Essex Fells, New Jersey

The Backstory

A single room sold him on the early 1900’s Tudor in Essex Fells, where he and his wife moved their young family. However, what began with a Ralph Lauren-inspired makeover of the family room evolved into a multi-phase project that included a top-to-bottom kitchen redesign and a dining room and powder room refresh.

The Design Brief

A contemporary and cozy take on tradition that maximizes every inch of space and showcases cherished furnishings.

The Inspiration

A Little Bit Country. A beloved oversized sofa and side chair led the design direction in the den, where the owners wanted to preserve the original molding and cabinetry and add ample seating. We layered area rugs to create dimension, covered the walls in juicy green grass cloth, upholstered accent pieces in plaid-on-plaid stripes and herringbone, and installed a bar in a former closet – complete with a wine fridge! Big changes to the kitchen’s long, narrow layout improved efficiency and aesthetics, including raising the windows, relocating the sink, and creating visual movement with marble stone floor tiles in a small herringbone pattern. Research into English country kitchens informed the blue and green palette and choice of materials (like the apron front sink). And fulfilling her dream of an island added a prep sink and open and closed storage (cookbooks and mixing bowls are now close at hand.) We even carved out banquette seating in a little-used corner, and flanked an existing column with shallow ledges to create an evergreen gallery for his, and the children’s, artwork. In the dining room, the details pull everything together: floral upholstery on the chair backs, a built-in mullioned glass-fronted cabinet painted green, and original wall sconces dressed up with chambray linen shades.