IN THE KNOW – Spring
Moffly Media: Home Made
By Ann Kaiser
Provided to KLAFFS exclusively by Moffly Media
Photographs by Amy Vischio
Husband-and-Wife Design Team Hayden and Melissa Lindsay Create Their Own Family-Friendly Home
Husband-and-wife team Hayden and Melissa Lindsay took a Fairfield fixer-upper and custom-fit it to the way they live: with two young sons and great style. Together, they pulled off a complete overhaul and created a kid-friendly and organically glamorous home. It doesn’t hurt that he’s the owner of the Fairfield-based construction firm Lindsay Builders and she’s the interior designer at New Canaan’s Pimlico Interiors—but, as any design pro knows, sometimes your own project is the most challenging of all. Together, they stripped the place down and built it back up, making it a home fit for this design-inclined family of four.
How long have you lived here?
We purchased the home in 2007. It was a one-and-a-half-story Cape and a complete mess. I’ll never forget showing my mom; she couldn’t finish the tour because the smell was so bad. But we wanted a complete fixer-upper. We essentially took it all down and rebuilt two years later.
What were the main things you wanted when you planned the design?
It was most important for us to have an open floor plan; we installed a steel beam to create a completely open space from our kitchen through to our family room and living room. We also wanted a completely finished third floor space where the kids could run and play and have free rein with all their toys.
Is this the first project you’ve worked on together?
We have worked on many smaller-scale projects for clients together, but this was the first house we built together. It was a lot to take on with a toddler and a pregnant wife, and it feels like we climbed a mountain to finally get it done. Now, it feels luxurious to just enjoy the house—no dust, no workers.
What materials did you choose to work with?
On the exterior, we used maintenance-free materials like PVC trim and Hardieboard siding. I also installed high-efficiency mechanical systems and materials in the building envelope to reduce our utility bills and footprint.
Was your approach on your own home different than on others you’ve built and designed?
So many of our clients have young children, which really requires smart design choices for functionality and durability. It’s a reality that the house is going to take a beating—so it’s wise to choose things like indoor/outdoor fabrics and hides and wool floor coverings that can be cleaned easily and wear well over time. But, in the end, sometimes you just have to arm yourself with a Magic Eraser and hope for the best.
What is your favorite room?
With young boys, our house is often loud and chaotic. Our master bedroom feels like an “ahhh” every time we walk in. The soothing color palette and sophisticated lines of the chaise and headboard magically make me feel calmer the moment I step inside this space.
Since the boys are young, how did you design their rooms to work for them now and later?
It was so important for me to design rooms that were fun but still sophisticated—they could belong to a five-year-old, fifteen-year-old or be suitable for a guest to stay in. The tonal stripes in one room feels sophisticated and whimsical at the same time. The reading nook in the other room (which we’ve nicknamed “the treehouse” for its view of a big sycamore tree) is one of our favorite spots to read with the kids. We can all fit, and it can double up as a sleeping spot for kids that stay over.
What are some of your favorite memories in this house?
This will always be the home we started our family and life together. It ended up being a much larger project than we anticipated as first-time home buyers eight years ago. I put so much time into every detail and doing a lot of the work (all the plumbing and electrical) myself, on the side, and late at nights. I will never forget the night Melissa was nine months pregnant (we weren’t living in the house at the time) and I slept in the basement overnight because I was working so late and wanted to start early the next morning.
Why did you choose to build in Fairfield?
We absolutely love Fairfield. Growing up in Darien and having my business in New Canaan—and with Hayden coming from New Zealand—Fairfield offers a low-key vibe, a coastal location and a town neither of us had a past with where we could start our own life together.
Have you made any other changes since the original major overhaul?
We just added solar panels, and I am finally getting to outfit our mudroom with custom built-in cabinetry. It’s a room that we never got to finishing when we did the renovation. Now, I’ll have to find the next project to tackle on our house.
Is this your forever home?
While we are enjoying the house complete and no construction right now…I think it’s impossible to think that a husband-and-wife designer/builder duo will not feel the urge to take on another project sometime in the future. We shall see!
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