Sandra Saiger: The Owner of Mount Kisco’s Blithewold Home Settles In
After years of flipping houses for a savvy profit, the Westchester native puts down roots in Bedford Hills.
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The shop was doing well and she was resigned to living in houses that were merely investments when Roger Goldman came into Saiger’s life 11 years ago. It all began, she says, with “a wrong telephone number,” blossoming from a misdial into everything right. When Goldman, a New York City-based attorney, married Saiger and came to the property, it was a game-changer. Goldman dug in, Saiger became a nester, and the couple started installing the backyard of their own dreams.
A large portion of the property is shaded by trees—most of the backyard is under the umbrella of a majestic, 120-year-old copper beech, one of several that stretch down the street. “It may have once been one huge property,” Goldman surmises. “In an aerial view, you see the copper beeches all in a line going east.” In addition, there are spruces and pines scattered throughout the Goldman-Saiger landscape, lending intimacy. Originally, there was an all-embracing, 100-foot-tall linden (“messy as can be,” says Saiger) behind the house. “I used to worry what the place would look like if anything ever happened to that tree.” The unthinkable occurred: In 2008, lightning struck the linden. The replacement was a southern magnolia that is a much neater solution, but requires burlap wrapping for winter protection.
The prevailing shade had definite benefits, but there was the disadvantage that a pool could not fit easily into the picture. Indeed, the only obvious space for one was partially obstructed by a stone ledge. “A hill of stone came out to the middle of the backyard,” Saiger recalls. If a pool was going to be part of the future, a big chunk of that hill had to go. After a little dynamite, a section of the escarpment was history. To soften the remaining ledge, Saiger had stone terraces built into its crown, planting them with ground covers. “It looked strange at first,” she admits. But now that they have grown in, she says it’s brilliant. And the pool has become a gathering place for the family—with plenty of umbrellas and outdoor furniture in place. Saiger had the insight to give the pool the large footprint of a bluestone patio. A flower-packed perennial garden and a little goldfish pond (originally stocked by two of the neighbor’s goldfish that grew fruitful and multiplied) complete the scene immediately behind the house.