Peace of Mind
Jody Rosen’s favorite home
Photos by Hulya Kolabas
Eleven years ago, I toured Uplands, Jody and Scott Rosen’s former 100-acre Bedford estate. It was filled with vibrant color, sumptuous texture, and loads of whimsy. At the time, Jody told me, “My decorating strategy is that there is no strategy or plan. I just trusted that when I saw something I liked, I’d find a place for it.”
Since then, after buying and selling multiple houses, Rosen is now settled “for the time being” in her brand-new, modern-barn-inspired home, near the Ridgefield border in North Salem. “I think, in some ways, that is still my strategy, however now I feel like I adhere more to the old adage ‘less is more.’”
“In my other houses, there was a lot of stuff, and not a lot of it made its way here. I don’t want clutter in my life, and that applies to both my physical space and my emotional space,” says the mother of four. “I think that a house is representative of where we are in life,” she continues. “And, this is a fresh, new chapter for me.”
Four years ago, Rosen was living two doors down on a horse farm when an eager buyer appeared (though the property was not on the market), and she sold the place. While she rented temporary lodgings for herself and her brood, she began a search for a long-term solution.
“I knew this property, of course,” she says, in reference to her new spread. “But, the main house was a small 1800s antique, so I didn’t think it would be right for my large family. A neighbor strongly encouraged me to look at it anyway. I liked the owners—Page Dickey and Bosco Schell—very much. While the farmhouse was charming, it was the property and the location that really spoke to me. The house backs up to the open land, so, even though the property isn’t quite three acres, it feels like 50. And the sun sets right in the back of that field.”
Rosen eventually realized that if she kept the old timber framing, expanded the footprint, rearranged the floor plan, and opened up the property, she could make it work, and she teamed up with Bedford-based architect Teo Siguenza.
“Teo and I had worked together years ago; I respect his talent, his taste, his aesthetics. He is one of the finest people you could meet. We talked about what I wanted, and within three days, I had an elevation drawing, and I said, “That’s it.”
While Siguenza developed the plans, Tommy Alfredo and his crew from Alfredo LDC moved all of the boxwoods, fruit trees, and privet that Page Dickey, a noted horticulturalist, had lovingly nurtured to a temporary nursery out back for safekeeping. Rosen, meanwhile, moved into the guest house, and soon construction, managed by Matoz Andrade of Andrade Construction Company, began.
“The goal was to create a home rooted in the American northeast vernacular, yet casual, extroverted, and youthful,” says Siguenza. “I see these goals achieved when I walk into Jody’s home and feel the light and serene interior.”
Speaking of the interior, when making decisions, Rosen, not surprisingly, relied on her own instincts, often bouncing ideas off Siguenza. “This time, I wanted a muchmore clean and open home,” she says. “I used a palette of grey and white and very calming and serene earth tones both inside and outside.” Throughout the process, Siguenza and Rosen brought in top-notch contractors and artisans, and after 18 months, the final touches were complete.
The home now unfolds from a two-story entry hall featuring a massive gray, shredded-suede chandelier overhead and woodworker John Voll’s rift-sawn, white oak floors, in a chevron pattern underfoot. Two expansive steel and glass panels, shipped from California, flood the space with light. And a dramatic wood and steel staircase, handcrafted by Stillwell Stairs and Patrick Kelleher of Greenside Metalworks, winds up to the second floor.
To the right, the footprint of the original home now houses a spacious living room featuring Voll’s random-width oak floors, a limestone fireplace, and pairs of metal and glass doors; Rosen’s sleek office nook; an enchanting powder room; and a guest suite.
To the left is the eat-in kitchen/ family room, where Rosen chose lighting from Avant Garden, cabinetry by Leicht Kitchens, and counters and a fireplace surround by Marble America. “I like to entertain,” says Rosen, who installed a Lacanche range to facilitate her home cooking. “For Mother’s day, we had more than 30 people here, so we threw open the doors to the porch to accommodate everyone. It’s a great entertaining house, thanks to the flow.”
Upstairs, Rosen had a great room built for when her sons Alex, Ethan, Ari, and godson, Danny, come home for a visit. Queen-size Murphy beds pull down from custom cabinetry, and daybeds accommodate any overflow. The home’s original hand-hewn timbers are revealed inside this room to add drama and a nod to the past.
“These were the remains of the old structure that we decided to keep,” notes Siguenza. “They added an interesting challenge, as we had to embrace and workaround them.” Across the hall, Rosen created a haven for her daughter, Talia, whose en-suite bath features a soaking tub within the glass shower area.
Just a few steps up is the master suite. “I wanted something light, happy, subdued, luxurious, and romantic,” says Rosen. And, she has pulled it off with a sumptuous bathroom adjacent to her bedroom that boasts dueling eye candy: digital wallpaper by Phillip Jeffries behind the bed and hot pink and orange sunsets straight ahead.
Outside, Rosen chose Boral vertical siding, a sustainable product made in California to create a classic, clean look. And on the eastern façade, she hung a giant peace sign, custom made by Startup Steel. Alfredo’s team re-landscaped the property using the salvaged plants and created a terraced wall with graduated vintage curbstone steps that lead to the updated pool house.
“There are many important and exciting design elements and pieces in this house, but I allowed them to stand on their own. It was a much more organic type of project than I have done before. It’s like finally being comfortable in your own skin,” Rosen says. “This is by far my favorite house of all the homes I’ve lived in—and that’s quite a few!”