Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

A Trip to Bountiful

A Wilton Property Rich in History and Natural Beauty



Photo Rana Faure––Outdoor Tablescapes Courtesy of Open House

How did a die-hard New Yorker and a high-energy finance guy with little patience for DIY projects and a penchant for competitive archery, end up buying an antique house on Seir Hill Road in need of a lot of TLC? It all came down to an informal—but binding—verbal agreement the couple made when they got married. 

“We made a deal,” explains Tammy Ward, “that if I got pregnant, we’d move to the country. I was a city girl. I grew up in apartments and had lived in Manhattan for 20-plus years in a one-bedroom on the Upper East Side—which I loved. John, on the other hand, is a country boy at heart from Williamsburg, Virginia.”

The couple was living in New York but also renting a house in Wilton to be close to Alex and Kyle, John’s two sons from a former marriage. 

In her 30s, Tammy, who had previously worked as a technology recruiter, stumbled into a successful and lucrative career as a fit model, working for major brands such as Calvin Klein, Gap, and Champion. Life was god. Great even. But then it got even better when Tammy discovered she was pregnant. 

A deal was a deal so the couple began their real estate search in Wilton, Westport, and Weston. “This was the first house we saw,” says Tammy. “John didn’t love it because basically it was a disaster, but I could see the potential.” 

The overall structure was confused. Built in 1878, the original dwelling was a classic farmhouse, with approximately 1,500 square feet of living space. In the 1950s, a dining room was added. In the 60s a lower family room addition was built, followed by a new kitchen, foyer, and second floor build in the ’90s, with three more bedrooms and two baths bringing the house total to 5,000 square feet. 

The décor throughout was tired. “Every single room was covered in peeling floral wallpaper,” says John. “All I saw was dollar signs and construction but I loved the property because it was flat enough for me to practice archery.” For Tammy, it was all about the massive oak tree in the backyard. “That tree sold me,” she says. “I immediately envisioned pushing my daughter on a tire swing. I also loved the porch. It was the perfect spot for lunch, afternoon tea, or dinner in the summertime.”

There were a lot of pros about the property, but also a long list of cons, so the couple kept looking. Another contender, a new build on Powder Horn Hill, was tempting but ultimately, the lack of a swimming pool and  professional landscaping deterred them. 

After seeing 15 potential houses, the Seir Hill property finally won them over. “It had the yard and the bones,” says Tammy. “We figured we could paint the walls, live in it for a while, and then figure out how to make it ours.”

And they did exactly that. The wallpaper came down and every surface was repainted. But Tammy, who was busy taking care of their young daughter Zoe, had no experience renovating a house. Enter Joss Citrone of Sheridan Interiors who helped the Wards define their vision. Like many redecorating projects, it all started with one room and the scope expanded from there. The formal parlor at the front of the house was being used solely for storage. John had become passionate about collecting bourbon and wanted a place to relax and showcase his 300-bottle collection. Once that room was transformed into a cozy bar and lounge, the dining room looked like it needed some attention too. Design plans for the kitchen, foyer, master bedroom, and living room followed. 

“Here in the living room we had dated olive green couches, an old Persian carpet, and a metal coffee table. It was a total mish-mash of discards,” says Tammy.  Now, it’s a sophisticated space with contemporary furnishings and a neutral palette of ivory and blue echoed throughout the house. 

After painting the solid wood kitchen cabinetry a warm white, adding new appliances, countertops, and fixtures, the kitchen has now become Tammy’s favorite room. “I love to cook so I basically live in the kitchen. I make jellies, jams, salsa, and tomato sauce and preserve the veggies that John grows. I can be in the center of it all. It is really the heart of our home.”

John favors the bourbon parlor room. “I leave for work at 6:15 a.m. and am not typically home until 8:30 p.m. My job is demanding and stressful so I want to relax. This is a space to unwind and catch up with Tammy.”

The couple has spent just as much time and expense on landscaping the exterior as they have on refurbishing the interior. After living in the house for about a year, John’s then 17-year-old son, Alex, noticed a small garden behind the garage that was completely overgrown. “He suggested that we go buy some plants and put them in, so we did.” Soon, John was hooked. “Because I can’t do anything small, I had our landscaper put in 600 square foot garden with raised beds. I went crazy with all the varieties of peppers, tomatoes, and asparagus, so I had another 15-by-15 foot garden installed for squash, pumpkins, watermelon, and zucchini.

But that wasn’t enough for this gentleman farmer. “One of my friends mentioned that beehives would double my yield of vegetables,  so I had two beehives installed and in the first year, we harvested 80 pounds of honey.”  

For outdoor entertaining, the couple doubled the patio square footage and created a sumptuous outdoor living room with a seating area, dining table, and water feature. Vibrantly colored flowers bloom throughout the property all summer long making the space even more magical. 

And Tammy got her wish. At the very back of the beautiful two-acre property stands the gracious 75 year-old maple tree, with an oversize tire swing where six-year-old Zoe loves to swing, long hair flying, as she is gently pushed by her mother.

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

               

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Wilton Out & About - May/June

Wilton 25 of 2018

The Most Dedicated, Most Creative, Most Intriguing

Art of It: Peaceful Forest

From Wilton to Wanaka

How a local girl met her future husband halfway around the world

Dear Mimi––our NEW advice column

The advice you never knew you wanted

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

May 2018

SilverSource – the leading resource for older adults and their families– announced today that it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 SilverSource Awards.  The awards...

Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

Wednesdays, April 4 through May 23 @1pm ​Grief is invisible and often misunderstood. It can be a profoundly isolating and lonely experience. Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

SilverSource – the leading resource for older adults and their families– announced today that it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 SilverSource Awards.  The awards...

Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

Wednesdays, April 4 through May 23 @1pm ​Grief is invisible and often misunderstood. It can be a profoundly isolating and lonely experience. Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

SilverSource – the leading resource for older adults and their families– announced today that it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 SilverSource Awards.  The awards...

Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

Wednesdays, April 4 through May 23 @1pm ​Grief is invisible and often misunderstood. It can be a profoundly isolating and lonely experience. Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

SilverSource – the leading resource for older adults and their families– announced today that it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 SilverSource Awards.  The awards...

Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

Wednesdays, April 4 through May 23 @1pm ​Grief is invisible and often misunderstood. It can be a profoundly isolating and lonely experience. Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

SilverSource – the leading resource for older adults and their families– announced today that it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 SilverSource Awards.  The awards...

Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

SilverSource – the leading resource for older adults and their families– announced today that it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 SilverSource Awards.  The awards...

Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

Kick off your Memorial Day weekend with family fun under the stars with a FREE showing of the animated movie “Ferdinand” (rated PG) on Friday, May 25th at Jesse Lee Memorial United...

Cost: Free movie, food is for purchase

Where:
Jesse Lee Church
207 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 120-343-85992
Contact Name: Jen Mulhern
Website »

More information

The event, L.O.L. Love of Languages, will be a celebration of world languages and culture, and will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Foran High School cafeteria and courtyard. Teachers Pam...

Cost: Free

Where:
Foran High School
80 Foran Rd
Milford, CT  06460
View map »


Website »

More information

With his unique blend of Blues and Americana, Keb Mo has garnered four Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Blues and Best Country/Acoustic Blues Albums plus five more nominations for Blues,...

Cost: $48-$88

Where:
Tarrytown Music Hall
13 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

The Pirelli World Challenge series serves up races from all 7 car classes from the Big Dogs (Cadillacs, Bentley’s, Lomborghinis & Porches) to the TC class of Mustangs and BMW 228is, and...

Cost: $60

Where:
Lime Rock Park
60 White Hollow Rd
Lakeville , CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The US any Blue Angels headline the Jones Beach 15th Annual Memorial Day Weekend Air Show. Plus The Royal Canadian Air Force Snow Birds, the F22 Raptor the Air Force’s newest fighter...

Cost: Free

Where:
Jones Beach
895 Bay Pkwy
Wantagh, NY  11793
View map »


Website »

More information

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

SilverSource – the leading resource for older adults and their families– announced today that it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 SilverSource Awards.  The awards...

Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

Oil paintings by Carol Brightman Johnson will be on display at the Smithy Store Loft Gallery from May 25 to July 7. Hours: daily from 10:00 to 5:30 Subjects include horses, dogs, orchids,...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Smithy Store Loft Gallery
10 Main St.
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy Store Loft Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

More information

A Benefit For Veterans Featuring exclusive footage of edisun on tour with US Armed Forces. 2005-2018 6PM doors 7PM Film and Musical Performance

Cost: $10.00

Where:
Wall Street Theater
71 Wall Street
Norwalk, CT  06850
View map »


Sponsor: Wall Street Theater
Telephone: 203-283-5290
Contact Name: Jeanne Moore
Website »

More information

The Pirelli World Challenge series serves up races from all 7 car classes from the Big Dogs (Cadillacs, Bentley’s, Lomborghinis & Porches) to the TC class of Mustangs and BMW 228is, and...

Cost: $60

Where:
Lime Rock Park
60 White Hollow Rd
Lakeville , CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

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