdoor and indoor pools, a winter sunroom, and an outdoor living room—there is little reason to leave. 

The first project the owner tackled upon purchase was the entryway to the house. She wanted a “clean, modern front that was welcoming and beautiful.” Devore says that the idea for the entryway landscape was to marry the old Shaker aesthetic of farmhouse simplicity with clean lines to show the roots of contemporary design in Puritan tradition. 

They recently completed a second landscape edit. “We added a grass stepped living room, a walking path around the entire property, a tree house, a swing, and a wonderful outdoor fireplace,” the owner says. “The property sits on Strawberry Ridge, and had more of an angle than we realized.” 

Devore worked with Perennial Gardens in Bedford to install stone and grass steps that would lead your eye out from the house. These steps flatten the property to create an “outside living room,” an area for entertaining that can hold a tent.

 “We wanted the landscape to be intimate enough for the owner and her husband to enjoy and to work for large gatherings,” says Devore. “During parties, old and young alike will go up in the contemporary tree house, which we installed in a tulip tree. The playful orange furniture mimics the splash of color on the inside of the tulip tree flower.” 

The firepit is another addition that would summon the kid in anyone and shows the clean lines that drive all the design choices. “We used a backless bench and no extra furniture to keep the view of the landscape,” Devore explains. 

“The one tip I have for people,” offers the owner about her outdoor furniture collection, “is to stay away from cushions. There’s so much comfortable and beautiful outdoor furniture. I don’t want to spend half my time moving pillows and furniture in and out every three months or sitting on wet cushions after a five minute downpour. It took me ten years to realize this.” 

Property manager Steve Sheriden shows how the new cedar and gravel path winds around the entire property. “People were always trying to jog around the eight acres,” the owner says. “That gave me the idea to make an official path that brings you through the woods and meadow and arbors, and flowering bushes. Everyone uses it.” In fact, she cites an evening stroll around the walking path at twilight as one of her favorite things about the house.

Another of her favorite additions is the indoor pool. “The indoor pool and Jacuzzi are magical. We have the heat pumped up pretty high so it’s heavenly to jump in and swim with snow blowing outside.” A blue tile fountain gives the whole room a Mediterranean look. 

When the owners bought the original 1800s house, they worked with the architect to open every doorway inside the house, square them off, and raise them. They replaced all the windows with large pane glass. “This gives the house a European slant,” says Murtaugh. “You can tell that the architect is European. The materials, the hardware, the windows, the lighting.” It also gives the house its modern façade, visible from Old Branchville Road. 

“This isn’t a country kitchen,” Murtaugh says of the top of the line kitchen. “I see a lot of people putting kitchens in like this now.” With two dishwashers, a Sub-zero fridge, and ample counter top and table seating—it makes a great Sunday morning hangout spot. “I love the fact that the floors are slate—it’s so practical. It’s zen-like—not formal or pretentious,” says Murtaugh, of Neumann Real Estate. 

The owner says that she always wanted the house to be welcoming and thinks the cool color palate and light maple built-ins throughout add to the calm feeling. “I’d choose these paint colors again.” 

Even after major contemporary additions, there are vestiges of the old house. In the tracery at the rear of the library fireplace there is a picture of a couple dancing. “It blows my mind to think of all the history,” says the owner, who also insisted on keeping the original glass finial ball at the bottom of the stairs.

“The ceiling of the master bedroom was brown and when we broke through we found four beautiful beams, which had been covered.” The master bedroom is her private oasis when the house is filled with guests.  

When asked about the “editing process” the owner admits, “it’s not easy keeping up with a minimal design. The tendency over time is to keep adding books, pictures, gifts, vases, etc. I finally gave in to a certain degree but I do try to pare down the rooms.” This stunning property with a house that spans three centuries will go on the market this spring.  

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

Brought to Light

Designer Maureen Rivard was put off by the overgrown property and dark, outdated interior of her future home when she first visited it. It took six visits, including one accompanied by a builder friend, before Rivard realized that cosmetic changes were really all that were needed to convert the house into a charming residence.

Collectors Welcome

When these homeowners returned from abroad, they wanted an antique house large enough to hold the trappings of their travels. They found that and much, much more. A house that's been around more than 250 years is bound to have a few secrets.

Maurie’s House

Simon Says

For the Art

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

December 2018

Take inspired works of art; a Library magically transformed into a sparkling, vibrant gallery; add infectious community enthusiasm... Put it all together and the result is the Mark Twain...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Mark Twain Library
439 Redding Road
Redding, CT  06896
View map »


Sponsor: The Mark Twain Library
Telephone: 203-938-2545
Contact Name: Romy Weinberg
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

On December 9 from 12 – 3 p.m. bring your knitting projects or spinning wheels and enjoy a relaxing afternoon with seasoned knitters and spinners. They will coach you on your knitting challenges...

Cost: Free, but donations in support of New Pond Farm's fleecy flock will be welcomed!

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


Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

Sunday, December 9th at 3:00 PM. Open to all ages. Come to watch several short silent comedies at this fun event hosted by renowned silent film accompanist and historian Ben Model. Ben Model...

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

James Lancel McElhinney, journal-artist, author, Yale alumnus and  Pollock-Krasner Grant recipient will unfold the epic story of painted books, from the Age of Exploration to the digital era. He...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Ridgefield Library
472 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Library
Telephone: 203-438-2282
Contact Name: Laurie McGavin Bachmann
Website »

More information

Christmas with the Celts returns to The Playhouse after sold-out performance for the past three seasons! This holiday show features a mix of lively traditional Irish music and instrumentation with...

Cost: $47.50

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Create bold shapes and blocks of colors in this fun process-based workshop! Mark off lines and forms on canvas with artist’s tape, then paint your heart out. When the paint is dry, peel away the...

Cost: $15; $13.50 member

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


Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

  The Ridgefield Historical Society is hosting a holiday event on    Tuesday, December 11: A Festive Soirée at the Schoolhouse The Peter Parley Schoolhouse, intersection of West Lane and...

Cost: $40 for members $50 for nonmembers

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


Telephone: 203-438-5821

More information

Second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 PM at Keeler Library. Extra copies of the books are available for checkout. No registration is required and drop-ins are welcome.   Tuesday, December 11th at...

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...

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 at 8pm Pepsi Rock Series powered by Xfinity Holiday Series After reuniting for sold out tours in 2013 and 2016, this chart-topping quartet — featuring...

Cost: Tickets: $125 Gold Circle | $98 Orchestra/Balcony

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


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

More information

Wednesday, Dec. 12. The Bedford Chamber Concert Series continues its 2018-19 season, featuring an all-Vivaldi holiday program. Anthony Newman and the Bedford Chamber Ensemble will perform “The...

Cost: $45 per person

Where:
St. Matthew's Church Fellowship Hall
382 Cantitoe Street
Bedford, NY  10506
View map »


Sponsor: St. Matthew's Music Committee
Telephone: 914-522-5150
Contact Name: Anthony Newman
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
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

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

EVERY THURSDAY | 7:30 PM - 10:00 pm Music | Spoken Word | Comedy | More Hosted by Don Lowe Hunt Hill Farm is excited to announce OpenMic night every Thursday night.  Please stop by to...

Cost: donation

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
Contact Name: John C. Maxwell III
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

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Family Workshop: Holiday Origami 10 am to 12 noon; children ages 2 to 5 1 to 3 pm; children ages 6 to 10   Get in the holiday spirit at The Aldrich! Using introductory origami techniques...

Cost: Free!

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


Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
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

Come and meet award-winning columnist, author, and founder of Jackson, Grant Investment Advisers, Inc, Julie Jason. She'll be signing her most recent books, The Retirement Survival Guide, Managing...

Cost: 0

Where:
Barnes & Noble at the Stamford Town Center
100 Greyrock Place
Stamford, CT  06901
View map »


Sponsor: Julie Jason
Telephone: 203-322-1198
Contact Name: Theresa Robbins
Website »

More information

On Saturday, December 15th, at 6:30 PM, New Pond Farm Education Center will be hosting a public astronomy program where we hope to see Comet Wirtanen and some meteors from the Geminid meteor...

Cost: $4 per New Pond Farm member (max. $16 per family) and $6 per non-member (max. $2

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


Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Contact Name: New Pond Farm
Website »

More information

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