Sitting in the backyard of the William O. Seymour House, it’s hard to believe you are in the center of Ridgefield instead of on a rural estate. Mature specimen and screening trees surround the impressive residence creating a sense of privacy hard won by the implementation of a well thought out landscape plan. The inviting saltwater pool babbles as the waterfall spills into it from the spa, while at the same time, an outdoor fire crackles in the pagoda fireplace.
This incredible setting is what drew Michele and Charles Gay to this stately circa 1866 historic property at 1 Parley Lane a few years ago. Named for a railroad magnate and longtime Ridgefield resident, the rambling Colonial is perfectly sequestered between High Ridge Ave and Main Street and was given a new lease on life with a spectacular renovation. Now it’s time to pass the baton to a new owner, and the Gays have listed the property for sale at $4.5 million with Heather Neumann Salaga of Houlihan Lawrence Real Estate.
“We have loved living here,” said Michele Gay. “When we moved in, the house didn’t function well for a modern family, so we really took our time to renovate the whole interior and thought about absolutely every detail right down to USB ports in kitchen drawers. The fact that you can dry your wet clothes after skiing or tobogganing directly on the radiant-heated mudroom floor is an unexpected plus,” she continued.
Together with the trusted direction of Kristine D’Elisa of KKD Architects and Molly Hirsch of Molly Hirsch Interiors, Michele and her family transformed the formal house into a very livable, contemporary-styled entertaining gem.
“I trust these two professional women so implicitly and they always make great decisions, so I just let them take a lot of liberties with their design and choices,” said Gay.
And design they did!
Starting with the front staircase, which was relocated to create a better flow, every room was reconfigured or touched in some way. On the main floor, the kitchen was bumped out to create a walk-in pantry, while the mudroom was expanded, and the back staircase moved. Adding a ceiling to that area also allowed for the creation of the library and quiet room on the second floor.
Alongside the major architectural changes, the residence received beautiful cosmetic upgrades including fireplace surrounds, a kitchen makeover and expansion stemming from Michele’s love of the Farrow & Ball ‘Light Blue’ kitchen cabinet color, removal of an outdated and poorly located wet bar in the central hallway connecting the family room and kitchen, and a reworked primary suite complete with a new entryway, integrated wall-to-wall wardrobes, a dressing room and updated ensuite. The millwork in the two-story foyer is second-to-none, and the third floor bunkroom and kitchenette—while being extremely practical—add a touch of whimsy for the couple’s three children and their friends.
For Molly Hirsch of Molly Hirsch Interiors, the beauty is in the details. A versatile designer, she had worked with Michele on several previous projects and understood her fun and colorful side.
“The parlor when you first walk into the house is like a jewel box to me,” she said. “The wallpaper on the ceiling adds a little fun to the space and the lighting makes the whole room glow. Paying attention to details like the light fixtures is important. They are like the jewelry of the house – they set the tone for the space.”
According to Hirsch, the owners really like to use the whole house, so a lot of time and consideration went into making sure every space functioned well for the family.
“Being able to represent this iconic property is an honor and privilege,” said Heather Neumann Salaga, the Realtor selected to represent the listing. “When Michele and Charley reached out to me, I couldn’t believe the transformation they’d made to the home. Every room is a work of art, and every design choice deliberate — decisions that make this residence stand out from any other. The balance of stately, historic presence with welcoming warmth and modern convenience at every turn is truly phenomenal. It is one-of-a-kind.”
For more information about the home, or to tour this beautiful property, please contact Heather Neumann Salaga of Houlihan Lawrence Real Estate at email@example.com or 203-770-8591. •