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Winter Sale


Take advantage of savings on a broad selection of famous brand name furniture, unique imports, upholster y and oriental rugs.







The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.

February 2008

SONO OUTLET SALE OPENS to the public, FRIDAY February 15th at 10 AM Over 4 Million dollars of our top quality Home Furnishings and Accessories at OUTRAGEOUS prices.

Nothing will be held back! Up to 80% off. Never before have we put prices like these on our top quality home furnishings and accessories! We are practically giving away sofas, sectionals, dining tables, chairs, rugs, art work, lamps, antiques, linens and more‌. AND, we will be re-stocking daily, so visit early & often to get the best choices, the best selection! PLUS -- NO Payments, NO Interest for 6 months to qualified buyers with our Lillian August credit card.

203-838-0153 • February 2008

The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.



HOME Monthly


FEATURES Home sweat home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Up-to-date on Compo Road . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Falling in love again . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A perfect match . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Romantic bedroom makeovers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A venerable antiques show . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



DEPARTMENTS Shopping with Fran . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Cookbook Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-7 Construction Queen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-9 Interior Insights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10-11 Into the Garden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Home Moaner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20-21 Home of the Month . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26-27 Away from Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40-41 Racking One’s Brain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44-45 Window on Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46-47 Homebodies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50-51 Cover: Home of the Month in Weston.







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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.

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February 2008


Discovered: Valentine gifts, designer ski wear and more by Fran Sikorski

Sweet Pierre’s, the little red-brick candy cottage on Danbury Road (route 35), purchased by Jim and Nancy Saxe of Wilton in September 2006, is well-stocked with high-end truffles and chocolates for Valentine’s Day, with more to come for Easter, March 23, and Mother’s Day, May 11. Nancy, former manager of a retail clothing store, is enjoying owning her own business, and has added new chocolate lines to her stock. One of the most unusual truffles is Smokey Blue, which is made with Roquefort cheese. Sweet Pierre’s 3 Danbury Road Ridgefield, 203-431-9022 10 to 5 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 10 to 6 Thursday, closed Sunday

See Shopping page 19

Fran Sikorski photo

With less snow in January, I hit the trail in Ridgefield. My first stop was to introduce myself to Nancy Saxe, the new owner of Sweet Pierre’s candy shop. Then I visited Carol Everett who, with her daughter Paige Johns, owns the lovely gift shop BellaHome; they are celebrating the fourth anniversary of their shop. Also, there was a “surprise” stop at Ancona Designs (not the food market, but related) to meet clothing designer Charles Ancona, who designs and manufactures clothing in Manhattan, and has a small showroom in Ridgefield now featuring high-fashion ski wear. Most likely, Charles will be there on weekends to share his design strategy with you. I lucked out as he was there, and I learned a lot about his clothing designs, including a slimming and provocative dress line. So, now onto the details of what these talented people offer.

Sweet Pierre’s, heavenly truffles.

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February 2008

The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.



Dessert your favorite? This one’s for you! by Susan Miller MEXICAN CHOCOLATE SOUP WITH CINNAMON TOASTS

Pure Dessert ($35, illustrated, Artisan Publishers) is pure joy, and author Alice Medrich is a dessert diva. Reading through, you want to make almost every recipe, page after beautifully photographed page. Her approach is minimalist in the extreme. She strives to highlight the pure flavor of simple ingredients, which results in short but exacting ingredient lists. There are no prepared or processed helpers, no canned frosting or squeeze-bottle toppings. This is pure, simple, elegant, madefrom-scratch alchemy. You won’t find duplicates of these recipes in other cookbooks. Simple ingredients are brought together in unusual ways and consequently need no elaborate frostings, complicated fillings or glazes. That said, her Vodka Truffles (in the Flavors of Wine, Beer and Spirits section) do have a chocolate glaze and look like jewels in a showcase.

Art Gallery

This would be lovely for Valentine’s Day. 10-12 ounces Mexican chocolate (or other high-quality chocolate) 4 cups water 6 small scoops vanilla-bean or plain vanilla ice cream A double recipe of Tropical Cinnamon Toasts In a medium saucepan, melt the chocolate with 1 cup of the water over medium heat, whisking until it is dissolved. Stir in the remaining water, and whisk to a boil. Cover and set aside until ready to serve, or up to several hours. When ready to serve, reheat the soup and whisk until frothy. Place a scoop of ice cream in the center of 6 shallow soup bowls. Ladle the hot soup around the ice cream. Garnish with the cinnamon toasts and serve immediately. Serves 5-6. excerpted from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich, Artisan Publishers

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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.

February 2008

In Medrich’s book, the essential flavors of milk, butter, cream, chocolate, or fresh cheese should shine through on their own. This can fall flat if your ingredients aren’t top quality. Most have the familiar butter, sugar, eggs, etc., but you might want to stock up on lavender, chestnut flour, specialty sugars, and whole-grain flours, and find a source for local or artisan, not supermarket, ricotta. Quality chocolate also is essential; Medrich authored several chocolate cookbooks and ran a shop called Cocolat. It’s her passion. She gives the best explanation of cacao nibs I’ve ever come across. Nibs are chocolate essence – chopped-up roasted beans – and now a trendy ingredient, used much as nuts are. Medrich has a whimsical but totally unhelpful way of classifying her recipes. It’s non-intuitive for this reader, at least. They are arranged not by type (cakes, cookies, candies, syrups, frozen desserts, etc.) but by theme, such as The Flavors of Fruit or The Flavors of Grains, Nuts and Seeds. For example, we


find Lavender Tuiles, a cookie, in the section poetically entitled The Flavors of Herbs, Spices, Flowers and Leaves, which also has a difficult lavender caramel sauce and vanilla caramel candies. In The Flavors of Sugar and Honey, you could put just about any recipe. It’s easier to go straight to the index; the chapters are poetic but make no sense. If the informative commentary wasn’t printed in pale gray on a difficult-toread pallid-lavender background, it would be more helpful. Topics such as Why Bother? explain why homemade is so much better than anything purchased, and why it’s always worth the effort ... yes, we should make it. Whole grains also appear, and she explains why and how they work well in the right recipes, such as the very buttery Whole Wheat Sables or the pound cake made with Kamut flour. Tag the Chilled Oranges in Rum Caramel Syrup – just three ingredients but with a lovely flavor and presentation. Panforte Nero is her beautifully spiced, cocoa-enriched version of the Sienese fruit-and-nut confection that keeps for months. It’s one of the easier recipes. Her directions are clear, explicit and detailed; she is a perfectionist, and wants her readers to achieve perfection. If you read through carefully and practice, it’s almost better than attending cooking classes – no one will see your mistakes. ■

4-6 fresh or slightly stale baguette slices, sliced on the diagonal up to 1 inch thick and 6 inches long for maximum drama 2 tablespoons firmly packed raw sugar, or brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened Pinch of salt Place the bread on a baking sheet and preheat the broiler with rack 4-5 inches from the heating element. Mix sugar, cinnamon, butter, and salt together. Spread on the bread. Broil until edges of the bread are dark brown and sugar is bubbly. Serve at once.









excerpted from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich, Artisan Publishers

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Take a walk on the warm side by Diane Slovak

Q: We are going to remodel our master bathroom which has high ceilings. How do we keep it warm and not let all the heat rise to the top of the room? Would heat lamps do the trick? A: Heat lamps might be one way of approaching your too cool bathroom, but they have a kind of chicken-hatchery look. Take a walk on the warm side and consider installing radiant heat in your floor. Radiant heat keeps your toes toasty and feels delicious stepping out of the shower. Without a heated floor, tile or stone flooring can be as enticing as an icy dip in the Arctic Sea. Radiant floor heat is hardly new. Ancient Romans warded off the cold in palaces and public buildings by channeling hot water beneath marble floors. In the early 20th century, radiant heat with metal coils came into vogue with Frank Lloyd Wright, who favored it to design vent-free rooms. New materials and technology have made radiant heat very reliable and it will use 20% to 30% less energy than a conventional heating system. The remarkable thing about radiant heat is that it seems to defy physics: Hot air rises, as with hot-water-baseboard and forced-hot-air systems. Hot air weighs

Control. Convenience . Luxur y.

less than cold so it will rise, making your head feel warm and your feet chilly – hardly a recipe for cozy comforts. But with radiant heat, the entire floor acts as a radiator and keeps the air warm down low, keeping your feet warm and head cool, which is exactly what makes people comfortable. So place it under your tile, stone or wood floor and say adios to feeling like your bathroom is an annex of the Polar Bear Club. Q: I am remodeling my daughter’s bathroom using 12-inch-square ceramic tiles on the countertops. The tile installer refused to use the same ones in the shower. He is afraid that water will soak through and cause the tiles to fall off. Any thoughts? A: Perhaps your tile installer has had past problems with the type of tile you have chosen and is being very cautious. The notion that “tile is tile” is not true. There are floor tiles, countertop tiles, decorative tiles and so forth. The last thing a contractor wants is a hysterical phone call at 2 a.m. saying the tiles have sailed off into the sunset. It’s true that if moisture migrates through grout it can soften up the glue (known as mastic) beneath the tiles, causing them to reduce their grip. Ask the installer if there is another type of glue epoxy he would recommend, or if he can use “thin-set” mortar blended with a latex-modified mixing additive. Thin-set is durable, relatively inexpensive, easy to apply, and is strong and impervious to moisture. Applied to cement backer-board, it will hold any tile you are planning to use, even if you choose to tile the ceiling or shower circus elephants in your bathroom. Diane Slovak is a licensed contractor with the state of Connecticut and owner of Innovative Concepts in Design. Send your questions to Diane at ■

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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.

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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.



Matchmaker, matchmaker ... find me a designer by Ann Sample Lineberger I’m sitting in a dark room watching a slide show in a stylish Gramercy Park apartment. Vastly different interiors flash on the screen. Karen Fisher, the owner of Designer Previews, an interior designer and client matchmaker, is running what she calls a “designer Rorschach test.” She wants to know my responses. “Too sterile,” I say about the severe, contemporary spaces. “Too layered, too fussy,” I say about the traditional spaces. I prefer the clean look of the transitional spaces she shows me, which meld the two opposing styles. Based on my answers, Karen adapts the slide show. My responses grow more positive as she shows more interiors that I like. Now that she has determined my general style, Karen asks me to elaborate on my comments. There are many types of transitional, and she needs to pinpoint my preferences. The slide show ends and Karen excuses herself to retrieve three designer portfolios from her library of over 300. She returns and hands me the first one. She senses my skepticism and smiles. Despite Karen’s reputation, I have my doubts. Is it possible to make this kind of a match after one short meeting? I’m

there to find out for an article I plan to write about her. I open the portfolio and see a picture of an interior I know very well. “That’s Caroline Hirsch’s summer home,” I blurt out. “It was designed by Glenn Gissler. It’s one of my favorite homes.” I’m stunned and leaf through the portfolio seeing other images of the home as well as additional projects Gissler completed. During the slide show, I hadn’t recognized any of his work and didn’t know she represented him. “I am such a fan of Gissler,” I say, feeling oddly exposed. “How could you possibly have known?” Karen laughs. She must hear this kind of response a lot. I tell Karen that I have admired Gissler’s work since 1995, the year the Hirsch home was featured in House & Garden. As a researcher at the magazine, I was assigned to fact-check the article. I liked the home’s design so much that I kept a copy of the article’s proof, and its opening spread hangs in my office. I jokingly ask her when she snuck into my home and saw it. Karen Fisher in her Gramercy Park apartment.

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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.

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My meeting with Karen took place about 10 years ago. I have seen her since but share this story because it is so telling of her ability to read clients, as well as her skill at picking designers to represent. At the time Gissler, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, designed the interiors of the Hirsch home (Francis Fleetwood was its architect), he was relatively young. The style of the Hirsch home has since become one of the most popular styles in residential interior design. Gissler says it was based on the 19th century Arts and Crafts style. The floors are stained a deep Jacobean, the walls are parchment or cream in color and the fabrics are rich yet muted. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s filled with an eclectic collection of dark wood antiques. The strong contrast between the homeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dark and light tones as well as the interesting furniture creates a quiet, appealing drama. Color is introduced by way of oil paintings and other accessories. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an elegant yet informal and forgiving style that appeals to many. Countless designers have copied it, and popular retailers such as Restoration Home and Pottery Barn have brought it to the masses. Karen is frequently referred to as a â&#x20AC;&#x153;design psychologist.â&#x20AC;? As my experience with her demonstrated, she is skilled at matching stylistically. To do her job well, she must be equally skilled at matching personalities. Other considerations are budgets and time frames. If I had been a real client, I would have left the meeting with the names and numbers of three interior designers. It would be up to me to contact them on my own. For those who donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have access to New York, Karen conducts her slide show over the Internet, coupled with a telephone conversation. See Interior Insights page 49



A room designed by Jamie Drake, one of the over 300 design professionals Karen Fisher represents.






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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.



Proseeding to spring by Donna Clark Valentine’s Day is here, and in one more month we can think about planting the peas. For now, though, it’s time to order seeds and plants and dream of warmer days. If only there were as much time in May as there seems to be in February. The Perennial Plant Association has named Geranium Rozanne the 2008 perennial plant of the year. I’ve used this plant for several years and can give you a couple of hints on growing it. They claim that it thrives in full sun or partial shade, but I would not plant it in partial shade because it gets lanky and does not form the 20inch-high by 24-inch-wide mound that it does in full sun.

This geranium has large jewel-tone violetblue flowers and needs moist, well-drained soil. If it spreads too far you can easily trim it back. Another tip is to use it near delphinium, oriental poppy or another perennial that dies back in the middle of summer and just let it cover the space. When I first started gardening in Ridgefield (25-plus years ago), I worked for several ladies of the garden club. They all loved pink petunias and at that time it was almost impossible to get the petunias to continue much past July. Oh how I hated deadheading those sticky pink petunias. Now we have Vista Bubblegum petunia that just thrives all summer, with only a little trimming back – that’s right, no more deadheading petunias!

Some day I would like to write a book about those days and call it The Ladies of the Club. But I think I’ll need to wait until I move from here, especially if it is a tell-all. One good memory is serving tea to a movie star while she was sunning by the pool. No, I was not a waitress, just the gardener who was called into service – I didn’t mind at all. Campanula Glomerata Joan Elliot is an excellent perennial that I have planted along the path through my garden. It blooms in June for about three weeks, but it does have one bad habit. When it finishes blooming, it will die back to the ground and will not send up new foliage until August. The color is deep violet-blue and it grows See Into the Garden page 14

Donna Clark photos

Campanula Glomerata Joan Elliot outlines a pathway.


The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.

February 2008

Thinking of moving to Virginia? Simply the Best Williamsburg Offerings Included...

Updated c. 1850 Eastern Shore home on 80 acres with 2,900 ft of waterfront and Cheapeake Bay view. Wonderful colonial interiors with modern conveniences. Become a Virginia squire for $3,700,000

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8,170 sf on 1.08 acre overlooking pond. Massive great hall, banquet sized DR, gourmet kitchen, media room, library, 12 car tandem load garage and much more. Exceptional offering at $1,850,000

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B&B turnkey sale includes furnishings, website, base book of business. Three rentable suites and one chamber room. Classic colonial interiors, 6 fireplaces, spacious innkeepers quarters with private sunroom. $1,225,200

A rare opportunity to build your dream home on .526 acre lot with unobstructed views of James River and golf course. In one of Williamsburg’s finest secured communities offering golf, full-service marina and more. $1,125,000

Don’t miss this 4,500+ sf golf course gem on 1.18 very private acres. 4 BR with main floor master wing. Gourmet kitchen opens to spacious informal dining area and family room. Multiple upgrades and extras. $825,000

Golf and water view! 4,500 sf, 4 BR includes main floor master with walk-in closet of your dreams. Dining room, gourmet kitchen, all-season sunroom, LR, vaulted family room, wonderfully bright interiors. $799,900

Lush architectural details, 4 BR, 3.5 BA, eat-in kitchen, LR, DR, Family Room & office. Exceptional millwork and built-ins, 4 fireplaces. Secured community with full service marina, golf and more. $699,000

2,960 gem with 4 BR including main floor master, LR, DR, eat-in kitchen, vaulted Family Room, unfinished 2nd floor for bonus room plus roughedin bath, too many extras to include here. $639,000

3,189 sf golf course gem. Duplex with 3 BR, 3.5 BA, LR, DR, all-season sunroom. Fabulous gourmet kitchen, large Loft can serve as office, library or game room. Exquisite finishes and details. $539,900

Immaculate 2,632 sf home’s neutral decorating awaits your personal touches. 4 BR, LR, Family and Bonus rooms, spacious eat-in kitchen. Upgrades throughout. Private rear yard with brick patio. $389,000

Former model home includes many upgrades. 3 BR, 2.5 BA includes main floor master with spa bath and custom closet. Well equipped eat-in stainless kitchen. Easy access to major highways. $367,900

Lovely 2028 sf triplex offers Living Room with FP, Dining Room, 3 BR with main floor master, 2.5 baths. Deck overlooks very private rear yard, attached garage. $276,000

Linda Molvar, Associate Broker Marketing Distinctive Homes February 2008


2 BR, 2.5 bath corner unit with in move-in condition. Great Room, Family Room, Kitchen with walk-in pantry, convenient second floor laundry. Investor unit barely lived in. $242,000

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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.


Into the Garden continued from page 12 15 to 18 inches tall. This is an excellent cut flower that can be grown in full sun or partial shade. Pinky Winky is another new hydrangea that blooms on new wood. I planted one of these shrubs last year and am eagerly waiting to see the blooms. They should be pure white when new and age to a deep pink at the base of the bloom. Blooms can reach 12 to 16 inches in length, about double the size of Limelight hydrangea. This is another Proven Winners ColorChoice variety and has very strong, upright stems that support the large blooms without flopping over like the common old standard Pee Gee. This is not a tree but a shrub that will grow six to eight feet tall and 10 feet wide in full sun or partial shade. It blooms regardless of climate, soil, pH, or pruning. There was a good tip to prevent powdery mildew on phlox in the January/ February issue of Fine Gardening, and I will be sure to try it this year. When the plants are 14 inches tall, thin by pinching off the stems, leaving about two inches of space between them. Then, to allow more airflow, run your fingers down each remaining stem, stripping the leaves off the lower six inches. The bottom leaves usually turn yellow anyway.

Carrot seeds are among the first ones I plant. I do a wide bed with about three rows of seeds. Reduce time-consuming thinning by buying pelleted seeds. I still plant them closer than suggested because I like to pull baby carrots early in the summer. With pelleted seeds, you can actually see the seeds and plant them one at a time. My favorite varieties are Mokum, Bolero, Sugarsnax, and Vitana, and they all come from Johnny’s Seeds ( I plant all the carrots at the same time in early April, except for the seeds I save for another planting in June. Weeds are not too much of a problem if you scuff them early when they are just coming up.

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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.

February 2008

Another article in Fine Gardening concerned the garden fashionista. It refers to all the fancy gardening clothes being sold. My best advice is to wear something comfortable and old. This summer I got a red stain all over my shirt, which I can trace back to the deadheading of a large red dahlia when it was wet. Rose thorns tend to tear your pants or shirt, and if you don’t wear waterproof shoes or boots, you will have wet feet and your shoes will fall apart. February is the month to prune your blueberries (apples, too), so pick a warm, sunny day and get out there with your pruner. I have a new client in Redding who inherited what could be called a state-of-the-art blueberry patch – there are about 20 mature bushes with fencing around and over them. I was there planting tulips in a cutting garden and the client asked why those blueberries didn’t have berries. The answer is that they had not been pruned in years and were actually in the process of dying. We will work on them this month by cutting the old gray stems to the ground. Unfortunately, on these plants there may not be much left, but the new canes will come back and in another year there will be blueberries. You should have four to seven stems per bush, and be careful not to prune the newer ones, because the fruit forms on the new growth from the year before. They also need to be fed in the spring, but don’t add lime since the pH should be low. The latest green idea is vertical farming. Some developer in Vegas is planning to spend $200 million to build a 30-story high-rise greenhouse. It’s designed to be both a functional working “farm,” producing enough food to feed 72,000 people a year, while also serving as a tourist attraction. The project could open by 2010. I think the only vertical farming I’ll be doing is peas and beans on a fence. Questions or comments: ■ Carrots herald the beginning of a new season.





New England Artisan’s Remodeling & Design Group, LLC 35 September Lane, Weston CT 06883

Phone 203.227.3663 February 2008

Fax: 203.298.9051

The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.


Home sweat home

HOUSE WORKOUTS GAIN IN POPULARITY by Tim Murphy A few years ago, a friend asked me if I could help him move something. It was a bulky treadmill, prehistoric by today’s streamlined standards, that he and his wife wanted to relocate from their bedroom to the basement. For the first three months they had the machine, they used it on a nearly daily basis – he while listening to music on headphones, she while watching television. The $600 they spent buying the treadmill seemed a sturdy and salubrious investment. But then their interest waned. Boredom replaced fascination, and the treadmill become a repository for coats and hats and magazines rather than calories. Unused, it was reduced to eyesore and clutter. To the basement it went. Their story is familiar enough to classify as suburban ritual. Most of us know people who have gotten inspired to work out at home, purchased equipment, used it feverishly for a while, and then stopped. Some of us have been those people. Nevertheless, home workouts are something of a hot exercise trend. In 2006, 25.7 million Americans worked out in a home gym, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, which uses the term to describe a designated exercise room or a space with one or more exercise machines. That is a 30% increase from 2000.

Almost 33% of new-home buyers cite a home exercise room as essential or desirable, according to the National Association of Home Builders. And a 2006 Home Design Trends Survey by the American Institute of Architects lists exercise or fitness rooms behind only home offices and home theaters as the most popular special-function rooms. The surge in interest is understandable: Home gyms have a lot going for them. Among the most enticing variables are cost and convenience. For under $500, one can buy enough basics (dumbbells, adjustable bench, step machine, fitness ball, exercise mat) to get a decent workout at home. That’s less than you’ll pay for a year at many gyms. Besides, you can work out whenever you want, without having to drive anywhere. You can do biceps curls before you brush your teeth or triceps kickbacks before you go to bed. This is a gym that never closes. There are also no waits for equipment, no invasions of privacy and no reasons to put up with crummy teen-pop played at the sound of airplane engines. And if there’s a sweat spot on the equipment, at least it’s yours. Upgrades are also available. For another $500 to $4,000, you can add a multi-station machine to incorporate more exercises. Look around and you can also find good deals on used treadmills, elliptical machines and stationary bikes. Before long you can charge others to come use your gym.

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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.

February 2008

One thing though: Home gyms aren’t for everyone. The main predictor for whether someone will stick with an exercise program is motivation. And that can be harder to find at home, where there are chores to be tackled, e-mails to be read and television to be watched. The gym might be a room away, but that doesn’t mean you will get there. “Some people join a gym for a year and go four or five times. Others buy all this equipment for their house and quit after a month,” said a trainer in Stamford, who asked to remain anonymous. “The key is to find what’s right for you. What’s going to keep you from getting bored? For some people, the gym is better because they see other people working out and they get inspired. But other people get intimidated when they first join and they drop out quickly. You have to think about what’s going to work better for you.” Along those lines, trainers and other fitness professionals recommend that people do some soul searching and research before deciding whether to join a gym or create their own at home. One easy step is to try several clubs (many offer a free trial) and compare them based on a variety of factors, such as clientele, classes, amount and condition of machines and

equipment, helpfulness of staff, and availability of amenities, including basketball court, pool, sauna, whirlpool, etc. “A lot of it is a gut feeling,” said the trainer. “You want to pick a club that you’re going to feel comfortable going to. A lot of people go to one place, take a tour and then sign up, without having ever worked out there.” If the primary advantages (more equipment and exercise options) of belonging to a gym outweigh the cost and convenience of working out at home, then a club membership might be the better option. But if a home gym will hold your interest, and flexibility and privacy are important, then setting up a workout area in your house could be the answer. “The question to ask is, where will you will feel more motivated?” said the trainer. “You want to guard against boredom. Once people get bored exercising they lose interest. It can happen at the gym or at home. But when it happens the result is the same: The exercise program stops.” And the treadmill goes to the basement. ■

Spring Island. A magnificent place between two of the South’s most magnificent cities.

We are right in the heart of the Carolina Lowcountry, 40 minutes north of Savannah, 90 minutes south of Charleston. The property is so spectacular, back in 1991 Arnold Palmer was reluctant to put a golf course on it. Nature gets top priority here -over one-third of the island is a nature preserve maintained by four full-time naturalists. Palmer did do the course and it is considered

his best. All the other amenities that make us competitive with any other development are in place. And the island is far from being overly developed. Fewer than 400 property owners share 3,000-acres of maritime forest and 3,500-acres of marshland. Spring Island is the first of its kind. And it appears to be the last of its kind. For a grand look at all we have to offer, click on our website. For the best time of your life, you can’t find a better place.

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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.

February 2008

Shopping continued from page 5 “Everyone loves Bridgewater Chocolates assortments,” said Nancy. She also carries Godiva and Joseph Schmidt truffles, Lilliebelle and Mariebelle chocolates and more. Chocolates are not just for holiday giving. Year-round gifts are always a surprise. Nancy also makes beautiful custom sympathy and get-well baskets, and, surprise! she also sells a delicious gelato.

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Carol Everett and her daughter, Paige, feature gifts, accessories and darling children’s BellaHome clothing. Carol said, “We learned a lot in the 90 Danbury Road (Route 35) business and have enjoyed meeting so many Ridgefield, 203-438-6400 10 to 5 Monday to Saturday lovely people.” Mother and daughter have just returned from the accessory show in New York, and spring and summer items will be arriving soon. Monogramming is also offered here. I admired an assortment of special Valentine’s Day gifts, and one gift, Dozen Roses Candle, has been particularly popular this year, according to Carol, who has also increased their shop’s fashion items to include jewelry, hair accessories and watches. Gold jewelry is popular this year, and soft, warm cashmere shawls are a “must have” year-round. Among traditional gifts are handsome needlepoint pillows, a new line of engraved silver frames and crystal, golf gifts for men, and attractive hostess gifts,

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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.



Blarney Rubble by Ben Guerrero


■ ■ ■


Award Winning Builder & Fairfield County Builder of the Year

tured Irish fiddler Martin Hayes at the Fairfield Theater Company (if it isn’t an intentional plug it should be). We went to see this bowmaster last year, based on a chance meeting Melissa had had with the man. I am not a giant fan of Irish music, but I am an under-

Ben Guerrero



As an amateur musician at one point in my life, accustomed to playing my banjo along with another person playing guitar, I learned what happens when two musicians play together after an extended period of time. If you practice and play enough, a type of synergy forms, and, after a while, you don’t even have to open your mouth to have a conversation. Melissa and I are busy people and because we are busy, we don’t really “keep” house. This old, drafty, oversized orange crate has become a place where we stop from time to time to sleep, look inside the refrigerator and monitor our overflowing collections of junk. In late December, a week before the big, silly holiday, I got a month off. This was the four weeks where I was going to do everything I had put off for the previous 14. As you read this, I am somewhere in a hospital, clad in faded scrubs, squirting a small puddle of Purell into my palm for the millionth time. Melissa might be driving to or from Wesleyan, over in Middletown, chipping away at her master’s degree. We are going full blast. During January, I did not go to New York to buy a new hat, nor did I clean out the garage. I didn’t organize my papers or get rid of some books. I did not collect and return all of the pharmaceutical advertising pens that I have, one by one, absentmindedly carried home from the clinic. But during the scramble to fill the stockings toward the end of last year, Melissa got the brilliant idea of inviting her whole family over for dinner and out to a concert. Part of the brilliance of this idea was that the concert fea-

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standing husband (plus she had gone to see Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks with me a few weeks earlier and was a good sport), so I gladly went, got a water, and sat myself down in the intimate venue. Hayes and his partner, guitarist Dennis Cahill, came out on the stage and arranged themselves on a pair of creaky chairs. They began to play, very quietly at first, a dirge-like jig that consisted of two parts played over and over. I was skeptical. Quick to squirm, I looked at my watch, had a sip of water, put my arm around my wife, and smiled lovingly. In a few minutes, the skin on my face was taut and my thinning hair was blown back. The musicians spun each other into a trance, Hayes sawing like he was channeling a demon, Cahill strumming in counterpoint. The energy rose to a point where it felt as if the folding chair under me had lifted. It was almost scary. And just when I started to think they had reached a previously unreachable height of synergized musical mayhem, the duo cranked it up by at least five exponents, playing in perfect unison as if one’s brain was hard-wired to the other’s. As a rule, each song was a combination of three ancient Celtic reels, and the lads knew when the song was about to change by some telepathic communication. When they stopped, usually on a dime, they both stopped on the exact same dime, and, for just the shortest fraction of a moment, the crowd was silent, exhaling en masse their collective long-held breaths, before exploding into rapturous applause. Phew.

Speaking of phew, if we were going to have company to the house then we were going to have to do something about the piles of Sunday Times and legions of dust bunnies, allied with the cobwebs, forming rudimentary central nervous systems preparing to enter the food chain. Once evolved, these undulating, cat-hair-based pseudopods seem to subsist on dust mites, fingernail parings and the cashew crumbs that fall under my desk while I write this column. As previously averred, neither of us is domesticated, so the task at hand is frightening. The mere concept of dividing up tasks can be detrimental to our See Home Moaner page 32

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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.


Shopping continued from page 19 such as a Bella Cucina Artful Food sun-dried-tomato spread with its own wooden spatula. Can’t wait to see what Carol and Paige will be showing at BellaHome for spring and summer! In a compact space in a white building at the junction of Routes 102 and 7, Charles Ancona Design Showroom Ancona specializes in high-tech stretch fab54 Ethan Allen Highway (Route 7) Ridgefield, 203-544-8222 rics and close-to-the-body items of his own “Sketchy” weekday hours, design, and those of other designers, in jackWeekends always ets, pants, Thermasilk underwear, equestrian clothing, hats, gloves, polarized sunglasses, swimwear, sportswear, and other accessories he manufactures in New York City. Ancona Designs has been featured in top magazines. Other labels you will see are Hot Chillys, Smith Optics, Bolle, Serengeti, Turtle Fur, Ralph Lauren, and Bushnell. His concept is “Stay warm, look cool,” and the sportswear, with its DuPont Teflon wicking, has breathability and is warm and washable. Sportswear and dresses will replace ski wear in the summer. Custom design for all figures is also available. During my visit, Charles, who lives in Ridgefield and Manhattan, said he also does private-label design, creates a yachting collection, and has sold to Henri Bendel and Barneys. He has been at the Ridgefield showroom for 23 years. “I let people find me, and I have long-term customers,” he said.

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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.

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Although Charles received a college degree in business, he chose clothing design as a career, leaving the food-market business to his cousins. Shopping Shorts: Opening Jan. 25, The Guilded Nest at 51 Ethan Allen Highway, 203-544-8802, across from Ancona Design Showroom, features furniture, accessories, jewelry, gifts. More on the opening in the next column...Great time to add to ski wardrobes for men, women, and children with a sale at the Wilton Sport Shop, 426 Danbury Road (Route 7), 203-762-8631...Not easy to find, First Communion outfits are available at the Lollipop Shop, 374 Post Road East in Westport, 203221-0123. Have a shopping tip? E-mail it to or call 203-743-6572. ■

SILVERMINE SIGN STOLEN Last month, an iron sign reading “This is Silvermine” was stolen from North Seir Road. The Silvermine Community Association is asking for help in recovering the sign that marked one of the Silvermine boundaries. It is a replica of a historic sign created in the 1960s by the association to designate Silvermine’s borders. The recent installation of these replica signs is the culmination of a two-year fund-raiser by the association. “How could someone do this?” asked Peter Viteretto, chair of the committee responsible for the fabrication and installation. “The signs have no value to residents outside of Silvermine, and anyone who cares about Silvermine would never do something like this!” Sue Cruikshank, association president, said the group intends to press charges against the those responsible for the action, as well as those found with the sign in their possession. Please report any leads to the Norwalk Police, 854-3000. The reference case number is 08-830. Anonymous tips may be sent to the Silvermine Community Association c/o the Silvermine Tavern, 194 Perry Ave., Norwalk, CT 06850. For more information, call Peter Viteretto at 203-849-9826 or e-mail


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Up-to-date on Compo Road GOING SOLAR WITH A HISTORIC HOME by Mark Baxter

If you are considering the solarenergy alternative, first be sure your home is as energy efficient as possible by using Energy Star appliances, fluorescent lighting, better insulation, and updating your furnace and hotwater heater.

The horse-and-buggy came first. Then the Model T, the airplane, gas lighting, central heating, radio, television, and the Internet. Now, after 100 years on Westport’s Compo Road, this old yellow farmhouse continues to experience the latest technologies. It’s transforming its energy use without losing its original charm. Historical Green “There’s no reason not to take an old home and make it green,” said John Rountree. “In fact, there is no reason to avoid it.” John, his wife, Cheryl, and their two children moved into the inviting home just 12 years ago. He’s been a passionate solar advocate for most of his career, but John’s latest path down the solar road began with the discovery of the 2,000-square-foot house. In those dozen years of ownership, he and his wife have maintained the historic look and feel while adding 1,000 square feet of living space and upgrading plumbing, electrical and windows. “We’ve gone ‘green’ as much as humanly possible,” John says, pointing to the bamboo flooring and Energy Star appliances, and talking about how to use recycled cotton insulation. Old Sol The main character of this story, though, is found above the historic home, not inside it. On the roof, soon to sprout, are solar collectors that will generate power for a good portion of the home’s electrical and hot water needs. Going solar with an older home is something John had contemplated for some time. “We actually picked this home in part because of its nice south-facing exposure, which bring lots of sunshine to the pitched roof and southern windows. We knew the house had tremendous solar potential,” he said. The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF), established by Connecticut’s legislature, concurs, considering solar technology capable of providing much of a home’s electricity needs, whether the building is new or renovated.


The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.

An architect and solar consultant, John founded Westport Solar Consultants two years ago, and handles a considerable number of solar projects regionally, including the design for a large photovoltaic system at the Westport Fire Station. Now he’s applying that knowledge and years of experience to his own home.

Consider Solar “Solar is often considered in newer construction,” he said, “but applying it to an existing home requires answering some big questions early on.” From his own experience, those considerations include: The Roof “The pitch of the roof is critical,” he said. “For active solar, you should have a southfacing roof with a pitch of 35 to 40 degrees.” A pitch of that degree is not uncommon in this area, he says, as many roofs are pitched to shed heavy snows in winter. If the pitch or direction of the roof is not adequate, a ground installation can be considered, but these are not used nearly as much as roof-mounted systems. Energy Efficiency “Before starting down the solar path,” John said, “first make certain your home is as energy-efficient as possible.” That can include cutting down electrical loads by using Energy Star appliances, using fluorescent lighting, having an efficient furnace and hotwater heater, replacing older windows, and increasing insulation values to reduce heating requirements. The placement of windows on the south side, too, can help draw in the sun’s heat during winter days. The Site Is the lot itself treed? Do neighboring trees overhang the area? “Shading can be a problem if it’s on the south side, where the solar collectors will be,” John points out. “Even when the leaves are off, the shadows of the branches can sometimes reduce the amount of power the collectors produce.” New Efficiencies Solar was originally added to the Rountrees’ farmhouse in 1999. That early system supplied one-third of the family’s electrical needs, and often fed the grid with excess electricity generated on exceptionally sunny days. Early in 2008, the Rountrees are upgrading that first installation with a newer, more efficient system that will deliver 90% of their electricity, 80% of their hot water and some portion of their heat. In the new roof system, designed by the German company Schüco, the sheet of solar collectors actually becomes the roof itself on the south-facing side. As John explains it, the panels are attached to each other to create a watertight surface. The whole assembly is raised slightly to allow air circulation, which can help cool the panels. Typically, John said, the installation of the panels and inverter take from two days to a week to install. The inverter, about the size of a suitcase, sits inside the house near the February 2008

electrical panel and converts the energy from DC to AC, which then feeds into the mainservice panel. “This newer technology integrates the solar electric and the solar hot water into one system and will deliver 20% more power per square foot of surface than the earlier system we used,” John said. “The system should pay for itself within 15 years. If electricity rates continue to rise, as they likely will, then that payback will be faster.” Tax Credits

That payback takes into consideration the tax credits and rebates available for installing solar, John added. An average system, he said, may cost about $9 per watt, so the retail cost of a 5kW system is approximately $45,000. The rebate from CCEF is up to $5 per watt, based on system performance, and can account for up to half the retail cost. The CCEF guidelines make residential photovoltaic systems with capacities up to 10kW eligible for rebates. CCEF currently offers rebates through designated participating installers. Also, there is now a 30% federal-tax credit, which has a cap of $2,000. Green Trends

In making the leap to solar, homeowners should speak with architects and solar consultants. Additional information is available from CCEF and organizations like the Peoples Action for Clean Energy (PACE). PACE monitors energy legislation in Connecticut, sponsors exhibitions, presents

annual environmental-energy awards, and runs its now famous alternative-energy tours throughout the year. Judi Friedman, chairperson and a founder of PACE, applauds solar conversions like that John Rountree has made, saying they embrace green trends that make us more productive and healthier. “Converting an older home to solar can Resources Mentioned be challenging,” she ssid, “but it carries People’s Action for Clean Energy benefits that are just as sizeable. It’s a lovely 860-693-4813 marriage of old and new, especially as gy continues to get more expensive.” Should those prices continue to rise, the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund 100-year-old farmhouse on Compo Road 860-563-0015 will be sitting pretty in the sun. For more information, contact John Rountree at 203-227-1766. ■ Westport Solar Consultants 203-227-1766


HOME Monthly

Vol.XII, Number 2 is a special section to: Greenwich Post, The Darien Times, New Canaan Advertiser, The Ridgefield Press, The Wilton Bulletin, The Redding Pilot and The Weston Forum in Connecticut, and The Lewisboro Ledger in New York • 52,000 copies published monthly • Jackie Perry, editor Jessica Perlinski, designer • Thomas B. Nash, publisher • For advertising information, call 203-438-6544 • For information on editorial submissions, call 203-894-3380 E-mail: • Extra copies are available free at the Hersam Acorn office, 16 Bailey Avenue, Ridgefield, Conn. (behind the town hall) Copyright 2008, Hersam Acorn Newspapers, LLC

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LOCATION: The Weston setting for this home of many picture windows is country idyllic. PROPERTY: More than three beautifully landscaped, private acres border a river and include a tranquil pond. HOUSE: This sophisticated home with a European flavor capitalizes on its setting with many floor-to-ceiling windows and a wonderfully open floor plan. The living room has an impressive stone fireplace to complement the vaulted ceiling and the handsome wood flooring. The dining room and family room have sliding doors taking you out to the patio, deck and hot tub. Italian lacquered cabinets are a highlight of the gourmet kitchen with pantry and a picturesque breakfast area. The master bedroom on the second level includes a balcony and bath and there are two more bedrooms with sliders on the first floor and another bath and a half. GARAGE: Two-car attached. PRICE: $995,000. REALTY: Country Living Associates. Agent: Jeri Kelley, 203-221-0666. Photography: David Ames.


Falling in Love Again by D.M. Baechle

The William Wheaton Homestead in Washington, Connecticut.

The broken old gal sat upon a soft hill, She had been quite a beauty once. 1820 or earlier, was it? Nothing was more painful to me Than to watch this once pretty house Go back to dust, although thankfully, It would do so, ever so slowly. Those massive chestnut beams and those wide Oak floorboards, some eaten up by a plague That was not likely to be cured, unless They could be attended to, before The fierce approach of a New England winter, Captured my heart. But as surely as the sun rose upon her each morning, She stood there. Reminding me somehow Of a poor battered child who tries her best Not to show all her blows and who tries Most of all not to fall because she is fearful That she may never get up again. After so many years of abuse and neglect, It was no small wonder to see, That she could stand up at all. Yet, she did! She once had been the home of many happy souls Joyful little children who frolicked Through and through. Upon her land they had sat As they gazed at the stars on a hot summer night. They had swung endless times underneath the big tree Yellow leaves all aglow from the touch of Autumn’s gentle hand. Oh, how that ancient maple could tell one Countless tales! Was it planted there by someone The same year she was born?


And how they had aged together, The homestead and the tree, as old friends often do. They both had battled storms and treacherous fast winds, But they were survivors. Yeah, victorious warriors! The more I stared at her, the more I felt sorrow. The pains she had suffered somehow became my own. The only thing I knew was that she would be saved From a fate that might be otherwise As certain as one day my demise. I would be her savior. I would be her friend. I would take care of her. I fell in love with her, And she would be my friend!

How elegant in her simplicity! A miracle! A jubilant recovery!” She had been a hostess to past treasured Forgotten memories. Who knows what local historical events She harbored in her tender heart?

Sadly, she would outlive me for many years hence. I felt kindness for her predicament, It may have been love at first sight, as they say! Fretting like an angel on a rescue mission, A whisper, a faint voice seemed to chant in my ear: “I will take care of you, if you take care of me. But hurry. Trust me, you’ll see. You will have no regrets.”

Today, she is there, standing yet humbly On that same aged land ready to welcome All those who wish to pay her homage. So how many more good people will love her as I do? How many more will seek the safety Of her solid armor? For how many more distant centuries? And will they let their minds wander as I do, When the rattle of the old black shutters Pierced by the slit half-moon wake up their sleepy heads? Will they often be blessed by a great peaceful sleep After a thunder-full moon-lit night? Will they feel as I do, and know as I do That nothing bad could ever happen to them, As long as they are vigilant about her care, And as long as they show genuine respect For her steadfast integrity?

I knew just what she meant and so I attempted The daunting task of helping her stand up again More sturdy and more square than before. Years of labor, arduous, it’s certain, And years of mournful groans from her Finally won the skeptics Who had sadly foretold her inevitable gloomy end. These tales were duly recorded, as part of her story, Buried, deep in her bones. “A neat old house, she was. How sweet! How quaint!

So keep steady Old House, and keep well. Know that you are well-beloved and that others Too will fall in love with you as I did. Forever be proud, for your heritage Will always show us the way. And do let all those who pass by you remember, That old wooden houses have true spirits and hearts That must be preserved, so that others who also Cherish these jewels can pass on the legacy That was begun so many years ago, when life Was simpler and when the country was young.

The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.

February 2008

THE WILLIAM WHEATON HOMESTEAD by D.M. Baechle The William Wheaton Homestead, which dates to 1820, is on Wheaton Road, a scenic and historic road in Marble Dale (formerly known as Lower New Preston) in the town of Washington. The Wheatons hailed from Seekonk, R.I., and came to settle the here in 1743. They became marble quarriers and were prominent members of that part of town. The “wet” saw used to cut the marble in the saw mills on the Aspetuck River was invented here, and records indicate that this was the first industrialized town in all Connecticut.

Marble quarrying died in the mid 1830s when marble of a more sturdy quality arrived from Vermont. At the time the house was built, the Wheatons were working their way out of the marble business and into tobacco farming. The homestead has its two original post-and-beam barns plus four beautiful acres, which are resplendent with ancient maples and views of distant hills. Nearby St. Andrew’s Church, built in 1824, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Its land was donated by another Wheaton, a former president of Trinity College in Hartford. The homestead is 31 miles from Ridgefield, and anyone traveling by is welcome to stop and say hello and share a cup of warm local cider in this wonderful old house.

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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.



Designer to clients by Jane K. Dove It’s rare indeed when homeowners who commission a project end up becoming fast friends with the individual providing the service. But that’s exactly what happened to Jay and David Hughes of Wilton and their decorator, Laura Robinson of Southport. Not only did the couple forge an almost immediate bond with Laura, bringing their decorating project to a very satisfying conclusion, they now have a friendship they say is “for keeps.” Laura has been in the design business for about 15 years, specializing in period restorations. “I work mostly in Wilton, Darien and Weston,” she says. “Most of my work is obtained through referrals from friends and clients, which is how I met Jay and David.” Decision To Renovate

Jay and David, now retired, have lived in their 2,500-square-foot home on Range Road since 1975. It was built in 1954 with nothing in particular to distinguish it, which, they say, was typical of the era. “But we always loved the local community and the great lower Fairfield County location,” David says. “After the kids were grown, we thought about moving to Florida, but decided to stay here and renovate our house, outside and in.” What was needed was additional square footage, and they chose Clark Construction as their contractor. “They did a wonderful job,” Jay says. “We did a lot of work on the second floor, added a brand-new kitchen, changed the exterior appearance, put on a patio and

Bryan Haeffele

Because they loved the community, the Hugheses decided to remodel rather than relocate, and their collaboration with designer Laura Robinson resulted in a home they now love, as well. Before, above.


The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.

February 2008

Clark Construction accomplished the appealing structural redesign, and Laura seemed to be a mind reader when it came to assessing the couple’s lifestyle, needs and tastes. Before, below.

Bryan Haeffele

an enclosed porch. Everything was completed about 18 months ago, and we realized we needed someone to pull it all together.” On To Decorating

That “someone” was Laura, and Jay says it was “love at first sight.” Laura, Jay says, had an amazing ability to assess their lifestyle, tastes and needs, and made decorating recommendations that used a lot of the furnishings and decorative objects already on hand. “This is the way I usually work with my clients,” Laura says. “Many people have very nice items, and there is no need to go out and buy everything new. You can use what is there if you see things with a fresh eye and add some new items into the mix.” Laura says she and her clients decided on a soothing and low-key color palette with lots of soft off-whites, grays, beiges, and creams accented by a few more emphatic colors in rugs, upholstery and decorative objects. Laura did the house room by room, starting with the bedrooms and then moving on to the major living areas – the living room, dining room and family room. “Jay and David had many beautiful pieces already and have excellent taste, so they were very easy to work with,” she says. “I would make recommendations for something like a painting or a rug, and we would go out and find it, often in an antiques shop or consignment store.” The couple purchased only a few large items of furniture, complemented by new decorative items. One special investment recommended by Laura was the custom cabinetry by Scott Keller of Southbury. Mr. Keller completed some classic built-ins for Jay and David, and they blend perfectly with the home’s architecture and ambiance. February 2008

Jay and David say they left “injecting” color to Laura. “All the walls were basically white before she came,” David says. “She got us away from that, but still kept paint colors on the neutral side.”

rated with the help of Laura’s sure hand and discerning eye. Moving upstairs, off-white accented by soft colors predominates throughout. The guest bedroom, with its white lace curtains, has a Victorian flavor. The master bedroom is done in shades of cream and Wedgwood blue and features another Scott Keller custom cabinet to house, and hide, a television and computer. All the home’s bathrooms use cream-and-beige marble and granite to good effect, and the master bath features a spacious tumbled-marble shower.

Soothing Ambiance

Laura says that as soon as she met Jay and David and walked through their home for the first time, she knew they did not want anything “over the top.” “Some clients want trendy, bold colors and dozens of decorative items and lots of furniture in their rooms,” she says. “I immediately knew David and Jay were not of that mindset, and instead wanted something that would produce a calm and harmonious effect.” A walk through the newly decorated home reveals the special attention to harmony, scale and soothing color that make it a warm and welcoming place. In the living room, soft beige walls with crown molding are complemented by furniture and rugs with touches of peach and apricot. The bricks in the gas-lit fireplace are painted off-white, harmonizing perfectly with the rest of the room. The striking center-island kitchen is Jay’s new pride and joy. Totally transformed from its original “Leave It to Beaver” era and style, it is now painted in a lovely color called Coastal Fog. The large center island has a charcoal-gray soapstone top that blends in with the black-granite counters, the latest stainless-steel appliances, a tumbled marble backsplash, and hardwood floors. “My only regret about this beautiful kitchen is that my mother is not alive to see it,” Jay says. “She would have loved it and been so happy for me.” Other first-floor areas include a dining room with cabinets by Scott Keller and a family room, both deco-

Approach To Clients

From her fist meeting with Jay and David, Laura says, she knew the project was going to be very successful. “I knew it was a matter of simply helping them define the essence of what they wanted their home to express.” “Decorating for me is not about me and my style. It’s not about what I want your house to look like. Instead, it’s about drawing out the uniqueness of the people living in the home and the lifestyle they lead. It’s blending these things together and creating a home that is an oasis for them – a place that feels like an ‘exhale’ when they walk in.” Laura says the friendship developed as the project moved forward. “We would go out looking for things together, having a lot of fun along the way,” she says. “We found many treasures, including a 1700s grandfather clock and an incredible German “Wag on the Wall” (a grandfather clock without a case – just the face, weight and pendulum) from the late 1800s.” According to Laura, successful decorating is always a partnership that lets the clients become more and more comfortable with making their own choices. “I have the most fun with clients like Jay and David who want to understand and learn where we are taking the house and why. It’s so rewarding when they are really proud of the results because they have been a part of it. It’s a fabulous feeling to know people love their home.” Design by Laura, P.O. Box 1031, Southport, CT 06890; 203-319-1086 or 203-216-3662 (cell). ■

The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.


Home Moaner continued from page 21 cohabitational bliss. While Melissa manned the kitchen Kenmores, in a tribute to Irish cuisine, I dug out the Electrolux. I bought my vacuum cleaner at a yard sale right after we moved in. Prior to that, we had a nameless brown plastic hand-me-down that mostly pushed the piles of dirt around the floor, took up a lot of space and made a hell of a lot of noise. As a youth, I recalled our “help” at the helm of an Electrolux, eliminating the thin layer of unwanted opulence that threatened to dull the highly polished marble floors of the palatial family manse, “Rotting Hill,” way up on the acred ridges of the old hometown. Alas, those were the soft-focused days of yore, fragrant with Top Job and glittering with Ammonia D. Perhaps it is the recollection of these formative years, when Melissa and I were well-tended by a stable of long-tenured retainers, that prevents us from performing basic household hygiene. No doubt the schedule to which I alluded in the first paragraphs of this column had an influence. Whatever lame excuse we chose to manufacture, somewhere between the pot of boiling potatoes and the “Swiffering” of the dining room window sills, we collided. Stress is a killer, and we aren’t domestic, but we love to eat, and Melissa doesn’t mind cooking, and there’s nothing like a totally clean house, but we have long since reprogrammed our synchronicity to fit into the special few moments our paths regularly cross: like dinner out on Fridays or movies with subtitles, knocking about Goodwill, or taking a drive into the country to explore back roads.

So, because as a unit we have evolved away from a socially acceptable level of domestic hygiene, there is a predicable chance that as we embarked on this Ward and June Cleaver enterprise, we would get in each other’s way and chafe. Once we have chafed, everything stops. The whirring and bubbling, the flash of sharp knives and the whip smack of the dust rag are replaced with growling and grumbling. Sunlight from the bay window catches newly loosened motes of dust. They hang in the air like electric snow, sparkling as if falling from a particularly awe-inspiring fireworks display. The cat stirs from some special hiding place and arches her crackly back with typical feline indifference. We have gone way beyond upsetting her normal rhythms. The scrap has its origins in long-abandoned behaviors, misunderstandings or just plain mutual frustration rising up from the sheer Sisyphean task of trying to create civilization amid the undulating, unceasing mountains of flotsam and jetsam that we have collected and assorted into piles since the last time one of us wrestled a soup pot out of the pantry or waltzed the vacuum cleaner around the furniture. The pot bubbles and the Electrolux cools in the corner, and we have it out in the rearranged dining room. Melissa, with a hot cup of tea, while I nurse a Peach Fresca. We argue fairly and nicely using the Marquis of Queensbury rules. There is a beginning, a middle and an end, and we go back to work. There’s burbling of Irish music on the CD player while the cat sleeps anew. And we are Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, playing our chosen instruments in unison, playing off each other with flourishes of grandeur mixed with light lilting airiness as the potatoes are turned out onto a grand platter, the Electrolux

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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.

February 2008

is stowed in the basement. One of us, maybe both of us, whistle a happy tune. All is ready. The guests thunder up the porch steps, the doors fling open and coats are stowed. The kids find niches in the parlor, icy fingers on their Gameboys. The family gathers and crunches on the hors d’oeuvres. From the archives, Melissa selects a set of plates from her growing collection and right on time, dinner is served. A toast to family is proclaimed along with rich spoonfuls of Colcannon and real butter that was so damned delicious I can’t remember anything else that was on the table. They say it is the journey, not the destination. The road to the concert had a few potholes and there were some barbed-wire fences to work around. But the dinner was a success, and it was great to have the family over to our funny little house on Rusty Hinge Road where the parking is free if you can find a place and the streetlights come on at dusk most of the time. The concert was mindblowing, and I could sense from the in-laws the same cautiousness I had a year earlier when Hayes and Cahill sat down to play. By the end we were glowing as a unit, dazzled in ways we never knew we could be. The family were instant fans of the music, warmed by stomachs full of Colcannon and heads full of the magic of musical synergy. We’d, the four of us, Martin, Dennis, Melissa and me, pulled it off, with an unspoken synchronous bond. Well almost, anyway, we might need to practice a bit more. But that’s what makes life so good. Begorrah, as you slide down the banisters of life may the splinters never point the wrong way. ■

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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.


BUFFERS BRINGS BACK THE LUSTER by R.E. Glowa Over time, infrequent use or improper storage can dull the once brilliant finish of silver, brass, steel, and copper housewares, leaving them weary-looking and lackluster. Copper planters lose their deeply burnished beauty, tea sets become tarnished and accent pieces no longer brighten a room with their glossy appeal. Before you discard your once-lovely items, consider using the transformational talents of metal refinisher Curtis Suggs to revive them. In his shop, Buffers, on Dixwell Avenue in Hamden, Curtis buffs, polishes and refurbishes metal pieces, restoring them to their original shimmering state.





Curtis dedicates himself to each metal piece he works on, imbuing every project with his deep love of beauty. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Whatever people bring me to do, I do it,â&#x20AC;? he says with a wide smile. A badly blackened copper pot becomes a glowing vessel under his hardworking hands. A profoundly stained sterling silver coffee set is rejuvenated to a regal state of resplendency. Stripping away the dull discoloration on a huge copper chafing dish, Curtis reworks the finish, revealing a radiant centerpiece suitable for serving very special meals. For 17 years, Curtis has revitalized treasured heirlooms, motorcycle and car parts, serving pieces, cookware, hardware, and household items. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Working with my hands and making something beautiful again gives me a great deal of pleasure.â&#x20AC;? Working with a strapping buffer wheel that dates back to the late 1800s, Curtis sweet talks every candlestick, teapot, andiron, doorknob, plant stand, sconce, weather vane, corner bracket, and clock chime back to a glistening

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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.



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glimmer. He also mixes his own special blend of polish. Customers bring their faded brass beds to Buffers, where Curtis cleans, buffs and coats the brass to ensure that the newly applied luster will shine on for a long time. Curtis will provide pickup and delivery service as well. Have you have ever coveted an item at an antique store, tag sale or flea market but passed it by because of its darkened state? Now you can feel free to bring these treasures to Curtis who will convert them from dull to delightful. Generally, a project will be completed within a weekâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time. The items currently being worked on at Buffers are widely varied, from an ornate telephone to a sleek set of scales, a soon-to-be beautiful birdbath and intriguing statuary. Curtis has unearthed many flea market finds himself over the years, bringing them back to the shop and See Buffers page 39

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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.



Inside the ADD mind by Mark Goldenberg Picture yourself walking into the lobby of a hotel to wait for a friend. Music is playing in the background, a movie is being shown on a monitor, and there are some people talking. There is a table with some magazines and today’s newspaper. Let’s throw in a birdcage in the corner with a cockatiel chirping. The air conditioning is on and it is quite cold. Bell boys are wheeling luggage carts back and forth. At first, you would probably scan the room, and then proceed to sit down. You would then make a conscious decision to pick up the newspaper and read. Your friend comes down in a few minutes and you proceed with your evening. Very non-eventful right?

temperature and that might interfere with your decisions to do all of the other things. This would make you feel frustrated, maybe even angry; your heart might start pumping faster, and you might start sweating. You have just looked through a small window of what many children and adults experience whose brains are not functioning at optimum levels. People such as this do not experience all the perceptions that I mentioned. The signs that they manifest depend on what areas of the brain are not functioning optimally. Notice that I have not mentioned ADD, ADHD, OCD, PDD, autism, dyslexia, Tourette’s, NLD, etc. These are all labels given to a constellation of symptoms that occur frequently enough that they can be classified.

Brain Dysfunction

Functional Disconnection

Could you imagine if your brain had to take the time to think about every stimulus in that room and make a conscious decision which one to give priority to? What if they all seemed of equal priority? Then you would listen intensely to the music, go over to the birdcage, run to the luggage cart to see what that was about, run to the video and watch. You would be uncomfortable with the

Research reveals that there is a functional electrical imbalance between the two halves (hemispheres) of the brain in children with neurobehavioral disorders, such as ADHD, learning disabilities, dyslexia and an autistic-spectrum disorders. The two hemispheres of the brain do not develop at the same rate. The electrical impulses must be balanced between the right and left sides, and if they are not, then they are not “coherent” or synchronized.


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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.

February 2008

The two sides of the brain do completely different things from a processing standpoint. If they are not balanced, they cannot share information appropriately. This is known as a Functional Disconnection Syndrome. This imbalance between the brain’s hemispheres can be compared to musicians in an orchestra who are not playing in synch. The resulting sound in a concert hall would be awful. In the brain, that imbalance may result in physical and cognitive difficulties: sustaining attention, organizing, planning, thinking critically, processing information, social abilities, balance and coordination, development of fine and gross motor control, and other issues. Specific types of activities must be performed on the weak side in order to reach the same level of electrical activity or processing speed as the stronger side, and then the two halves of the brain must eventually link up or reconnect. The problem with most existing programs is that they work on strengthening both sides of the brain equally. As a result, the hemispheres continue to become more imbalanced, perpetuating the Functional Disconnection Syndrome. Hemispheric Integration Therapy (HIT), which is based upon current brain research, addresses these fundamental weaknesses. HIT operates on the premise that by improving the balance of activity in both hemispheres of the brains of children with developmental and learning disabilities, a child’s cognitive function may equally improve, and this result may be achieved without the use of medication.

3. Synchronization: Balancing electrical activity allows for the different regions of the brain to regain or be in “rhythm,” which is necessary in order to share information efficiently throughout the brain. 4. Integration: This efficient sharing of information between different regions of the brain allows for optimum integrated function in all areas of concern (physically, mentally, biochemically, and behaviorally). 5. Elimination: As this integration of function increases and improves, the result will be an elimination of your child’s difficulties. Doctor Goldenberg, DC, DABCN, is a board-certified chiropractic neurologist and director of the Pathways to Learning Center, 1 Westport Ave., Norwalk; 203847-3000; e-mail,; Web site, ■

The program achieves five fundamental goals: 1. Identification: The program recognizes that there may be one or more regions of decreased electrical brain activity that can be responsible for a child’s symptoms. 2. Equilibration: Refers to specific activities (physical and mental) geared toward balancing or restoring electrical activity between the two sides of the brain while incorporating nutritional changes to biochemically support the correction process.






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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.


Romantic bedroom makeovers UNCOVER THE POSSIBILITIES by Jane Speroff

Next let’s evaluate your existing furniture. What stays? What’s missing? What “special” pieces do you need to add? For example, a chaise lounge for reading and meditating or a plasmalift console or armoire to house the TV. If a new bed is in the offing, you have a myriad of choices – platform, canopy and sleigh beds all add a romantic feel. Almost as important as your choice of bed is the ensemble that will adorn this focal point. Your selection of fabric for bed and windows will add that perfect romantic touch. From quilted bedspreads to luxurious duvets, your bedding should be a highlight. No ensemble is complete without pillow shams in coordinating fabrics, decorative pillows in unique sizes and shapes and a coordinating dust ruffle. When choosing window treatments, remember to consider privacy and light control as well as beauty. Possibilities are endless. You could frame your windows with a billowy, silky fabric displayed on a decorative rod, or perhaps folds of fabric in a Roman shade would add the sophisticated look you desire. And finally, the accessories as the finishing touch. There’s no better place to display your treasures. More than any decorative item you could buy, they will give your room its distinct personality – they will make it come alive! I find collecting accessories is a never-ending delight. Whenever and wherever you see something that appeals to you strongly, acquire it if possible because it will give you pleasure every time you look at it. Most important, a decorating project should be an enjoyable adventure. You spend more time at home than anywhere else, and your decorating choices should reflect your personality and unique style. When you retreat to your newly decorated bedroom, I hope you feel happy and serene. To contact interior designer Jane Speroff, call 203-638-5108, or visit www. A master bedroom is a private retreat and also a place to let your personality shine. Determine all the functions you want it to serve and then have fun with color, furnishings, fabrics, and accessories.

Henry David Thoreau wrote, in his famous book Walden, “I never found the companion that was as companionable as solitude.” While most of us live too far from a meditative spot in the woods, all of us, at some point in our daily routine, yearn for a place of tranquility free from the stress of our daily lives. Your bedroom is, or should be, that haven. If your bedroom doesn’t offer you a respite from the hustle and bustle of the day, then now’s the time to transform it. Decorating your master bedroom is probably more fun than decorating any other room in your home. Why? Because it’s the one room where you can truly allow your personality to shine. Remember, this is your private space, and you deserve the best. As I do with my clients, first determine how you want to use the space. So start by listing all the functions you’ll want your “get-away” haven to serve. Do they include reading and writing, watching romantic movies, meditating? Next let’s consider color. As with all decorating projects, one of your first priorities is locking in a color scheme. Color sets the stage and provides the harmony for your furnishings, fabrics and accessories.


The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.

February 2008

Design savvy or design perplexed? TALK WITH STYLE-MAKERS AT THE ALDRICH In anticipation of the opening of a major exhibition – Painting the Glass House: Artists Revisit Modern Architecture – the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum’s March First Thursday is all about good design. On Thursday, March 6, from 6:30 to 8:30 , the museum will feature a talk by a dwell magazine editor and personal consultations with four local style-makers. As former editor of The New York Times Jasper Morrison, Crate Series No. 1, 2007, House & Home section and current direccourtesy of the artist and Established & tor of online content for, Michael Sons, London. Cannell is a veteran of the international design circuit. For his talk at the Aldrich, he will share destroyed furniture, preposterously plain pine boxes, and other current design trends. Space for the talk is limited; please go online to or call 203.438.4519 x 18 to reserve your spot. The Aldrich has also invited four local style-makers to be on hand for personal design consultations following the discussion. Yvonne Claveloux, marketing editor and head stylist for At Home magazine, Jill McKean, owner of Organize It, Maureen Rivard, owner of the Ridgefield boutique French Market, and Aran Winterbottom, studio manager for Design Within Reach of Westport, will provide one-on-one help with design and organizational challenges. No appointments necessary, but bring swatches, catalogs and pictures of the room for design-savvy opinions. Can’t get organized? Bring a photo of your office, your desk, or any spot in your home that is an organizing challenge. McKean will give you tips and techniques to jump-start the process. Admission: $10 members; $15 nonmembers. Drinks, snacks, talk, and personal consultations included. First Thursdays is sponsored by Ancona’s Market, Cohen and Wolf, P.C., Liberta’s Spirit Shoppe, and WSHU Public Radio. The Aldrich is one of the few non-collecting contemporary art museums in the United States. Founded on Ridgefield’s historic Main Street in 1964, the museum enjoys the curatorial independence of an alternative space while maintaining the registrarial and art-handling standards of a national institution. Exhibitions feature work by emerging and mid-career artists, and education programs help adults and children to connect to today’s world through contemporary art. The museum is at 258 Main Street, Ridgefield. All exhibitions and programs are handicapped accessible. Regular museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 5. For more information, call 203-438-4519. ■

Buffers continued from page 35 giving them new life for resale. Because he is tremendously busy now with restoration work, Curtis no longer treasure hunts, but he still offers a selection of attractive pieces for sale at the shop, including an array of graceful, gleaming brass elephants, their raised trunks a symbol of good fortune. What good fortune to have Buffers and Curtis Suggs to bring back the glow to your treasures. Buffers is open Monday through Friday from 9 to 5 and Saturdays from 9 to 12 at 1461 Dixwell Avenue in Hamden; 203-281-0101. ■

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February 2008

The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.



Romance under glass by Stacy Lytwyn Maxwell

Midwinter Sale!

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Hiding, a woman clutches a musket ... not exactly an image to conjure up a heartthrob encounter. However, visitors who take the self-guided tour of the “American Stories” exhibit at New London’s Lyman Allyn Art Museum will learn about its romantic interpretation. (On Valentine’s Day there is a guided tour at 6, 7, and 8 pm, but you need to call ahead for reservations at 860-4432545 x110.) Within the brightly lit structure, which exudes a warm glow, an assortment of artwork unlocks streams of love stories from plutonic to passionate tales. Love resonates on these walls, in the halls and on the grand stone staircase. From a first impression, Hollywood directors might cast the prominent neoclassical building as a milieu for a romantic epic (minus the I-95 noise below).

Beatrice Cuming’s oil on canvas, ‘Saturday Night: New London,’ 1938.

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February 2008

At the onset, passion fueled the creation of this coastal cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s museum. Harriet Upson Allyn memorialized her father, Lyman Allyn, a famous whaling captain, with a $1 million gift to the community for a museum in his name. Charles Platt, a famed landscape gardener and architect of the American Renaissance movement, designed its marble facade. Today, the museum, established in 1926, is one of approximately 750 museums accredited by the American Association of Museums, drawing 35,000 visitors annually. Back inside, to our gun-toting woman ... Abigail is her name. Artist Daniel Huntington created this painting of Abigail Dolbeare Hinman nearly a decade after the burning of New London. As the story goes, while most townspeople fled, Abigail took up arms against Benedict Arnold, represented in the lower right-hand corner with his British troops during the Revolutionary War. She passionately defends home and country while awaiting the return of her seacaptain husband. What strikes an art lover is the fervor in her eyes beneath her upswept hair. The painting is part of the museumâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s permanent collection of more than 15,000 paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, pieces of furniture, and decorative arts. Emphasizing the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, both the permanent and traveling exhibits lead spectators through a passionate adventure that rouses minds, senses and spirits. James Daughertyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Arrival of the 6:20,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; a lot of love in the air. Two pieces in the exhibit entice visitors to contemplate an uncanny love triangle in J. Alden Weirâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s oil paintings: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Against the Windowâ&#x20AC;? (1884) and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Portrait of Ellaâ&#x20AC;? (1890). Weir, using broad, flat patches, painted his first wife dressed in black â&#x20AC;&#x201C; she had died in childbirth. Shortly thereafter, the artist remarried; this time to his first wifeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sister. He used an Impressionist-like style of short, rapid brush strokes to paint his second wife dressed in white. What a tangled web painters can weave into New Englandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Best Selection their paintings. DETAILS Another kind of love blossoms in â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Favored Scholarâ&#x20AC;? (1873), a John The Lyman Allyn Art Museum, Rogersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sculpture. Noticeable is the part of the Connecticut Art Trail intensity of the young teacherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gaze â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a partnership of 14 world-class at his female student, probably a tad museums and historic sites across younger than he is. She, with curled the state â&#x20AC;&#x201C; is at 625 Williams hair, heeled shoes, pressed dress and Street, Exit 83, off I-95 North. For Prices & Specials: www. apron, is the epitome of a schoolgirl Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 to 5, Sunday 1 to 5. 0XOOHQ5RDG(QÂżHOG&7Â&#x2021; See Away from Home page 48 Admission is $5 per person, $4 for seniors and students, children under 8, free. For more information, call 860-443-2545; e-mail Joe Rizzo, Proprietor - Country Road Associates LTD. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re the only makers of 19th; lymanallyn. Century style furniture to use org. 19th C. barnwood.â&#x20AC;? The Lighthouse Inn Resort, which offers 27 non-smokShown here: FARM TABLE. Farm tables ing guest rooms that include bring to mind families enjoying a bounty 11 water-view suites, is at Six of good eating. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why we have adapted it for contemporary living or Guthrie Place, Exit 82, off I-95 traditional settings. This simple, yet North; 860- 443-8411; toll free, uniquely beautiful dining table is 72â&#x20AC;? L x 888-443-8411; e-mail, reservatio 36â&#x20AC;? W x 30â&#x20AC;? H, and comfortably seats 8.; lightAlso custom cabinetry, chairs, mirrors, benches, Inquire about Oriental rugs and more â&#x20AC;&#x153;I sell barnwood very reasonably. Call me for a price quote.â&#x20AC;? packages and group rates. Lunch â&#x20AC;˘ Traditional hand craftsmanship â&#x20AC;˘ Each piece individually signed, â&#x20AC;˘ FLOORING in rare chestnut, wide-board white pine, oak, heart pine, is from 10:30 to 3, Monday â&#x20AC;˘ Hand-rubbed wax finish for dated & numbered by joiner hemlock, cherry, walnut & more through Saturday; dinner is from a mellow satin patina â&#x20AC;˘ Send $5 for our color brochure â&#x20AC;˘ Random widths from 3" to 20" 5 to 9, Sunday through Thursday â&#x20AC;˘ Barnsiding in different natural colors, faded red, Open Tues.â&#x20AC;&#x201C;Sat. 10am-4pm, Sunday & Monday by appointment and from 5 to 10 Friday and silver gray, and brown Saturday; Sunday brunch is COUNTRY ROAD ASSOCIATES, LTD., â&#x20AC;˘ Large Quantities available â&#x20AC;˘ Deliveries throughout the USA 63 Front Street, P.O. Box 885, Millbrook, NY 12545 10:30 to 3.

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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.


A venerable antiques show DARIEN’S CELEBRATES 41 YEARS A historic gem itself, the charming and welcoming First Congregational booths is wonderful.” Baner-Saradjian specializes in period furniture, antique Church of Darien provides an ideal forum for the highly regarded Darien and semi-antique carpets, paintings, and collectibles. Antiques Show. The show, to be held March 7 to 9, is well known for its “There is something for everyone at this event, at every price point,” exquisite selections in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. More than 30 said Patricia Hedlund, show co-manager. “Whether your style is mostly prestigious dealers from all over New England welcome the opportunity contemporary, early American, Period English, or French Provincial, to share their knowledge and advice on a variety of magnificent decorating today is about creating an eclectic mix that reflects your antiques. Whether you are a browser, first-time buyer or experihome’s individuality. This show gathers one-of-a-kind treasures enced collector, this is an occasion not to miss. that will warm up any home. Our dealers are really friendly The show will feature fine 17th- through 19th-century and knowledgeable and take time to talk to customers. They antiques, including English, American and Oriental furnialso guarantee all their merchandise.” ture, paintings, silver, clocks, jewelry, prints, pottery, quilts, This year, don’t miss late 19th- and early 20th-century and rare books. American paintings from Blue Heron Interiors, Cohasset, This year the show mirrors an ever-increasing interest and Mass., and New England impressionists from David and demand for fine art and will feature magnificent examples of Donna Kmetz, Douglas, Mass. Look for Period American, American Impressionism. The show maintains an intimate quality French and English furniture from B&D Johnson, Stanfordville, that both patrons and dealers appreciate. It is known for providing N.Y., and William Nickerson Antiques, Orleans, Mass. Check a broad selection of one-of-a-kind treasures and paintings at reasonout tall case clocks from Patricia Barger, Fairfield, Conn.; decoraable prices. tive accessories from Witchtree Antiques, Woodbury, Conn.; and “The show is beautiful,” said John Saradjian, owner of H.P. Mclane Antiques, New Canaan, Conn. Browse through Amphora vase, attributed to Hans Baner-Saradjian Antiquarians. He has been selling at the antique decorative prints and maps from Barbara Fine Antique Reissner, Paul’s Pots. event for more than 20 years. “We think the setting for the Prints and Maps, Andover, Mass.; fine estate jewelry from Brad Reh, South Hampton, N.Y.; and Fine Arts LTD, Greenwich, Conn.

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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.

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The Antiques Show weekend kicks off with the ever popular and much anticipated Preview Party on Friday night, March 7 at 7. It is a festive evening and a chance to get an exclusive first peak at the superb collections of antiques. A savory menu of delicious hors d’oeuvres and sweets will satisfy the heartiest appetites, and a silent auction will offer distinguished items, including tickets to hard-to-see events, must-have items and tantalizing vacation opportunities. Tickets are $50 at the door and $40 advance purchase, and include unlimited admission for the weekend. The show is organized and run entirely by volunteers from the First Congregational Church. All proceeds from the weekend are donated to worthy causes including Person to Person, Kids in Crisis and Meals on Wheels. Proceeds from the Preview Party on Friday night, an expected $10,000, will be donated to STAR, a local charity serving individuals with disabilities. Regular show hours are Saturday, March 8, from 10 to 5, and Sunday, March 9, from 11:30 to 5. A special show café will serve lunch and afternoon tea. Tickets are $8 at the door, $7 advance sales, $6 for seniors. The First Congregational Church of Darien is located at the corner of Brookside Road and the Post Road just south of exit 13 from I-95 in Darien. For more information or reservations, call 203-655-0491 or go to the show’s Web site, ■

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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.



E-mail forwards often inspire backwards thinking by Tim Murphy FW: This one really works! Hey everyone. Normally I don’t believe in these things. In fact, whenever I get forwarded e-mails I usually delete them before reading. But for some reason the other day I took the time to read the e-mail below, which was forwarded from a dear friend. As you’ll see, the e-mail tells you to think about three people who’ve meant a lot to you in the past, but with whom you are no longer in touch. By reaching out to them with a brief e-mail you’ll let them know how much they are missed. Even better, something wonderful will happen to you at exactly 1:09 the following afternoon. I know it sounds farfetched; I thought so too at first. But I went ahead anyway and wrote brief e-mails to three old friends I hadn’t talked to in many years. And then yesterday, at exactly 1:09 in the afternoon, a letter came to my office saying I had been named in the will of a man whom I worked for as a high school student years ago. I hadn’t talked to the man in years and yet I was now going to receive $50,000 from his estate. We had gotten

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along well when I worked for him – mowing his lawn, cleaning his pool, etc. – but I never expected this. What a surprise! Please take the time to read the following e-mail, follow the instructions and then forward it to at least five people. Who knows? Maybe something wonderful will happen to you as well. None of the above is true. Still, if someone attached that preface to an e-mail and sent it flying electronically to 20 others, at least one of them would likely follow the instructions and then wait excitedly for the clock to strike 1:09 the following day. Why? Because as the continued assault on inboxes attests, people remain gullible, wishful and fearful enough to keep forwarding forwarded e-mails. Some of the monstrosities resemble the fake effort above. They are the electronic version of snail-mail chain letters, which date back to the late 19th century. Those missives usually promised prosperity or some related good fortune to anyone who kept the chain going, and warnings of horrific repercussions for those who didn’t. “Frederic M. failed to respond to this letter and was stung to death by a swarm of displaced wasps while weeding his garden the next week.” E-mail chain letters have succeeded for the same reason the older mail versions worked: No one wants to end up like poor Frederic M.

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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.

February 2008

Back in high school, a friend once received a chain letter and proceeded to defiantly tear it into pieces at a party. The rest of us avoided him for a week, but, fortunately, he is still around several decades later. Many of today’s chain e-mails resemble yesteryear’s in their harsh duality – the chance for personal benefit paired with the threat of calamity. This always seemed odd and unfriendly. Who would want to place someone they cared about in such a predicament? Why not just leave off the dire warning and describe the good tidings available by sending the letter onward? Obviously the part about impending death was more motivational. A second subgenre of e-mail forwards plays solely on fear. This category includes various urban legends, ranging from malevolent computer viruses to organ-stealing crime rings. In the late 1990s, an e-mail warning of plans to drug visitors and remove their kidneys for black-market sales gained so much momentum in New Orleans that police had to publish an official response on the Web, dismissing the e-mail as unsubstantiated. Other forwards criticize companies for bizarre or unethical policies. Included in this group is the infamous Neiman-Marcus Cookie e-mail, purportedly written by a woman who asked about the recipe for the high-end retailer’s cookies at a store café in Dallas. She was told she could buy the recipe for “two fifty,” which turned out to be $250 when she received her credit-card statement. Like nearly all e-mail forwards that sound suspicious, the Neiman-Marcus Cookie one turned out to be a hoax, composed perhaps by someone who was either fired by the company or found its shoe prices astronomical. Some forwards are less outlandish, but no less non-factual. A few years ago, I received an e-mail from a friend that contained life lessons from Charles Schultz, the cartoonist and creator of Peanuts. His philosophy came in the form of a quiz, which asked you to name various career high achievers (the five wealthiest

people in the world; 10 people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prizes, etc.) and then list others in your own life who were not as well known (influential teachers, supportive friends, etc.). The lesson being that those who make the most difference are not the ones with the most credentials, awards or money. Inspiring stuff maybe, but not written by Schultz. After a few minutes of online research, I came across the following response to the e-mail from the Charles M. Schultz Museum: “Though this saying/quiz is often attributed to Charles Schultz, he in fact made no such statement.” It raises a vexing question: Since so many forwarded e-mails sound outrageous and implausible, why aren’t they stopped earlier? By performing some simple Google searches or visiting (a Web site specializing in evaluating urban legends), a person should be able to separate truth from insanity and send the e-mail forward to its proper resting place by hitting the delete key. But that obviously takes either too much effort or not enough healthy skepticism. To the delight of the originator, the phony forward is sent onward, and then onward, and then onward some more. Apparently, there are enough people who will believe anything they read, no matter how ludicrous the claim. They will do whatever it takes to see if something unexpectedly wonderful happens at 1:09 in the afternoon, while at the same time trying to make sure the wasps stay away. ■



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To list or not to list? Timing is important in today’s market by Jane K. Dove “Know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em” is a basic maxim for playing poker, but it can also come in handy when deciding when to list, or de-list, a home in today’s uncertain real estate market. Two local Realtors, Louis Galasso of William Raveis Real Estate in Greenwich and Poppy Mead of Realty Seven in Wilton, offer some advice on making the right strategic move. Correcting Problems

“There are some different approaches to this,” Lou says. “But in general, Realtors agree leaving a home on the market too long with few showings and no offers does the sellers a disservice.” A home that sits unsold month after month raises questions in buyers’ minds. “They think something’s wrong with the home or that it’s way overpriced,” he says. “The owners might be well advised to pull the listing, take a breather, rethink their selling strategy, and then put it back on later.”


Poppy says one reason for a home languishing unsold may be that it simply needs work. “If the home is fairly priced and you are not getting any results, it may need de-cluttering, decorating or some minor repairs,” she said. “You might also want to consider staging. After you have addressed the issues that might be hampering a sale, you can then put the home back on the market as a fresh listing.” Lou says some simple cosmetic fixes could yield quick results. “Things like pet odor, worn or stained carpeting or unattractive wallpaper can be easily corrected. For example, ripping up old wall-to-wall carpeting and refinishing the hardwood floors underneath can make a world of difference.” Don’t Be Stubborn

Both Realtors agree that if the price is too high, you can fix it up and hold it forever and the house still won’t sell. “If a Realtor feels the house is overpriced, they should sit down with the owner and have an honest discussion,” Poppy says. “In cases like this, the answer is to simply reduce the price to the proper level to attract buyers.” Lou agrees and said the “stubborn seller” is still alive and well, even in today’s widely reported market adjustment. “I tell my clients their home should sell in six months if it is priced right,” he says. “Once you pass that threshold you are




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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.

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going to have to make price reductions because the value of the home becomes diminished in buyer’s eyes.” Poppy concurs. “There are some sellers who simply refuse to accept the fact that their house is not going to sell for what they initially thought. This can be a difficult attitude for everyone involved.” Lou says baby boomers with substantial equity in their homes, built up over time, are among some of the most stubborn sellers out there. This is because many, if not most, baby boomers factor in the profit from their home as a substantial chunk of their retirement planning. Under the current tax laws, a couple can keep the first $500,000 of profit from the sale of a primary residence as tax-free capital gains. This makes a profitable sale even more important. “I often come across couples that can’t let go of retirement dreams that are based in part on what they believe they are going to get from the sale of their home,” Lou says. “Many have made detailed financial plans based on getting a specific figure. If that figure is reduced by more than a few percentage points, it can make a big difference in their projections. If the home is overpriced because they want to hit that crucial number, they would be well advised to take it off the market, recalibrate their finances and then put it back on at the right price.”

perfect with children, family and visitors underfoot, so they decide to bow out until after New Year’s.” Lou agreed that winter is a good time to list a home. “You have more motivated buyers early in the year,” he said. “I always tell clients that waiting for spring, especially in this market, will not work to their advantage because they will be competing with even more listings.” In the end, deciding whether to “hold or fold” depends in large part on the seller’s motivation. “Some sellers are motivated and some are not,” Lou says. “I have had clients tell me they are going to wait the market out and see what happens a few months down the road. But the motivated sellers will keep their home on the market, lower the price if they must, present it in pristine condition, and eventually net a sale.” ■

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Timing And Motivation

Both Realtors agree that today’s market makes “holding or folding” a more difficult decision than it would have been during the boom years. “In this market, it’s hard to price a house exactly, because you don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring,” Poppy says. “But if you are getting no response, that indicates a price reduction is in order.” In terms of choosing the month to list a house, sooner in the year is definitely better. “Many people don’t want to list their homes during the holidays,” Poppy says. “And about 30% of owners with a listing will take the house off the market during this period. They don’t want the pressure of having the house look totally

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39 TOKENEKE ROAD • DARIEN, CT • 655-8727 The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.


Away from Home continued from page 41 crush. A mischievous note is present in a young schoolboy peeping around the corner. Two contemporary paintings further illustrate different types of love. Beatrice Cuming’s oil on canvas, “Saturday Night: New London” (1938) captures the heart of bustling downtown. Set amid an eclectic crowd of Saturday night partiers, the underlining question is: “Who is the sailor going home with?” The tempera on board painting by James Daugherty, “Arrival of the 6:20” (no date) ends the love-themed tour. The people who reunite with their loved ones encompass romantic, plutonic and familial imagery. For those who yearn to continue the amour trail, upstairs in the Chappell Gallery is “Tradition et Innovation: French Art,” running through Dec. 31. The display is also from the museum’s permanent collection. Works include J.A.D. Ingres’s important pencil study for the portrait of “Mme. Moitessier Standing Study of a Crouching Woman” (circa 1851). Do browse the gift shop brimming with art-related books and posters. Discover the research library complete with a model clipper ship. Before final departure, do not miss the showcase of dolls. The rest of the museum’s impressive doll collection is next door in the Deshon Allyn House, which is open on a limited basis or by appointment. On a mild day, take a stroll through the property accented with sculptures. Still on foot, canvas the Connecticut College campus nearby, a distinct combination of historic granite architecture that includes more examples of Platt’s buildings. To continue the romantic ambiance, stay overnight at the Lighthouse Inn Resort, a member of the Prestigious Historic Hotels of America. Built in 1902, the Victorian mansion was a summer home for steel magnate Charles

S. Guthrie. It became an inn in 1927, and luminaries such as Bette Davis and Joan Crawford arrived at its door. Designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1996, what was originally called Meadow Court for the surrounding wildflowers, was later renamed for the New London harbor light. If an overnight jaunt is unfeasible, at least enjoy the view of Long Island Sound while dining on American-style cuisine at Timothy’s, the inn’s awardwinning restaurant. Feast, rest, explore the region ... steal a kiss ... an oh-so-worth-it car trip to celebrate Valentine’s Day all year round. ■

ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST Home Show, March 7-9 The seventh annual Architectural Digest Home Design Show comes to New York City on March 7, 8, 9 from 10 to 6 at Pier 94 (12th Ave. at 55th St.). It features products from nearly 300 companies – accessories, art & antiques, kitchen & bath, wall coverings, lighting and more. Also offered are complimentary designer consultations, special exhibits and educational seminars led by noted designers. General admission tickets are $20 in advance via or by calling 800-677-6278, $25 at the door. Private cars should use the automobile ramp on 12th Ave. at 55th St. Open rooftop parking is available for all visitors. All vehicles should follow signs for the NYC Passenger Ship Terminal parking. For more information about parking, call 212-246-5450. Shuttle buses will be available to Pier 94 from locations in Midtown Manhattan.

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Interior Insights continued from page 11 She started out representing residential and commercial interior designers, but now also represents architects and custom-home builders. The number of designers she represents has risen to more than 400. The design professionals are located largely in New York, but she also represents ones who live in other major metropolitan areas and abroad. (Most designers will travel for work.) Karenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s consultation fee is low ($200) given that she makes the majority of her income from the arrangements she has with designers. To hire one of her designers, the budget has to be $100,000 and above. Since Karen started her match-making business over 20 years ago, similar businesses have entered the marketplace, but Karenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s experience, contacts and intuition have kept her at the forefront. Prior to starting Designer Previews, she was a design editor at Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Wear Daily, Esquire and Cosmopolitan, and wrote interiordesign coffee-table books. The designers who sign with her are a mix of established professionals and new talents. Many of the names are impressive, including Clodagh, Paul Siskin, and Laura Bohn, now all members, as well as Karen, of the Interior Design Hall of Fame. In addition to Gissler, other designers of note that she represents are Jamie Drake and Carl Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Aquino. Concerning Gissler, I did eventually work with him. It wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t a designer and client arrangement; I included him in a book I wrote. Gissler is smart, funny and warm. When he wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t impressing me with his encyclopedic knowledge of design, he was making me laugh with his unabashed comments. If I were ever to hire a designer, I know that we, as Karen had said, would be a perfect match. Contact Karen Fisher at Designer Previews, 212-777-2966, Ann Sample Lineberger lives with her family in Wilton. She is the author of New Spaces, Old World Charm (McGraw-Hill, 2004). â&#x2013;

February 2008



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Wishful thinking by G. Lisa Sullivan Most months, particularly from September through December, I’m thinking about buying clothes, shoes, purses, and makeup. Once the winter holidays end, however, my thoughts turn to home, and I start planning home improvements, both big and small. Truly, the second the clock strikes midnight on December 31, I’m wandering the house (my husband and daughter are usually asleep by then, and the dog and I wind up ringing in a romantic New Year’s Eve together), assessing the wall paint and thinking about a new quilt for the bedroom. Two years ago, my evening roaming resulted in the purchase of entirely new living room furniture. Granted, we’d had our old set for too many years to count, and we were due for a new sofa, love seat, tables, rug, and chair. It took some whining and dining, but I finally convinced my husband that our living room left much room for improvement. It didn’t hurt that I’d agreed he could get

satellite TV to watch his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers from the comfort of his own family room recliner, wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt, rather than at some raucous local bar. Table Talk

More and more these days, however, I find myself focusing on our kitchen. I love to cook and entertain, and I’m constantly looking for ways to make my kitchen, and all its accouterments, more productive and efficient. Earlier this winter, we had some friends, one of whom is a caterer, over for dinner. I’m always a little bit self-conscious when the caterer visits, as I assume he’s critiquing my menu and the foods I’ve prepared. How could I possibly impress an expert in the art of food preparation? For this particular gathering, a New Year’s Eve event we hold each year, I chose as I often do to make appetizers and desserts – chicken wings à la Giada’s “Everyday Italian” Food Network TV, mini pizzas that my mom always made for Christmas Eve, pigs in blankets for the kids (and the adults as it turned out; I guess you’re never too old for hot dogs), and my husband’s one and only request: cheese fondue. We received a fondue set many years ago, and I usually pull it out of the closet FROM DESIGN TO INSTALLATION around the holidays. I vary my fondue recipe from typical Swiss and Gruyere KITCHENS, LIBRARIES, FAMILY ROOMS cheese with white wine to cheddar cheese 25 YEARS OF LOCAL EXPERIENCE and beer. Both make such a delicious, decadent dish, particularly when served with chunks of sourdough bread, that I make it at least a couple of times during Christmas, Hanukah and New Year’s, and then return the fondue set to the closet, where it remains until the following year. Something about fondue renders it too sinful to eat too often.




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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.

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The Cheese Stands Alone

This New Year’s Eve, my guests brought appetizers as well, so combined with my own, we had quite a nice selection. Two guests made Brie with raspberry jam in puff pastry (both delicious), while another brought mini quiches. My best pal, whom I like to refer to as Miss Moneybags in my column, is a vegetarian, and she and her husband provided crudités with several types of dip plus a homemade chocolate cheesecake. My caterer friend brings a memorable dish every time we get together, and this time was no exception: He brought cheese fondue! You can be sure my husband was in cheese fondue heaven. February 2008

During the party, the caterer and I were talking, and the conversation turned to, as it always seems to, cooking. At one point he asked me, “How do you imagine your dream kitchen?” At first I thought, “How come my husband never asks me that?” and then I responded immediately, for I’m always imagining my dream kitchen. “Well, I’d like a large center island, with an uninterrupted top, possibly granite or butcher block,” I said, “and I want a six-burner gas-top stainless-steel range with double electric ovens, one of which would be convection. A walk-in pantry, too, so I could see all of my food, once and for all.” I rattled off a few other wish list items, and after everyone left, I sat down and actually compiled a list of the more affordable items I’d like for, or need replaced in, my kitchen. Best Buy

Bundt pan White tablecloths Offset spatulas, varying sizes Large wooden cutting board 7 white washcloths Garlic press Serving dish with compartments Who knows what else? Of course I’ll be bringing the dozens of store coupons I receive in the newspaper and mail each week ... it’s amazing how much money you can save with those things, particularly at Bed, Bath and Beyond, where one cashier in particular, an older gentleman, helps you determine which coupons will save you the most money. Miss Moneybags and I – both consummate, veteran shoppers – agree that it’s worth waiting any amount of time in his line just to have him ring up your order. Not only is he ridiculously pleasant, friendly and courteous, but he’s worried about you spending too much money! Isn’t that lucky for us? ■

Soon I’ll be heading to Bed, Bath and Beyond or Linens ’N Things, list in hand, and here are a few things I plan to buy: Hoover FloorMate Wusthof 6” utility knife Small nonstick fry pan Kitchen garbage can




MANICURED HILLTOP ESTATE majestically set on 8 private acs., hosts this stunning 6250 SF, 5 BR, 6.5 BA Georgian w/impeccable quality, elegant decor & a grand plan for entertaining! Enjoy panoramic views w/western sunsets from the gourmet kit., FR w/stone fplc, dreamy master ste w/sit rm & sunfilled 4 season porch! Potential horse property w/rm for barn & pool! Idyllic setting! $1,995,000 Listed by Barbara Sivba, Broker 203-825-5013

HORSE PROPERTY. This 1996 custom colonial encompasses over 9800sf. of main living space and a lower level playrm/exercise rm and 3rd floor game rm. The sun drenched residence features a doubly-equipped gourmet chef’s kitchen, breakfast area, formal dining, a living rm, library, den, family rm, office, mudrm, two entries, 5 BRs, 7.5 baths, and 3 fireplaces. A terraced in-ground pool and mahogany deck enhance 3.28-acre grounds that access about 1000 acres of horse trails. Additional land is possible. $1,799,000 Listing Agent, Gail Lilley Zawacki • 349-8992

CASA MARISOL. This incomparable Sasco Point estate boasts sweeping views of Long Island Sound. The property includes a finely renovated 7,000 square foot “Smart House”, a 1,500 square foot, 3 bedroom guest house, 4 car garage, Wagner pool/spa, outdoor kitchen, tennis court, koi pond and 2.85 lovely acres with English gardens and specimen plantings. Stroll to the beach or Southport Village. $7,450,000 Listing Agent, Jessie Ferris • (203) 259-8919 472 Riverside Avenue, Westport, CT (203) 227-8424

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RENOVATED FOUR BEDROOM, three full, three half bath colonial on three flat professionally landscaped acres on a cul-de-sac. Features include family room with built-ins and cathedral ceiling, new kitchen, library with built-ins, new master bedroom suite, finished basement with built-ins and a wine cellar. $2,599,000

Walk to your own private beach from this oceanfront shingled Cape Cod with an adjacent oceanfront lot in the desirable colony of Quonochontaug. Built in 1930, this quintessential New England classic boasts 2,000+ sq. ft. of living, an original stone fireplace and amazing ocean views. Situated in a private association with beach and tennis amenities, this home is a rare opportunity to enjoy the lifestyle of living on the ocean. $3,400,000

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February 2008

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The HOME Monthly, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.

February 2008

The HOME Monthly ­ February 2008  

The HOME Monthly magazine. February 2008 edition.

The HOME Monthly ­ February 2008  

The HOME Monthly magazine. February 2008 edition.