When a young couple decided to trade in their Manhattan digs for a stately house in the suburbs, the key was to find a bucolic backdrop for raising their two small children that wasnt too far from the city they called home. Settling on the quiet town of Rumson, New Jerseywhich is also just a short ferry ride into downtown Wall Streetthese homeowners fell for a shingled, Colonial Revival home built in 1922 by esteemed architectural firm Polhemus & Coffin. And when it came time to tailoring the interiors to their bustling lifestyle, they enlisted New Yorkbased designer Christopher Stevens to connect the dots.
This home is a decorators dream, explains Stevens, who created an effortless flow and cohesion from room to room, ultimately turning this century-old house into a modern home, reflecting its inhabitants. This family is young and unfussy, so first we needed to clean up and unveil the exceptional architecture. After that, we took a gradual approach, building up layer by layer. When implementing this nuanced approach to building each room, Stevens had to consider two opposing aesthetics: The husband, who had a more classic-traditional sensibility, and the wife, who leaned toward a more sleek and modern vibe. The good news was that I had good bones, great proportions, and superb conditions to work with, muses the designer, who noted the propertys similarities to the setting of the 1940s hit The Philadelphia Story, starring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart.
Like its inspiration, the house needed to both enhance and fade into the daily rhythms of life. I sought to create spaces that have a natural flow and feel connected, but Im always cautious about making things too tight and strict. Each layer that gets added must consider what came before it. Its a balancing acttheres room for points of interest, but no one aspect should overpower the rest. Case in point: The formal dining room exhibits a perfect fusion between contrasting styles and the regal nature of the architecture. This space had previously been covered in an apple-green printed wallpaper with French-country furnishings and highly contrasting woodwork, says Stevens. To contemporize things I unified the entirety of the wall surface with a Farrow & Ball emulsion and kept the overall color palette limited to gray, white, black, and blue. The real focal point is the Austrian Sputnik chandelier, which I tracked down at auctionlighting is always a place where you can edge it up, even in a traditional interior.
For more information visit http://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/christopher-stevens-rumson-1920s-colonial-revival-in-new-jersey-gets-a-modern-makeover
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