A Fairfield Home for a Growing Family

October 25, 2021

Text by Tovah Martin     Photography by Tim Lenz

As soon as she received the news that she was expecting a second child, interior designer Dana Ferraro went looking for a larger home. The five bedrooms tucked into a Fairfield house ticked many boxes, but the home’s sunroom clinched the sale. Ferraro walked into the room, with its greenhouse roof and stone floor, felt the sunbeams on her face, and knew she was home. With just a little tweaking, she determined the house would fit her family like a glove.

Ferraro found the space in December 2018, when she was still mourning the loss of Molly Patton, her best friend and partner at Molly Patton Design. From the moment Patton hired Ferraro to work at a New York City magazine, the two bonded. In fact, Ferraro and her husband followed the Pattons from the city to Fairfield where Ferraro ultimately joined her friend’s interior design firm.

When Patton passed away in 2015, Ferraro dove into growing the business in Patton’s memory. The skills she acquired in the process would be utilized as she perfected her family’s new home.

From the street, you would never guess that what appears to be a one-story ranch packs 4,000 square feet of spaciousness; due to the property’s sloping grade, the home’s true two-floor colonial character isn’t revealed until viewed from the back. The front entrance opens to the upper bedroom level with a staircase that descends to the family spaces. Part of Ferraro’s challenge was to make the entrance flow gracefully, so visitors are naturally drawn down to the kitchen, sunroom, and family room. She achieved her goal by wrapping both the entry and stairway with Kravet’s Pear Tree wallpaper. Ferraro also kept furniture in the area to a minimum to encourage movement down into the living spaces.

Originally, the lower level also included a formal dining room, but the kitchen needed an update to meet the demands of a growing family, and the dining area felt redundant. That’s where Ferraro’s father came in.

Builder Ken DiStefano didn’t think twice before accepting his daughter’s project. “We think alike,” he admits. He agreed with Ferraro’s plan to bump out the space by a foot, installing a wall of windows in the kitchen that allows panoramic views of the backyard’s pool and play area. “The cabinets were the toughest issue,” DiStefano notes. The windows meant forfeiting upper cupboard space, but a thirteen-and-a-half-foot-long quartzite island and a butler’s pantry both provide storage.

Meanwhile, Ferraro went to work furnishing the house. She focused on creamy hues on the walls to create continuity in the lower living areas, introducing patterns with cheerful upholstery, rugs, and pillows, while rattan, bamboo, and wicker add texture and a sense of informality. Upstairs, the designer grew adventurous with a primary bedroom clad in Katie Ridder wallpaper and an adjacent dressing room painted aubergine. The children’s rooms are equally vivid, especially four-year-old Leo’s space, which accents his collection of stuffed lions. “I have the zoo room,” he proclaims.

“Leo is already attuned to color and pattern,” Ferraro proudly notes. Clearly her son inherited that penchant from his mom. Or maybe he soaked it up from his surroundings—Ferraro, after all, values intentionality. That’s why round Federal-style mirrors repeat throughout the house: they remind her of a purchase she made with Patton. In fact, every Ferraro project has some Molly Patton sprinkled in. “We shared so much,” she says.

Project Team 
Interior design:  Dana Ferraro, Molly Patton Design
Kitchen builder: Ken DiStefano, DiStefano Builders