From the October/November 2011 Issue:

Design Directions

    Writers: Robin Amster, Meg Fox, Ren Miller | Photos: Morris Gindi |

Some of the nation’s leading-Edge designers turn an oceanside home in Deal into a showcase of color, texture and innovation

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enlarge | Pillows with an ikat pattern, zebra hides and a band of blue on the walls tie the two sides of this room together.
The Décor by the Shore ShowHouse benefits the Morris & Paulette Bailey Sephardic Community Center in Brooklyn in its support of charitable causes (

Bridging the Gap
“The house had great bones” and elaborate moldings, recalls interior designer Bill McIntosh, principal of William McIntosh Design Inc. “In a house like this, painting it all white, you really can’t go wrong,” he says. Still the living room—at roughly 45 feet long and 15 feet wide—posed some challenges because it’s divided in half by a large front door and stair-hall path. A modern graphic band of blue paint unifies the divide and brings the nineteenth century into the twenty-first, McIntosh says. Pillows in the same ikat pattern appear on both sides of the room, as do zebra hides—one on the floor, the second draped over a small sofa. “The furnishings are an eclectic mix of twentieth-century pieces, both the high and the low,” McIntosh says. The console, for instance, is from West Elm and the slipper chairs are by noted French furniture designer André Sornay. Sea-grass rugs, linen upholstery and sheer linen curtains keep it casual.

Sources: design, William McIntosh Design Inc. in New York City; zebra rugs, Stark Carpet in New York City; daybed and André Sornay slipper chairs, Pascal Boyer Gallery in New York City; sofa, Wood, Spring and Down in Bronx, New York; pillows, Rafael Interiors in New York City; artwork and shell mirror, Nicholas Howey through Maison Gérard in New York City; table lamps, Aero Studios in New York City; Plexiglas chair, Flair Home Collection in New York City.

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enlarge | A backlit insert in the desk bridges visual and tactile textures.
Manhattan style
An open-weave wall covering made of tree bark installed over pale green metallic wallpaper envelops visitors in a vestibule designed by Lee Najman, a member of the American Society of Interior Designers, International Interior Design Association and National Kitchen and Bath Association and principal of Lee Najman Designs. His goal: to re-create the feel of walking into a prewar building in Manhattan, formal yet casual, dramatic yet welcoming. “We wanted it to have the look of the 1920s and 1930s, but to keep it fun and not overly serious,” Najman says. A custom upholstered bench provides a place to sit and take off shoes when returning home; an 8-by-4-foot mirror with black-stained oak frame inlaid with acrylic that looks like dripping caramel wax offers one last chance to check your appearance before heading outdoors. A desk by the staircase is inlaid with Lumigraf, a backlit translucent material. Five-foot tall topiaries (one partially seen at right) lighten the feeling and create another reference to nature, while stark white planters that are left empty add a sculptural element. Tying it all together is a handmade wool rug with a design reminiscent of a Gustav Klimt painting of a woman in a flowing gown of many colors. “It had all the colors in the room and, next to the wallpaper, was the most textural thing in the space,” he says. “I wanted something from the period of the home but done in contemporary fashion.” To add interest in an empty corner, Najman spied a black lacquer dog bed with an animal print cushion while walking through an accessory store and knew it would be perfect.

Sources: design and upholstered bench, Lee Najman Designs in Port Washington, New York; wallpaper, “Whisper” with “Nimbus Solar” overlay, both by Weitzner Ltd. in New York City; desk insert, Lumigraf in Montreal; Equo desk lamp, Koncept in Monterey Park, California; floor lamp by desk, Charles Loomis in Kirkland, Washington.

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enlarge | Charcoal molding and marbleized insets give new life to the home’s century-old walls.
Chic but Easygoing
“The wildly chic yet easygoing lifestyle of Deal’s residents” inspired Jamie Drake’s design of the dining room, located off the main living room. Drake, principal of Drake Design Associates and a member of ASID, paid his respects to the room’s traditional detailing while transforming it with a completely modern eye. Contemporary furnishings and artisan-designed accessories combine with a crisp and dazzling color palette of charcoal, white, coral and silver. Stunning elements include a parasol-like chandelier and sleek gray mirror facing for the fireplace. Drake says the room’s paneled walls could have looked old fashioned and tired. He solved that design dilemma by painting them glossy charcoal and using a wall covering of marbleized white on mylar for the panel insets. “I took the detail of the past century to the present,” he says.

Sources: design, Drake Design Associates in New York City; dining table, Downtown Interiors in Jersey City; chairs, Marvano Total Custom Ltd. in New York City; wall covering, Stark Carpet in New York City; sideboard and orange lamps, Lorin Marsh in New York City; chandelier, 21st Twenty First in New York City.

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enlarge | Mirrored screens and bright colors lend a contemporary feel.
Contemporary Counterpoint
The saturated green-painted wainscoting has a richness that suits the game/music room, says designer John Ike of Ike Kligerman Barkley Interiors. In a predominantly summer com­munity, “We had the luxury of tailoring our design to reflect a lighter, fresher sensibility,” says Ike, who upholstered the walls in hand-stitched white raw silk. A contemporary glass game table, rug and mirror above the fireplace mingle with classic twentieth-century finds, such as the vintage white lacquered card chairs and McIntosh audio equipment. This mix of old and new works together harmoniously within the context of the existing space, he says. Mirrors and glass surfaces provide sparkle and animate the room.

Sources: design, Ike Kligerman Barkley Interiors in New York City; card table, rug and mirror above fireplace, Chroma D in New York City; triptych artwork, Irene Mamiye; chandelier and side table, Bernd Goeckler Antiques in New York City; console table, Franz Fischer Inc. in Brooklyn; window treatment and wall fabric, Lauren Hwang in New York City; window treatment, wall and seat cushion fabrication, J. Edlin Interiors in New York City; lounge chairs and pillows, Jonas Furniture in New York City; mirror screens, Lobel Modern in New York City; floor lamp, Craig Van Den Brulle in New York City; audio system, Audio Classics.

Bali Room & Hallway
An oilcloth rug by Gabrielle Kanter (she painted sheets of oilcloth, cut them and sewed them into a contemporary pattern) and wallpaper with narrow slices of wood on the walls and ceiling in the hallway set up the entrance to the nature-themed powder room, both of which Lee Najman designed along with the vestibule. The light fixture adds another modern touch with its red glass inserts.
Just like the Indonesian island for which it was named, the Bali powder room is an oasis that salutes the beauty of nature. Originally wallpapered in blue and white vertical stripes, the small space is now an outdoorsy mix of stone and wood. “I wanted to get as far away from a traditional American bathroom as possible in terms of materials and style,” Najman says. He covered the vanity wall with river stones cut in half and stacked rather than installed flat against the wall. The stones also wrap around the corners of the wall and cascade to the floor. “We imagined how things would look in nature, which has no straight lines,” he says. “The trick was to take out the elements of forced design.” Accordingly he carved a large piece of jatoba wood into a countertop and installed it about an inch short of the wall so it appears to sit on a stone ledge. A waterfall faucet at the vessel sink has electronic controls that turn the water red when hot, blue when cold or varying shades in between. For a touch of whimsy, Najman carved the mirror into a wave shape and floated it over lighting: “It illuminates your face in a soft way so everyone looks great.” He balanced the room’s natural materials with an almost bas-relief white glossy tile on the wall behind the toilet. The tile is bordered by five-inch vertical strips of mirror painted satin black, accenting the new Top Hat toilet by Kohler and tying in with black floor tiles that feel like a continuation of the black-stained oak flooring in the adjacent hallway. The walls are covered with a wood-look wallpaper, and a window is dressed in shutters painted to match the wood, providing privacy while admitting light.

Hallway Sources: design, furniture, artwork and accessories, Lee Najman Designs; oilcloth rug, Gabrielle Kanter in Stockton; light fixture, Van Teal Inc. in Miami; wallpaper, “Jackson Square” Oro on walls, “Jackson Square” White Pearl on ceiling, Phillip Jeffries in Fairfield. Bali Room Sources: design, Lee Najman Designs; wall covering, Tri-Kes/Source One Wallcovering in Dallas; faucet, “Canyon Waterfall by Hansa; toilet, Hatbox® by Kohler; shutters, “Heritance” by Hunter Douglas.

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enlarge | Different textures and tones create energy in the mostly gray kitchen and keep it from feeling monochromatic.
Engaging in Gray
Designer Nicholas A. Calder takes the phrase “shades of gray” to new heights in a kitchen featuring cabinetry of an exotic wood veneer called Shinnoki Dusk Fraké. The secret to working in one color is to mix shades and textures, Calder says, so he complemented the cabinetry with Grey Mar limestone countertops and backsplash, stainless steel appliances and a stainless steel band at the base of the island, a rift oak table with a gunmetal inset and rift oak chairs upholstered in charcoal leather. “I love the mix of the textured table and chairs with the smooth wood veneer and Belgian bluestone floors,” says Calder, whose firm is Calder Interiors Inc. An eye-catching highlight of the room: a silvery chain “wall” that extends from ceiling to floor to give the illusion of separation between the work area and the breakfast room. The kitchen includes a desk of the same veneer as the cabinetry, providing a convenient spot to review recipes, pay bills and keep organized. Accent colors are kept to a minimum, with green cowhide covering the desk stool and red knobs on the range and faucet handles.

Sources: design, Nicholas A. Calder, Melanie Calder Russo, Dadiniry Luna, Poupeé Sivaruk and Allison Lane of Calder Interiors Inc. in New York City; construction, Vincenzo Russo of RRS Construction in New York City; cabinetry, Sebastian Antoniuk of Lanoves Inc. in New York City; stone and tile, Studium in New York City; all furniture, Desiron in New York City; faucets, Davis & Warshow in New York City; lighting, MSK Illuminations in New York City; chain divider, Window Tech in New York City; window shades, Rafael Decorators in New York City; appliances, Bosch dishwasher, Sub Zero refrigerator and freezer, wine cooler and ice maker, Wolf range, microwave drawer and warming drawer.

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enlarge | A silverleaf finish on the dressing table and large mirror add city sophistication to this beach-house bedroom.
Oceanside Retreat
A sanctuary where you can rest, read, contemplate. That’s what Bjorn Bjornsson had in mind when he designed this master bedroom. He also wanted to capitalize on the ocean view and add the sophistication that members of the community enjoy at their year-round homes in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Those factors informed Bjornsson’s choice of blue and silver for the furnishings, most of which he designed. The bed’s headboard is faux leather in a honey maple frame with silverleaf glaze. The upholstered bench at the foot adds softness, while nightstands with rippling lines recall the ocean nearby. A chest with the same rippling design and a dressing table on opposite sides of the room wear a sophisticated silverleaf finish. The dressing table, in fact, is part of a single piece of furniture that includes a mirror and elegant sconces. To keep the curves and colors from making the room too feminine, Bjornsson, an allied member of ASID, designed a chaise with high-gloss black frame to anchor one corner and Roman shades with a bold Greek key-inspired design under stationary side panels. Tying everything together are a subtly patterned silk and wool rug and a ceiling treatment—a signature in Bjornsson designs—with a metallic blue striated finish that reflects light from the chandelier.

Sources: design, Bjorn Bjornsson in New York City; fabrics, Kravet; Louis XV chairs, antiques; all other furniture, designed by Bjorn Bjornsson and fabricated by Krosno Contracting in New York City; pillows, designed by Bjorn Bjornsson and fabricated by Kaiser Decorating in New York City; lamps on nightstands, Agostino Antiques in New York City.

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enlarge | Evelyn Miller, who enjoys mixing the traditional and contemporary, chose a light fixture that looks like an old-fashioned crystal chandelier at first glance. However, the crystals are suspended from the ceiling on very thin wires. The light emanates from spotlights in the ceiling shining onto the crystals.
Luxurious & Eclectic
The second-floor dining room, originally a bedroom, is both “elegant and eclectic but fun not stuffy,” says Evelyn Miller, principal of Evelyn M. Designs and an allied member of ASID. Miller says she chose a fairly formal design because the home and its neighbors are stately “and as such deserve to be dressed more richly than a simple beach cottage.” At the center of the room is a dining table whose curved legs pair with chairs upholstered in navy blue. Miller opted for blue “to pay homage” to the home’s shore location. “I knew exactly what piece of art I would hang above the sidebar—“On the Table” by Carlos Comesanas—as it has all the colors that inspired me in designing the room,” she says.

Sources. design, Evelyn M. Designs in Oyster Bay, New York; dining table, Robert Allen/Beacon Hill Showroom in Foxboro, Massachusetts; chairs and sideboard, Century Furniture in Hickory, North Carolina; rug, Stark Carpet in New York City; chair and window fabric, Kravet in Bethpage, New York; chandelier, Moura Starr in New York City.

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enlarge | A combination of luxury fabrics and modern pieces (including a recycled dresser finished with white automotive paint and a parsons desk with its simple lines) complete the look of the hip bedroom.
Boho Beauty
Designed for luxury, this bedroom can serve either as a master or a fabulous guest room, says Jamie Herzlinger, principal of Jamie Herzlinger Interiors and allied member of ASID. Herzlinger drew on her background in luxury fashion to design the space with a look of BOHO chic, which fuses Bohemian and hippie influences. The design scheme features “luxury fabrics combined with great modern period pieces and, of course, some very hip tie dye,” she says. In fact, the tie-dye silk panels on the sumptuous bed hangings were the inspiration for the bedroom, Herzlinger adds. “Lavender, my new favorite neutral,” anchors the room’s color palette. The designer was challenged by the room’s configuration, where there was only one solid wall (without a window or door) on which to place the bed. Locating the bed there, however, would have meant people entering the room would walk alongside the bed, Herzlinger says. She turned that limitation into a positive by placing the bed in the center of the room, creating extra drama.

SOURCES: design, custom bed, dresser and rug, Jamie Herzlinger Interiors in New York City and Scottsdale, Arizona; bed linens, E. Braun in New York City; wall treatment and parsons desk, Alpha Workshops in New York City.

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enlarge | A Matsuoka sideboard and a striking mirror frame hold their own on a windowless wall.
Easy Elegance
It was important to balance light and dark, natural and artificial, familiar and refined in this serene sitting room, say designers Marjorie Sobiloff and Cathy Yohay of SY Designs Inc., members of ASID. Taupe natural grass cloth on the walls creates a backdrop for a vintage daybed customized in light textured linen, white lacquered 1950s end tables and a striking sideboard. A geometric rug—in a color mindful of the sea—anchors the room. Windows are dressed in white wool panels. To add detail the designers had grosgrain trim stitched on each leading edge to match the daybed and stitched black jet and green mother-of-pearl beads to the grosgrain. Linen Roman shades contrast the luxe feeling of the drapery. Among the mix of old and new is contem­porary artwork, a 1980s sculptural cocktail table and vintage barrel chairs, reupholstered and detailed with nail heads. A vintage-inspired chandelier of crystal blossoms creates a glowing reflection without overwhelming the space.

Sources: interior design, SY Designs Inc. in Great Neck, New York; fabrics and trim, Zoffany in New York City; wall covering, Innovations in New York City; mirror, Jerry Pair Fine Furnishings in New York City; chandelier, Bright Group in New York City; woven X bench and Anneau Table Lamp (open curve center), Baker Knapp and Tubbs in New York City; area rug, Madeline Weinrib through ABC Carpets in New York City; Matsuoka sideboard, Jeremick Art Pottery and Shaja Pottery, Bograd’s Fine Furniture in Riverdale; art glass, Seguso Viro USA Corp. in New York City; white lacquer Grosfeld House side tables (circa 1950) and marble sculpture (circa 1960), Las Venus Vintage in New York City; custom drapery and shades, The Shade Store in New York City; cocktail table, Lerebours Antiques in New York City; art, Vered Gallery East Hampton in East Hampton, New York; Monarch Photograph Series, Limited Edition, Cecilia Webber Collection.

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enlarge | A steel lamp with mesh shade brightens a corner of the masculine lounge.
Sophisticated Man Cave
Dark, edgy and very progressive is how interior designer Kerry Delrose envisioned the Gentleman’s Lounge, a space where guys could hang out, have a cocktail, watch a sporting event or listen to music. Figuring other rooms in the seaside home would embrace a light and airy aesthetic, “I thought I would do something different,” says Delrose, principal of Delrose Design Group. Grays, blacks, chrome and pops of orange combine for a look that is masculine and a little sexy. “I love the soft edges,” such as linen curtains and the linen-shaded lamp in the middle of the room, combined with the hard edges of chrome chairs and a steel lamp with mesh shade, he says. One of the two window seats was reupholstered and accessorized with an assortment of pillows for lounging; the other (behind the black sofa) was fitted with a glass shelf for display of sculptures and other accessories.

Sources: design, Delrose Design Group in New York City; rug, Stark Carpet in New York City; vintage Deco chrome armchairs, covered in cashmere-wool herringbone fabric from Ralph Lauren; chandelier, Bone Simple Design in New York City; Standing Tree Lamp with pewter patina, Marsia Holzer Studios in New York City; framed black-and-white photo, from the “Women” series by Kim Reierson Photography.

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enlarge | The study gains interest from its mix of luxury and affordable, sophisticated and simple, work and relaxation.
Updated Romance
Robert Passal, principal in Robert Passal Interior & Architectural Design, envisioned this room as “a study designed for a young and romantic woman with an old soul.” He aimed to create an updated version of how a woman’s study would have looked when the house was built in 1906. “During that time wood floors were often painted and floral wall coverings were in vogue, while the French chaise and bergère are a timeless yet updated reflection of the past,” Passal says. The painted floor combines elements of the past with a soft contemporary geometric pattern. It presented one of the designer’s greatest challenges. Passal says extreme humidity caused major delays in the curing and drying of the floor. The room’s color scheme includes shades of gray used as a neutral with sherbet accents of lavender, butter yellow, apricot and pale aqua.

Sources: design, Robert Passal Interior and Architectural Design in New York City; chaise lounge, Hutton Home in Miami; flokati rug, custom through Robert Passal; shelving, Ikea; vintage Venetian glass chandelier, John Salibello Antiques in New York City; fabrics, Scalamandré in Hauppauge, New York; wall covering, Sanderson in Teterboro; custom hand-painted floor, Minium Decorative Arts & Design in New York City.

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enlarge | Maple rods form the bed’s headboard, while the all-white walls contrast tufted silk-velvet window alcoves with a grid pattern created by mixing patent and matte white leather.
Dreaming in White
A study in elegance and sensuality, a third-floor bedroom by Bluarch LLC captures ocean views from sumptuously tufted ecru silk-velvet window alcoves, yet it remains earthy enough for guests to feel comfortable walking barefoot after a day at the beach. The bed itself —designed by Bluarch along with the other furniture in the room—combines an tufted base with a headboard comprising 36-inch maple rods. The bed floats in the middle of the room on six hexagonal rugs and is aligned for ocean views. A maple vanity is organic in form, balancing the vertical whitewashed tongue-and-groove wall cladding behind it. Above the vanity hangs a backlit midcentury circular mirror. The cladding gradually “unzips” at the far corner to reveal a pattern of handcrafted layers of alabaster-colored matte leather behind shiny patent leather cut in an open square pattern, says Bluarch founder Antonio Di Oronzo. “We designed the room using only whites and neutral tones,” he says. “We gave the room softness by applying different textures, color tonalities, shapes and patterns that give each surface a three-dimensional quality.” For another midcentury touch, the architect/designer hung a 1950s Stilnovo chandelier above the bed and placed vintage Italian photos on the wall behind the bed (not shown).

Sources: design, Bluarch in New York City; installation of walls and tuft­ing, fabrication of bed and vanity, Interiors Palace in Brooklyn; custom bed linens, Prima Linens in Brooklyn; caramel fox and coyote throw pillows on bed, Mongolian lamb pillow in the vanity chair, Venfield in New York City; window treatment, designed by Bluarch, fabricated by Rafael Interiors in New York City, crystal and ivory tie-backs by Samuel and Sons in New York City; chandelier and mirror, Gaspare Asaro-Millenovecento in New York City.

Color Creativity
When Albert Leon Sultan first saw the three-story stairwell he would design, he knew that rich colors, vibrant patterns and repeating motifs would tame the dark and lifeless space. He also knew it would have to serve as a conduit to the other rooms in the show house and as a design experience itself. He began with deep pink-stenciled walls that complement a stained glass window on the second-floor landing and also mask century-old walls that are not evenly smooth. To draw the eye up to the next level, Sultan, who trained as a figurative artist and whose firm is SultanChic Decorative Arts Workshop, played with scale, color and proportion in creating an oversized Chippendale-like pattern in canary yellow and pastel teal. “Three-dimensional flower displays on the wall draw attention to the height of the space while challenging the viewer to conceive of fixed walls in a novel way,” Sultan says. Likewise, he reimagines the furniture he chooses for his spaces. An elongated settee on the Chippendale-like landing juxtaposes a seat cushion covered in pink snakeskin vinyl with a fanciful bird-motif fabric on the seatback that complements the entire stairwell scheme.

Sources: design, decorative painting and furniture, SultanChic in Elberon.

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enlarge | The in-and-out pattern of the boxwood hedge creates small planting beds leading from the house to the street and enhancing the view of the ocean beyond.
Make an Entry
Greenland Landscape Co. turned the front yard of the show house from blah to beautiful by creating a promenade featuring an in-and-out boxwood hedge and flower border on both sides of the existing walk. “The repeating pattern of the hedge and the vertical element of Armstrong pear trees create a corridor leading from the street to the front porch,” says William Weiss III, a landscape architect and principal of Greenland Landscape Co. He chose deep purple Wave™ petunias, tropical canna lilies and bright red tropical grass not only to create an ephemeral garden, but also to pull the eye toward the house because the plants’ colors complement its deep red roof. “The principal of paying attention to that kind of detail is important when planning a landscape,” he says. “If you’re going to create an outdoor space—big or small—don’t fall short on the details. Make the space all it can be so you smile when you go there.”

Sources: design and installation, Greenland Landscape Co. in Paramus.