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

October 2018

Caroline is a twice-certified, insured teacher with 22 years of experience in London, Beijing, Tanzania, India, Los Angeles, and New York. She teaches every age from infants to seniors, in...

Cost: FREE

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


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Contact Name: Kim Prange
Website »

More information

Taconic Opera celebrate its 21thseason with another exciting event in October, bringing together two of the most popular one-act operas ever composed:  Giacomo Puccini’s Gianna Schicchi...

Cost: $32-$67; $7 senior discounts; $15 students all seats; family of 4 (any age) $85

Where:
Yorktown Stage
1974 Commerce St
Entrance on Veteran's Road
Yorktown Heights, NY  10598
View map »


Sponsor: Taconic Opera
Telephone: 855-886-7372
Contact Name: Dan Montez
Website »

More information

Evocation of light is ever present in the romantic and experiential landscapes of Ira Barkoff. His recent works convey the spontaneity and the maturity of the artist’s hand and dedication to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: 1953
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

ROAR to Host Annual Fall Festival with Blue Buffalo Event Will Feature a Variety of Games and Activities Including a Costume Contest, Police K-9 Demos and Well Exams Performed on Kids’ Stuffed...

Cost: $5 for kids 11+ years old & adults; free for kids 10 years old and under.

Where:
Ridgefield Park and Rec Center
195 Danbury Rd.
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: ROAR and Blue Buffalo
Telephone: 203-438-0158
Website »

More information

Tickets are on sale now for The Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation's presentation of Christmas Bingo: It's a Ho-Ho-Holy Night, an interactive, hilarious comedy about a...

Cost: 30.00

Where:
Rogers Park Middle School
21 Memorial Drive
Danbury`, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation
Telephone: 203-501-7424
Contact Name: Wendy Ann Mitchell
Website »

More information

Ages 7 and up (all children must be accompanied by an adult) Registration required at shop.aldrichart.org   Combine trinkets, sandboxes, and storytelling in an exciting workshop with Objects...

Cost: $15; $10 member

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


Website »

More information

“Alien Seas: The Case for a Wet Mars”    Dr. Vivien Gornitz will explain Mars’ landforms and processes indicating past running water on the planet. She will describe recent space missions...

Cost: 0

Where:
Cole Auditorium, Greenwich Public Library
101 West Putnam Avenue
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Astronomical Society of Greenwich
Contact Name: Ken
Website »

More information

Sunday, October 21, 2018 at 8pm Barts Tree Service Comedy Series A fixture of the Comedy Central roasts, Gottfried has logged stand-up appearances on “The Tonight Show,”...

Cost: $37.50

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


Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

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


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

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Tickets are on sale now for The Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation's presentation of Christmas Bingo: It's a Ho-Ho-Holy Night, an interactive, hilarious comedy about a...

Cost: 30.00

Where:
Rogers Park Middle School
21 Memorial Drive
Danbury`, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation
Telephone: 203-501-7424
Contact Name: Wendy Ann Mitchell
Website »

More information

Gunn Memorial Library in Washington, CT is pleased to welcome back literary scholar Mark Scarbrough as he leads a five week course The Soul Ajar: An Emily Dickinson Literature Course.  The classes...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Opening Act: Liz Brasher Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 8pm Pepsi Rock Series powered by Xfinity Led by vocalist and songwriter Richard Butler, and his bass-wielding brother Tim, The...

Cost: $52.50

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


Website »

More information

Tickets are on sale now for The Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation's presentation of Christmas Bingo: It's a Ho-Ho-Holy Night, an interactive, hilarious comedy about a...

Cost: 30.00

Where:
Rogers Park Middle School
21 Memorial Drive
Danbury`, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation
Telephone: 203-501-7424
Contact Name: Wendy Ann Mitchell
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Tickets are on sale now for The Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation's presentation of Christmas Bingo: It's a Ho-Ho-Holy Night, an interactive, hilarious comedy about a...

Cost: 30.00

Where:
Rogers Park Middle School
21 Memorial Drive
Danbury`, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation
Telephone: 203-501-7424
Contact Name: Wendy Ann Mitchell
Website »

More information

On Wednesday, October 24, 1:00-2:30 pm, Bruce Museum Registrar and Curator Kirsten Reinhardt will speak about the Museum’s collection of Navajo textiles, from Native American weaving traditions...

Cost: Free for Museum members and visitors with paid admission

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-505-9897
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

This one-hour workshop presented by Scott Ahrens from the NY Department of Financial Services includes a presentation, Q&A session and helpful brochures and takeaways on: Filling out FAFSA...

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

Wednesday, October 24th at 4:00 PM. Open to all ages. Free and no registration required. Decorate Halloween cookies with icing, sprinkles, and candy. Come in costume! 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

Wednesday, October 24th at 7:00 PM. Ages 12 and up. Make a paracord bracelet for yourself or for a friend (the holidays will be here soon). Hosted by Gabriella. For questions, you can email 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

FRIENDS! The Musical Parody is the hilarious new musical that lovingly lampoons TV’s “Friends” — celebrating the wacky misadventures of your favorite group of 20-something...

Cost: $39.50

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


Sponsor: Barts Arborists, Ridgefield Magazine, Star 99.9, and Western Connecticut Health Network
Website »

More information

Facilitated by Nina Bertolino This program will meet every other Wednesday from 10:30 - 12:30 on the following dates: September 12th & 26th, October 10th & 24th, November 7th & 21st, December 5th...

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...

Two legendary founders of The Rascals have teamed up for the first time in five years – Felix Cavaliere and Gene Cornish cite the fans and love of their timeless songs as reasons for...

Cost: $97

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


Website »

More information

Tickets are on sale now for The Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation's presentation of Christmas Bingo: It's a Ho-Ho-Holy Night, an interactive, hilarious comedy about a...

Cost: 30.00

Where:
Rogers Park Middle School
21 Memorial Drive
Danbury`, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation
Telephone: 203-501-7424
Contact Name: Wendy Ann Mitchell
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...

Recreating the legendary sound of The Eagles with their incredible lead vocal similarity, intensely accurate instrumental work, soaring harmonies, and top-flight live performances. Hear all the...

Cost: $40

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


Sponsor: Pepsi Rocks Series Powered by Xfinity
Website »

More information

Tickets are on sale now for The Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation's presentation of Christmas Bingo: It's a Ho-Ho-Holy Night, an interactive, hilarious comedy about a...

Cost: 30.00

Where:
Rogers Park Middle School
21 Memorial Drive
Danbury`, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation
Telephone: 203-501-7424
Contact Name: Wendy Ann Mitchell
Website »

More information

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

Show More...
Show Less...

Best known for his starring roles on two of television’s most cherished and long-running series, “Taxi” and “Who’s The Boss,” Tony Danza has also established...

Cost: $69.50

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


Website »

More information

Tickets are on sale now for The Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation's presentation of Christmas Bingo: It's a Ho-Ho-Holy Night, an interactive, hilarious comedy about a...

Cost: 30.00

Where:
Rogers Park Middle School
21 Memorial Drive
Danbury`, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation
Telephone: 203-501-7424
Contact Name: Wendy Ann Mitchell
Website »

More information

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