Wednesday 14 Jan 2015

Ode To Ridgefield

What a pleasure to live in a horse-friendly town! We met with Ridgefield officials today to ask whether our plans are on the right track. Most people seem to dread town officials, particularly the zoning-and-planning variety, who have a reputation for property-improvement prevention. Not these fabulous Ridgefield folks.

I’d met them once before, when we were farm shopping. Almost miraculous: they were so nice. They gave our renovation wish-list their provisional blessing, with no fuss at all. They were glad the place might stay a farm, and they wanted to help. Sally, our realtor, couldn’t get over it.

Today I went in with Paul (landscape architect), Andrew and Domenick (house architects) to present our master plan concept, plus our proposal to renovate the pink cape house in which we currently, temporarily, reside. (This is the house off a side road, on that second lot we were able to buy, with pasture that belongs with our farm.) A big moment, after months of study and drafting.

We’re doing right by the land, restoring the eco-system and waterway, clearing debris, moving the indoor arena, horse barn, and manure dump away from the stream. We’re not McMansion builders; we love the antique hay barn and charming farmhouse with its shaded porch. There’s every reason for the town to like our project, but still. As anyone who’s renovated a house knows, you can’t take anything for granted, approval-wise.

This meeting was nothing official—just us asking for thoughts and advice. It couldn’t have gone better. Still many hoops to jump through, but suddenly our dreams for the property seem less hypothetical, more truly possible.

Andrew et al.’s drawing of front-elevation improvements to the pink cape (minimal change; high impact):

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Our mountain of renovation-planning materials, including an example of Nelson Byrd Woltz’s lovely hand-colored property plans:

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