Victorian details added to “blank slate” of Ridgefield home
RIDGEFIELD — Visitors approaching the house at 10 Old Oscaleta Road are greeted by the classic details of a neo-Victorian home.
A stone walkway leads from the garage doors with angled edges to an inset entryway, overlaid by one of the front facade’s three gables. These features —along with a two-story turret in the rear and Dutch gable roof on the side — give the home a layered texture, architect Barry Goralnick said.
But back in 2002, when he was first commissioned to redesign the home, the 1985 structure looked more like a blank canvas.
“It was a beautiful site, but (the house) was really nondescript,” he said, describing the box-like structure and blank garage doors. “This seemed like a perfect blank slate to transform it.”
Goralnick, who owns a firm in New York City, would spend the next six months redesigning the house with homeowners.
After another year and a half of permitting, planning and construction, the “Victorian get-away” was complete.
The original structure was maintained, but “enveloped” by the new exterior details. Goralnick said. The rebuild also included changes to the interior, including a new master suite above the garage, staircase, foyer and a “fantasy duplex” bedroom in the turret for the homeowner’s son.
“I enjoy these renovations because it’s kind of like a puzzle,” Goralnick said. “You start somewhere and you get to completely transform it.”
The design was partly inspired by former Yale School of Architecture Dean Robert A.M. Stern, who trained Goralnick after he earned his master’s from Harvard.
Stern, who now heads a large firm in New York City, taught him the art of weaving in classic details when designing a single-family home, Goralnick said.
For the homeowners, the rebuild was a culmination of changes they had been considering since they bought the house in the late 1980s.
Changing it from its contemporary design to a more New England-style gave the four-bedroom home even more character, one of the owners said.
““A key element of the house is the attention to detail and materials that make the house special,” she said.
The owners had originally bought the house because of the nearly four-acre property and its private location. A favorite feature has become the new entryway and foyer, she added, because it overlooks the spacious backyard.
The house sits on a hill and includes a basketball court, pool and fully-landscaped yard. It is for the most part surrounded by woods and conserved open space.
The house is on the market for nearly $1.5 million.
“When you walk through our door, you look right through the living room to our outdoors,” she said. “It’s very open-looking. You see the grass, the woods and past that. It is a very comfortable, beautiful place (to live).”