If you ask any resident of Newfield what they like most about their neighborhood, most will comment on the winning combination of living in peaceful surroundings and having quick and easy access to schools, recreation, shopping, downtown and commuting. Apparently, they are not alone in that sentiment. According to â€œAreavibes.comâ€ an internet website that tracks the livability of neighborhoods, Newfield was ranked #1 in Stamford.
Today Newfield is comprised primarily of medium to large single family homes on Â½ acre to 1 acre lots, but the original history of the area has deep roots in farming. Newfield was home to Puritan Poultry Farms, Mortimer Hess Farm, and most notably, Woodacre Farms, a 144 acre dairy farm which operated in the 1930â€™s and early 1940â€™s. Atherton Holder, the owner of Woodacre Farms was well known for raising prize winning dairy cows that grazed on the verdant pastures. The farm was sold in 1942 but continued operating as a dairy farm under the new name - Sterling Farms. In 1965 the officers of Hubbard Heights Golf Club dedicated their efforts to the eventual realization of another municipal golf course for the City of Stamford. Their determination led to the purchase of the property through the â€œOpen Landsâ€ program and Sterling Farms Golf Course opened in May of 1972 and often referred to as the "Public Country Club".
Sterling Farms is a recreational gem featuring a beautiful 18 hole golf course that has been ranked the #1 public course in Fairfield County, year after year. A driving range, putting green and 6 outdoor tennis courts complete the facilities with golf and tennis lessons available throughout the Summer.
If you thought Sterling Farms was only for the sporting enthusiast, think again, because theatre lovers have a home there as well. The Sterling Barn Theatre (now Kweskin Theatre) opened on July 14, 1972. Originally operated by Stamford Parks and Recreation, the theatre has been managed since 1992 by Curtain Call, Inc. a nonprofit arts organization. Year-round productions and workshops are presented by and for area residents in the Kweskin and Dressing Room Theatres. The Kweskin Theatre offers a more traditional experience while the Dressing Room Theatre is more caberet-style, with table seating and the ability to enjoy a "picnic" meal and a bottle of wine while watching the show. In 2012, Curtain Call started â€œShakespeare in the Parkâ€, an outdoor theatre experience where the audience can bring picnic baskets and lawn chairs to the â€œgreat lawnâ€ and enjoy an evening under the stars with a production of one of Shakespeareâ€™s classics.
Whether finishing up a round of golf, tennis match or leaving a show, you can grab a bite to eat at the restaurant on the complex featuring a lower level geared for golfers to pull up their carts during play and traditional dining upstairs. A large outdoor deck provides beautiful views of the course and glimpses of Long Island Sound. They also have live music on weekends. In addition, The Clubhouse at Sterling - a Banquet Hall, can be rented out for private parties or meetings and features a large Dining Room, Bar Area and Enclosed Porch.
If you enjoy living in peaceful surroundings but want to be close to conveniences and recreational pursuits, come take a look at the neighborhood of Newfield. It just may be the right fit for you!
Check out my recent sold listing at 48 Edward Place in the Newfield neighborhood
Finishing a basement can bring you a double bonus. It provides additional living space for a fraction of the cost of an addition to the house - the walls are already there, electrical and plumbing lines are easily accessible, and no additional foundation supports are necessary to start construction. Also, a well-finished basement can add value to your house when you go to sell it â€“ just donâ€™t expect to get back all the money that went into it.
The average basement remodel recoups about 69% of the original cost, according to the â€œ2015 Remodeling Impact Reportâ€ from the National Association of Realtors. As with most remodeling projects, rarely does anyone get a 100% return on their investment. Improvements should be done to both enhance your lifestyle and to increase your homesâ€™ selling potential.
Finished basements are particularly conducive for use as media rooms, music rooms, a home office or a recreation room. In all of these spaces, separation from the main living areas can be a plus!
Before you get started on your renovation, here are several things you need to know:
Know the Code
It would be great to convert unused space to additional living space, but does your basement meet the building code requirements for livable space? You must be in compliance with codes for ceiling height, and egress windows and/or doors. It's also time to check with your local municipality to see if you'll be required to get any permits. This is particularly important if you're planning plumbing, heating and electrical work, which most likely will need to be inspected.
Keep It Dry
Check for any water issues in your basement before beginning the planning process. Obvious signs are pools of water or drips coming through the below-grade walls or around windows and the bilco door. Check outside to make sure the ground is graded away from your foundation. Also look for cracks in your foundation walls and repair that damage if necessary. If there is a continuing water issue, there are a number of remedies available - from sump pumps to perimeter French drainage systems.
As mentioned above, ALWAYS get necessary permits and know the building codes before you start a basement renovation (even if your contractor says it might not be necessary - it will become necessary when it's time to sell). If you have concerns about ceiling height, consider installing a drywall ceiling rather than a drop ceiling. Drywall ceilings will give you a few more inches of headroom. Costs are comparable. Inserting plastic access panels into a drywall ceiling will provide easier access to valves in the pipes above.
A drop or suspended ceiling offers a way to both conceal and provide access to electrical and plumbing lines via the removable tiles. These ceilings will reduce the amount of overhead space available, so keep that in mind when planning.
Egress Windows and Doors
Basement living space requires emergency escape and rescue openings. Whether it is an egress window or an egress door, it has to open to the outside and open easily without the use of keys or tools. It must also follow code requirements for the height and width of basement egress windows.
Keep Out the Cold
Even after taking care of any moisture issues, your basement can become a damp place. Check with your contractor to see if you'll need to add a vapor barrier to the walls and/or floors prior to framing and finishing off these surfaces. You may also choose an insulation that includes a vapor barrier on both sides. Adding insulation will not only help control the temperature inside your basement, it may also add another layer of moisture control. Other options include a spray foam insulation. Be sure to check code requirements for this type.
Recessed lighting in a basement is a good option because it doesnâ€™t take up valuable overhead space that a light fixture would. Itâ€™s also easy to install if you decide to opt for a drop ceiling.
The Utility Room is Not for Finishing
Any space housing an HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) unit or units and water heaters need to remain clear, open, unfinished and ventilated. These spaces have specific code requirements for spacing and framing, plus you'll need access for inspection and/or repairs.
A finished basement can be terrific â€œfound spaceâ€ but before you start daydreaming about all itsâ€™ potential, make sure your basement is a good candidate for renovation - if not, thereâ€™s nothing wrong with extra storage!