From the October/November 2011 Issue:

Shore Sophisticate

    Writer: Judy Jeannin | Photographer: Barry Halkin | Designer: Joseph A Berkowitz Interiors | Architect: Todd Allen Miller, AIA |

New home balances formal and casual in seaside Margate

Article Photo
enlarge | Multiple roof levels, two large porches and handsome stonework add visual interest to this Margate summer home designed by architect Todd Allen Miller, AIA, of QMA Architects & Planners in Ventnor.
The mandate was clear. Create a beach house devoid of clichés. There would be no walls washed with pretty pastels or fabrics with seashell motifs. Seaside references would be kept to a minimum. “Their goal was to have a sophisticated beach house that is casual but inviting,” interior designer Joseph Berkowitz says of clients who were building a home on a modestly sized lot in Margate. “They wanted it to be atypical of the shore. They wanted it to be hip and unique.”

Berkowitz joined the project when the home was little more than a set of architectural blueprints. The designer, whose firm is Joseph A. Berkowitz Interiors Inc. in Penn Valley, Pennsylvania, had worked with the couple previously, so he began the project with a clear understanding of the family dynamics. “They are a fun-loving family,” he says of the foursome. “They do a lot of entertaining. The kids’ friends are always around.”

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enlarge | A deep melon wall adds drama to the foyer, which also features a deep khaki shade that’s repeated on the walls of the living room, dining room and kitchen. A striped runner leads the eye to the second-floor landing, which is accessorized to complement the foyer.
Hurdles to Overcome
The home design created some interesting challenges. Because the two-story house was built on the footprint of a much smaller bungalow, porches were added on both levels to compensate for the lack of lawn. The convergence of varying roof levels in the area designated for the master bedroom created an unusual angular ceiling. The family room is rather modest in size, while the living room, dining area and kitchen flow into each other.

The family also wanted the house completed as quickly as possible, always a challenge for interior designers. “We had eight months to select everything and get in,” Berkowitz says. “We picked everything while sitting in their primary residence. We did not go out and look at a single piece of furniture. They had an extreme amount of trust in me.”

The first step was to do the furniture layouts and agree on the furniture and its placement. Berkowitz showed the clients pictures of furniture, accent pieces and accessories as well as fabric and paint samples. He offered several alternatives for each room. “I spent a lot of time analyzing placement, the shape of things, the scale and the patterns and colors. I offered four to six groups of fabrics for each room. Sometimes what you think you want doesn’t look that good. This way you get to select from a lot of different options and it saves time.”

Ultimately, he used a mix of fabrics, textures, woods and metals to create a look that maintains a fine balance between formal and casual. Wicker pops up throughout the house in a nod to the shore setting, often played against a more formal element. In the living room, for example, sofas and chairs are covered in a bold damask-like print.

To create visual interest he used four matching chairs rather than a sofa in the seating area. He created a large coffee table by massing four smaller tables—a technique he repeated in the family room. “I opted to have the chairs rather than another sofa to get the detail of multiple arms and the details of the back pillows. I turned the coffee tables so the slatted shelves under the glass top don’t run in the same direction.”

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enlarge | Simple molding softens the converging ceiling angles in the master bedroom. Berkowitz juxtaposes soft fabric and rustic woods to add interest to the tranquil room with light gray walls.
Depth with Details
Stone wraps the base of the house, and Berkowitz repeated that element in the stacked-stone backsplash in the elegant white kitchen with its dark brown, honed granite countertops. “The stone creates a rustic, outdoor feel,” he says.

Metal accents are found everywhere —on sconces and lamps, as edging on mirrors, in accent pieces. Like the mix of woods and furniture styles, they add spice to the décor.

A lively mix of colors and prints plays against subtle khaki walls in the living room, dining room and kitchen. Because the rooms flow into each other in a large L-shape, Berkowitz used punches of color to relate the spaces. The bright orange pillows on the chairs and sofas are reflected in a lamp base and draperies in the living room and in the shades on the chandelier above the dining table. The subtle windowpane plaid on the dining room chairs is echoed on the woven hemp backs on the chairs pulled up to the breakfast bar in the kitchen.

The family room is a favorite with the youngest members of the family and their friends. A large flat-screen television hangs on one of the walls with bold stripes fashioned from textured wallpaper. Beneath is a limed-oak shelf and cabinet to store audio equipment. Two sofas provide conversation and viewing space.

The upstairs is home to a master suite, the son’s room and the daughter’s personal space. There is also a guest room. Each has a unique flavor. The master suite is tranquil and sophisticated, the daughter’s room bright and airy, the son’s dark and masculine.

Thanks to Berkowitz, architect Todd Allen Miller, AIA, of QMA Archi­tects & Planners in Ventnor and builder Mark Gallagher of Margate, the house achieves exactly what the owners had hoped for. The wrap-around porch and open floor plan make it ideal for entertaining, while the scale of the rooms makes it a comfortable family retreat.

Judy Jeannin, a regular contributor to Design NJ, writes from her home in Hillsdale.


SOURCES Overall: interior designer, Joseph A. Berkowitz Interiors Inc. in Penn Valley, Pennsylvania; architect, Todd Allen Miller, AIA, of QMA Architects&Planners in Vent­nor; builder, Mark Gallagher Inc. Custom Builder in Margate. Porch: seating, Frontgate in West Chester, Ohio. Foyer: carpet runner, Webster Carpet Showcase in Cherry Hill; console, bench, mirror, Sarreid Ltd. in Wilson, North Carolina (T); bench fabric, Lee Jofa in Bethpage, New York (T); candleholders, Global Views in New York City (T); accessories, Sarreid and Oly Studios in Berkeley, California. Living Room: draperies, designed by Joseph A. Berkowitz Interiors and made by Dun-Rite Decorators in Philadelphia (T) with fabric by Robert Allen/Beacon Hill Showrooms; sofa, Linrene Furniture in Siler City, North Carolina (T); chairs, LaCor Furniture Industries Inc. in Garden Grove, California (T); fabric for sofa and chairs Robert Allen/Beacon Hill Showrooms; cocktail tables and side table, Palecek in Rich­mond, California (T); console table, Sarreid Ltd.; lamp, Stray Dog Designs in Chat­ta­nooga, Tennessee (T); accessories and custom pillows, Joseph A. Berkowitz Interiors. Kitchen/Dining Area: cabinetry design and installation, CVL Designs LLC in Northfield; backsplash, Daltile in Dallas; dining table, Eddy West in Clarkesville, Georgia (T); dining chairs, DRNC in Conover, North Carolina; loveseat, Linrene; fabric for love seat and chair, Kravet; chandelier, Oly Studios; pendants, Justice Design Group in Los Angeles; window treatment, designed by Joseph A. Berkowitz Interiors and made by Dun-Rite Decorators with Kravet fabric. Family Room: cocktail table, Global Views; Moroccan pouf, Jalan Jalan Miami in Miami (T); built-ins, CBR Woodworking in Hainesport; wallcovering, Zoffany in Teterboro (T); accessories and sofa pillows with fabric from Kravet and Robert Allen/Beacon Hill Showrooms, Joseph A. Berkowitz Interiors. Powder Room: mirror, Palecek; vanity, de la Frontera in Belton, Texas; wall shelf, Global Views; accessories, Joseph A. Berkowitz Interiors. Master Bed­room: console, Furniture Classics Ltd. in Nor­folk, Vir­ginia (T); urns, Joseph A. Berkowitz Interiors; window treatments, designed by Joseph A. Berkowitz Interiors and made by Dun-Rite Decorates with fabric from Robert Allen/Beacon Hill Showrooms; bench, Sar­reid Ltd.; upholstered chairs, Pearson (T); Lucite side table, Oly Studios; lamps, Currey & Co. in Atlanta (T); carpeting, Fabrica Fine Carpet and Rugs in Santa Ana, California (T). Master Bathroom: cabinetry, Mark Gallagher Inc. Custom Builder in Margate; faucets, Grohe in Bloomingdale, Illinois; sconces, Fore­cast Lighting; Mirrors, Oly Studios. Daughter’s Bedroom: daybed, Fashion Bed Group in Chicago; nightstands, Ballard Designs in West Chester, Ohio; black garden tables, wicker rocker, custom cushion, pillows and drapery design, Joseph A. Berkowitz Interiors; window treatment fabric Pindler & Pindler in Moorpark, California (T); rocker cushion fabric, Robert Allen/Beacon Hill Showrooms; bed pillow fabric, Lee Jofa, Robert Allen/Beacon Hill Showrooms and Pindler & Pindler; lamps, Palecek; carpet, Carpets by Sierra in Resaca, Georgia (T). Son’s Bedroom: bed and nightstands, Stanley Furniture Co. in Stanleytown, Virginia (T); lamp, Currey & Co.; carpet, Webster Carpet Showcase. Guest Bathroom: Joseph A. Ber­kowitz Interiors; light, Forecast Lighting. T=To the trade.

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