Home Design Maximizes Outdoor Space
A newly renovated home is transformed into the perfect space for indoor and outdoor entertaining
After a few years of searching for a more spacious home in Fairfield, a couple with two active teens knew immediately that this traditional Colonial had the potential to meet all of their needs. “My husband really wanted a great house and yard for entertaining, and this one just fit the bill,” says the home owner. But a lackluster exterior and circa-1980s interiors (including a bar that rivaled the one in Cheers) meant they had a major project on their hands.
Enter architect Peter Cadoux. With a philosophy that “lifestyle dictates architecture,” he was the perfect match for this couple looking to create a home inspired by their love of the outdoors. What followed was a total gut renovation whereby virtually every surface was remade and refinished.
For a more welcoming façade, dormers and a portico were added, and a wood-shingle roof installed. LaurelRock was called in to coordinate the landscape plan: First priority was fixing an awkward driveway that forced guests to drive past the house, park and walk back to the front door. “We created a parking court facing the house,” says landscape architect Dickson DeMarche. “Now there’s space for four to five cars in close proximity to the front door and those nice wide steps that Peter designed.”
While the front of the home remains a true traditional Colonial, the back of the house reveals an unexpected surprise. Through the garden gate, the backyard unfolds in layers to the pool area beyond. “I asked LaurelRock for sort of an English garden in the space between the outdoor fireplace and the new garage,” says the home owner. Project manager landscape architect Ann Schmitt answered with a pavilion garden featuring a path and small fountain that provide added visual interest.
A variety of nontraditional elements come into play in the rustic pavilion with a stone fireplace, redone pool and pool area, horseshoe pit, BBQ area and large vegetable/cutting garden. “We love to have big family parties and the pool plays a central role,” says the home owner. “Between the fireplace and the built-in ceiling infrared heaters, this area can essentially be used year-round,” notes Cadoux.
For the interiors, the home owners called Andrea Cross and Judy Fisher at Fisher Interiors, who understood their desire for easy entertaining and outdoor living. “Their home needed to be comfortable and accommodating for guests, be it for a large, multigenerational family dinner or an impromptu evening of swimming plus pizza from their new Wood Stone pizza oven. Now their parties easily flow between indoors and out, from the more formal living and dining room, into the kitchen and family room, and up to the game room,” says Cross. “Durability of materials was key, as well as space planning that provides for versatility of use.”
Throughout the home, repurposed materials—such as the reclaimed hickory floors—were chosen whenever possible. Peggy Jansen, who designed the family room banquette for Fisher Interiors, also used reclaimed hickory in the curved back. This serves as a convenient spot for the kids to do homework and as overflow seating during parties, although its primary purpose is as a game table. “The banquette stands up to the generous scale of space, and it anchors the corner well,” notes Fisher.
In front of the fireplace, the Saladino duplex table with a woven leather top is surprisingly durable. “Men just love it, because you can put your feet up, and it’s soft and forgiving like an ottoman. But you can also place a glass on it,” says Cross. “Specifying mohair and leather in the family room allows for carefree use, and means that Coco is welcome on the sofa.”
Other family room updates included replacing the brick fireplace with stone, boarding the cathedral ceiling with cedar, plus adding dormers and a wall of French doors. “All of the stone, wood floors and beams absorb a lot of light, so you have to add even more sunlight,” explains Cadoux.
In the game room, located above the new mudroom/pool changing area, raising the ceiling helped create a Vermont ski lodge vibe, with vintage skis on the walls, antique hewn chestnut beams, plus feature walls and wainscoting of old barn siding. “The abundance of rich and interesting woods provided the point of departure for the color palette, so we chose a warm brick red,” says Fisher. A collection of framed photographs of the family’s yearly ski trips hangs on the wall opposite the skis. And the billiard table is a great draw for these outdoor enthusiasts when the get-togethers move inside.