From the August/September 2011 Issue:

Set in Stone

    Writer: Elizabeth Eckstein | Photographer: Marisa Pellegrini | Tile & Stone Designer: Anna Marie Fanelli | Architect: James Paragano, RA, AIA | Kitchen Designer: Peter Salerno, CMKBD | Interior Designer: Joseph Kremer |

Color, texture and pattern punctuate a modern English manor on a grand estate in Bergen County

Article Photo
enlarge | The Alpine home is clad in granite with a slate roof and copper eaves and gutters. The entry is a 2 1/4-inch-thick knotty alder door flanked by leaded glass. Through the porte-cochère is a motor court, garages and a cylindrical driveway that descends to a 25-space parking structure for the homeowners’ exotic car collection.
Tile and stonework can play a major role in any home, laying the foundation for color and decorating, setting a mood, enhancing architectural elements, stunning onlookers—all of which it does in an English manor-style home in Alpine. The style is one of understated elegance with a bit of glamour and is, the homeowner says, “absolutely livable, absolutely.”

It starts in the foyer behind a heavy knotty alder door with a floor of 16-by-16-inch Turkish amber distressed marble in a criss-cross frame of reclaimed wood planks (knot holes intact with rustic plugs). Other one-of-a-kind touches by tile and stone designer Anna Marie Fanelli of Floor & Decor in Tenafly continue through the 28,000-square-foot home in the form of tiny mosaics, intricate layouts, and marble and stone from around the world in the kitchen, bathrooms, utility rooms and children’s art and education rooms.

Architect James Paragano of James Paragano Architect in Morristown, a member of the American Institute of Architects, brought to life an English manor for today—elaborate in size, materials and details but not overly ornate. Old World features include a dramatic staircase, coffered ceilings, exposed trusses in one room and built-ins in almost every room, in poplar, pine, mahogany and cerejeira (native to Brazil and Peru), all fashioned to look like they were created 150 years ago. A glassed-in walkout basement opens to the back lawn, pool, cabana and tennis court. There’s also a high-tech home-automation center for lights, security and the like.
The kitchen was an award-winner for Peter Salerno, a certified master kitchen and bath designer and owner of Peter Salerno Inc. in Wyckoff. He won the Medium Kitchen and All Kitchen categories in the National Kitchen and Bath Association design competition for this kitchen. His backdrop was a floor similar to that in the foyer (made of reclaimed wood and 6-by-6-inch château blanc terra-cotta tiles) and cherry cabinetry with a walnut finish.

It’s a comfortable, functional kitchen with an Old World flavor: a 10-foot-long island with two-foot corbels and a 2 1/2-inch-thick granite countertop featuring marble-like veining and double-ogee edge, copper farm sink with basket-weave front, several cabinets with chicken-wire door inserts, and a ventilation hood handmade of timber, stucco and irregular octagonal pegs over the range. Appliances and activities are laid out ergonomically: prepping, cooking and cleaning areas where no extra steps need be taken. Spice cabinets are in columns flanking the range top, where there’s more than a dinner plate’s width of working space on the countertop.

A circa 1890s billiards light fixture over the island was found in the famous Paris flea market by Joseph Kremer of Joseph Kremer Inc. Interior Design in New York City. Kremer’s reach extends through some other areas of the house, in such details as a to-scale antique pendant lantern over the grand staircase, a caramel-colored leather Chesterfield sofa and Romanian-made loop-and-cut pile leaf-and-flower rug in the library, walls upholstered in a Ralph Lauren wool tartan plaid in the family room and a luxuriously large vanity in a main-floor powder room.

Article Photo
enlarge | The stone-and-wood floor in the foyer unites architectural and decorative details. Grand molding, flame-patterned crotch mahogany wainscoting and a wood-and-glass arched doorway to the dining room set off the delicate lighting, inlaid wood table and glowing honeycomb walls.
Tile Stylings
Tying it all together is tile and stonework that sets the standard for variety and creativity and gives rooms their individuality. That main-floor powder room exemplifies the work of tile and stone designer Anna Marie Fanelli of Floor & Decor, who cued the color throughout the rest of the home. Here, the floor comprises hexagon tiles in shades of slate, onyx and quartz bordered by 12-by-12-inch Inca gold marble; the colors match covers in a faux-bookcase wallpaper, a bold choice by the homeowner.

Like Salerno, Fanelli starts a relationship with new clients with a thorough interview, questioning them about color and style, likes and dislikes. The self-described “tile fashionista” uses unique designs and materials to enhance not overwhelm, like good jewelry. The tile and stonework in this home reflects the personalities of the homeowners as she read them—warm, welcoming and fashion-forward—so a palette of earth tones was the choice: greens, golds and browns.

Fanelli, the winner of a PROJECT:Green international award for the design of a girl’s bathroom in another project, worked her magic from basement level (with its gymnasium and half-size basketball court) to the main floor to the kitchen to the laundry room on the second floor.

In another powder room on the main floor of the home, Fanelli veered from the traditional wood-panel wainscoting or even porcelain tile and used instead a basket-weave of cream-colored crema marfil polished marble with inserts of marble mosaic in an ocean green shade that matches the dot in the diagonally laid marfil marble floor.

In a basement bathroom next to the half-basketball court, the magic is a herringbone floor of honey and timber onyx, slightly pillowed antique Italian poggio stone for the walls and a chair rail of Jerusalem gold marble designed to turn functional into fabulous. Fanelli’s choice of a tailored antique reproduction vanity with a mock-croc front that looks something like, well, a basketball, makes it all fit.

In the children’s art room, it’s the indestructible floor made of Madeiras Oklahoma gold porcelain tile: It looks like wood but is impervious to paint, glue and water (just hose it down if necessary).

Also on the main floor, the butler’s pantry-size dog room got the star treatment with bush-hammered Ramon Jerusalem stone. The floor and backsplash are done in three sizes of tiles—some Fanelli flipped to the flat reverse side, with the pattern laid diagonally on the floor and straight in the backsplash.

Meanwhile, Kremer added the texture of sturdy fireside furniture as well as a leggy bench in the foyer and Windsor chairs in the bright and airy breakfast area. The earth-tone palette has a modern yet classic look.

Another interior designer helped the homeowner take care of other rooms, including the boys’ bedrooms, playroom, and art and education rooms.

Article Photo
enlarge | The star of the master bathroom is a vine border (1-by-3-inch polished honey onyx and white thassos marble) around a “rug” made of stone, all set in a honey onyx floor of 12-by-12-inch honey onyx tiles. Anna Marie Fanelli created the tile design to offset the bright white tub, vanity and cabinetry. Faucets feature Swarovski crystal handles; countertops are honey onyx. The shower—with bench and top and side showerheads—repeats the intricate stone rug pattern as a framed “portrait.” The ceiling shows off two sizes of square onyx.
Another Level
Upstairs, the master bathroom wears white in the fixtures (Fanelli insists on it for its clean appearance) and Swarovski crystals on the faucet handles for spa-like glamour. Top billing goes to the herringbone floor of polished honey onyx and white thassos marble and polished honey onyx mosaic vine border that looks like a rug made of stone. The “rug” is repeated within a honey onyx frame in the shower, which is covered floor to ceiling in stone laid diagonally.

In the boys’ bathroom, it’s the vanity and camelback backsplash of dark emperador polished marble, direct from Paris via Fanelli, that steals the show. Fanelli used the same marble to create a tiny mosaic that wraps the walls and extends into the shower.
The homeowners agree that tile and stonework done with taste and forethought make for a seamless home that they rave about and guests applaud.

Elizabeth Eckstein, now living in the Dallas suburb of Irving, Texas, has written more than two dozen articles for Design NJ in the past five years.


SOURCES Overall: stone and tile design, Anna Marie Fanelli of Floor & Décor in Tenafly; architecture, built-ins and woodwork, James Paragano Architect in Morristown; kitchen design, Peter Salerno Inc. in Wyckoff; interior design of certain rooms, Joseph Kremer Inc. Interior Design in New York City. Foyer: table, Ebanista in New York City; bench, Artistic Frame in New York City; chandelier and sconces, homeowners. Kitchen: countertops, Stone Surfaces of Central Jersey in New Brunswick; backsplash, Artistic Tile in New York City; island stools, Minton-Spidell in New York City; Roman valance window treatments, designed by Joseph Kremer and fabricated by Emilie Mills in Lords Valley, Pennsylvania. Family Room: sofa, Lewis Mittman in New York City; table, Gustav Carroll in Los Angeles; window treatments, Emile Mills; rug, Stark Carpet in New York City; lamp, homeowner. Library: sofa, John Rosselli in New York City; rug, Stark Carpet; drapes, Emilie Mills; lamp, homeowner. Book Lover Powder Room: vanity, Joseph Kremer Inc. Interior Design; wallpaper, homeowner; custom window shades, Emilie Mills; lighting, homeowner. Garden Powder Room: tile and stone, sink, hardware, Floor & Decor. Dog Room: tile and stone, sink, hardware, Floor & Decor; cabinetry, James Paragano Architect. Master Bathroom: tile and stone, hardware, tub, Floor & Decor; custom window shades, Emilie Mills; lighting, homeowner. Boys’ Bedrooms: furnishings, homeowner. Boys’ Bathroom: tile and stone, vanity, lighting, Floor & Decor. Landing: custom window treatment, Emilie Mills; lantern, Ann-Morris Antiques in New York City; carpet, Stanton Carpet. Education Room: furnishings, homeowners. Education Room Bathroom: tile and stone, sink, hardware, lighting, Floor & Decor; mirror and vanity, homeowner. Gymnasium Bathroom: tile and stone, mirror, lighting, Floor & Decor. Basketball Court Bathroom: lighting, Floor & Decor; mirror, home­owner.

Download the complete resource guide with contact information (pdf)