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The Dynamic Duo

Transforming a celebrated cottage into a thoroughly modern home



Photos by Rana Faure

At 1,900 square feet, this Oscaleta Road home is small compared to the Ridgefield average, which measures in at 2,900 square feet. But to Daniel Levine and Matthew Farnsworth, two formerly city-trapped Broadway actors, it’s their own private manse.

“I thought that I’d never leave New York,” says Levine, whose Broadway credits include Les Misérables, Chicago, Mamma Mia!, Jesus Christ Superstar, Tommy, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Little Shop of Horrors. This summer he played Nathan Detroit in Guys & Dolls in Seattle and Minneapolis. They’ve lived in Manhattan since the early 1990s, then a few years ago the two decided to buy an apartment together. However, they soon realized that spending more than $1 million for a small apartment was crazy. “I love digging in the dirt, listening to birds, and just being outdoors,” says Levine. “Here you can get so much more space. Plus you can just let the dogs outside. You don’t have to walk them all the time.”

Levine’s brother and family live in Redding and introduced them to Deb McCarty of William Raveis. Originally scoping three bedrooms, they agreed to view this two-bedroom 1940s cottage, up a windy driveway just off West Mountain. “At first I wouldn’t look at it,” says Farnsworth, but Levine insisted. “When we saw it, I loved it, and Dan said no.” Explains Levine: “It had a nice yard, but I didn’t like the house.” Eventually they both saw the potential and were intrigued a bit by the home’s lineage.

Built in 1942, the stone home’s one-time owner was Jolie Gabor—mother to Hungarian-born movie stars Eva, Magda, and Zsa Zsa Gabor. She was married to Count Odon de Szigethy and ran a big jewelry business in the city and eventually sold the house in 1970, but left her glamourous touches behind. The next owners added a master bedroom and some modernization. “When we first looked at the house, there were paintings of the Gabor daughters on the wall, but the owners sold them on eBay,” says Farnsworth, incredulous. “We’re still trying to find them.”

“We did a few things after we closed on the house,” Levine says, in a wild understatement. “We took down a wall here,” explains Farnsworth, standing in the wide open main part of the house between the kitchen area and the living room. They raised the headers over doorways, which gives a real sense of more space. “We liked the knotty pine beams, but put drywall over much of it, leaving them exposed on the ceiling. It felt too much like a cabin.” They put in a new bathroom, hardwood floors, 22 new windows, and three-zoned central heating and AC. Plus a new roof with solar panels for heating the pool. The main entryway to the house was closed in to make way for a waterfall feature that welcomes guests approaching from the side of the house.

Outside, they fenced in much of the two acres and gave the mature gardens a total makeover. “I cleared away a lot of stuff, and brought in some great new plants and flowers,” says Levine. “I also added a few birdhouses.” To complement the existing pool, they added a small poolhouse, deck, and hot tub. “And we did it all in six weeks,” interjects Farnsworth, “because Dan was leaving for an extended show.” By “we” they mean Mark Ciferri of Atlantic Building.

In addition to Farnsworth’s Broadway credits of Thoroughly Modern Millie, Cats, The Who’s Tommy, and Curtains, he also works behind the scenes with the talent, a calling he fell into when he was hired to help the cast of the original Rent prep for the show. Now he is a sought-after vocal teacher for movies and Broadway shows. Levine meanwhile runs a large tutoring business for high-school and college students while he’s not in a show.

“We love to have friends up to just hang out,  and we garden and swim in the pool,” says Levine. When they venture out, it is to Sarah’s Wine Bar (where they performed one night), Luc’s, Mannen, and the Cutting Board. And to shop, they go to Olley Court on Main Street and a few other shops. “Pretty much every day I find myself at Ridgefield Hardware,” says Farnsworth.

“We’re still totally connected to the city, but this has greatly improved our quality of life,” says Levine. “He’s not yet Farmer Dan,” Farnsworth jokes. “We’re still city boys, but I don’t know for how long.”

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November 2017

Exhibit on view November 4 – 26, 2017 A comprehensive exhibit showcasing the achievements, careers, designs and personal accomplishments of the architects at the center of New...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

Calling all tech enthusiasts, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science club members, authors, artists, students, entrepreneurs, crafter, and makers of any kind—join us this November for the...

Cost: Free to attend

Where:
varies
, CT


Website »

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Take part in a unique and immersive art and music experience with award-winning ‘SCAPE Trio. As the violinist, violist, and cellist play, surrounded by the photographs of the exhibition...

Cost: Free for members or with Museum admission

Where:
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
Telephone: 203-438-4519
Contact Name: Emily Devoe
Website »

More information

The year 2017 marks the 47th Anniversary of perennial classic-rock favorite, America.  Founding members, Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell (along with former band mate Dan Peek) met in high...

Cost: $90

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
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Exhibit on view November 4 – 26, 2017 A comprehensive exhibit showcasing the achievements, careers, designs and personal accomplishments of the architects at the center of New...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

Sodexo will host a Thanksgiving Dinner from 4 to 8:30 p.m. in the Campus Center Marketplace on the university's Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. Students can use a meal...

Cost: $9.75

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Exhibit on view November 4 – 26, 2017 A comprehensive exhibit showcasing the achievements, careers, designs and personal accomplishments of the architects at the center of New...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

The Institute for Holistic Health Studies at WCSU will host "Sahaja Yoga Meditation" Tuesday, Nov 14 at 7 p.m. in Room 103 of Warner Hall on the WCSU Midtown campus, 181 White St. in...

Cost: Free

Where:
WCSU Midtown Campus
181 White Street
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Sodexo will host an Italian Elite Pop-Up Dinner (with upcharge) from 4 to 8:30 p.m. in the Student Center Restaurant on the university's Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Students can...

Cost: $19.75

Where:
WCSU Midtown Campus
181 White Street
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »

More information

Exhibit on view November 4 – 26, 2017 A comprehensive exhibit showcasing the achievements, careers, designs and personal accomplishments of the architects at the center of New...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

The Olate Dogs are the winning participants from Season 7 of America’s Got Talent, scooping up the $1,000,000 prize and headlining The Palazzo in Las Vegas. Led by Richard Olate and his son...

Cost: $30

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

A panel discussion featuring artists whose work is currently on exhibit in the Gallery will be moderated by Associate Professor of Illustration Jack Tom at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15,...

Cost: Free

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Exhibit on view November 4 – 26, 2017 A comprehensive exhibit showcasing the achievements, careers, designs and personal accomplishments of the architects at the center of New...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

On Thursday, November 16th the Housatonic Museum of Art will present a fascinating lecture entitled “Pirates: Fact & Fiction” with historian, John R. Wright.    The...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Housatonic Museum of Art
900 Lafayette Blvd
Bridgeport, CT  06604
View map »


Sponsor: Housatonic Museum of Art
Telephone: 203-332-5052
Contact Name: Robbin Zella
Website »

More information

2nd Show Added SNL comedian Jim Breuer’s life-long love of heavy metal music and the desire to start his own band comes together in a hilarious and satisfying show that mixes comedy and...

Cost: $37.50

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

WCSU will present the Midtown Coffeehouse Thursday, Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. in the Colonial Corner in the Student Center on the university's Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. The coffeehouse...

Cost: Free

Where:
WCSU Midtown Campus
181 White Street
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Come create new memories in a magical setting of over 100 holiday trees, elves and pixie dust. Enjoy shopping, live entertainment, raffle prizes and more! Featuring special kids events:...

Cost: Admission: Adults: $10 • Children & Seniors: $5• Kids under 5: Free

Where:
Crowne Plaza Hotel
18 Old Ridgebury Road
EXIT 2, I-84
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Ann's Place
Telephone: 1-866-907-2314
Contact Name: Jack Bouffard
Website »

More information

Exhibit on view November 4 – 26, 2017 A comprehensive exhibit showcasing the achievements, careers, designs and personal accomplishments of the architects at the center of New...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

The WCSU Childcare Center will host an event to raise funds for the center on Friday, Nov. 17. At 6:30 p.m., guests will enjoy tapas and a cash bar in Room 241 of the Visual and Performing Arts...

Cost: $40

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »

More information

Jim Breuer remains one of today’s top entertainers and continues to win over audiences with his off-the-wall humor! Named one of Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All...

Cost: $55

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

Music on the Hill presents a concert in tune with the changing seasons, performed by 12 pro singers with Ellen Dickinson, conductor, David H. Connell, piano, and Carolyn Engle, cello....

Cost: $20 in advance, $25 at the door; students free

Where:
Wilton Presbyterian Church
48 New Canaan Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Music on the Hill
Telephone: 203-529-3133
Contact Name: Music on the Hill
Website »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

SEE LOUNSBURY HOUSE TRANSFORMED INTO A CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND! Tickets are on sale now for the 18th Biennial Tree Festival and Unique Holiday Boutique. November 17 – 19 Friday 10:00AM...

Where:
Lounsbury House
316 Main Street
, CT
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-6962
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Come create new memories in a magical setting of over 100 holiday trees, elves and pixie dust. Enjoy shopping, live entertainment, raffle prizes and more! Featuring special kids events:...

Cost: Admission: Adults: $10 • Children & Seniors: $5• Kids under 5: Free

Where:
Crowne Plaza Hotel
18 Old Ridgebury Road
EXIT 2, I-84
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Ann's Place
Telephone: 1-866-907-2314
Contact Name: Jack Bouffard
Website »

More information

Don’t miss this dynamic workshop, exploring found objects, assemblage, and three-dimensional craft. Look to the giant wreath titled Conn Con by Anissa Mack as inspiration, and use twine,...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
Telephone: 203-438-4519
Contact Name: Emily Devoe
Website »

More information

Exhibit on view November 4 – 26, 2017 A comprehensive exhibit showcasing the achievements, careers, designs and personal accomplishments of the architects at the center of New...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

WCSU will host a 5 p.m. planetarium show Saturday, Nov. 18, followed by telescope viewing of the sky from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Westside Observatory and Planetarium on the university's Westside...

Cost: Free

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »

More information

   Get in the holiday spirit and join us for the 3rd Annual Taps & Trees Craft Beer Fest being held on Saturday, 11/18/2017, 6:30 – 10:30 pm at the Crowne Plaza. Taps &...

Cost: Online price: $65.00 Door price: $75.00

Where:
Crowne Plaza Hotel
18 Old Ridgebury Road
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Ann's Place
Telephone: 203-790-6568
Contact Name: Jack Bouffard
Website »

More information

The Office of Alumni Relations invites you to attend the “Evita” Cocktail Reception & Production on Saturday, Nov. 18. Cocktail Reception starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Drawing Room of...

Cost: $30

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »

More information

After three past sold-out performances, Darlene Love returns with her band and the DL Singers to celebrate the Holiday season once again!  As one of the biggest voices of the 60s, Darlene Love...

Cost: $60

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

Legendary reggae artist Yellowman will perform at 8 p.m. in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the WCSU Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. and opening...

Cost: $20

Where:
WCSU Midtown Campus
181 White Street
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »

More information

SEE LOUNSBURY HOUSE TRANSFORMED INTO A CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND! Tickets are on sale now for the 18th Biennial Tree Festival and Unique Holiday Boutique. November 17 – 19 Friday 10:00AM...

Where:
Lounsbury House
316 Main Street
, CT
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-6962
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
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