From the December/January 2012 Issue:

Grown-Up Space

    Writer: Ren Miller | Photographer: Patricia Burke | Designer: Dee Morrissey of Morrissey & Thompson-Ryan Interior Design, Allied Member ASID |

A bland Manalapan family room becomes a casual yet sophisticated retreat for the parents of young twins

Article Photo
enlarge | The fireplace became a focal point in the redesign of a formerly bland Manalapan family room.
With preschool twin boys, toys can easily overtake a home. That’s why Peggy and Joe Giuliano decided it was time to reclaim their Manalapan family room as an adult respite.

They called on Dee Morrissey, an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers and a principal of Morrissey & Thompson-Ryan in Little Silver, to create a space where they could relax in a casual yet sophisticated setting. “The room is in the center of the home so they also wanted a big ‘wow’ first impression when people enter,” Morrissey says.

“The room is a large, boxy area that needed detail,” Morrissey says, so she focused on turning the fireplace into a focal point. She kept the original limestone surround and added a three-sided raised-panel outer surround of maple with a medium stained finish.

Joe Giuliano wanted a big-screen television in the room but asked that it not be obtrusive. Morrissey placed it above the fireplace and continued the wood to the ceiling so the screen visually recedes into the surround. A wood frame attaches to the television frame magnetically to complete the built-in look yet allow easy access for maintenance. The top of the surround is cut to the same pattern as the new crown molding.

To further warm the appearance of the room, Morrissey chose a cranberry, camel and black wall-to-wall carpet in a pattern imitating an Oriental rug design. To balance the large dose of cranberry in the carpet, she added a camel-colored grass-cloth wallpaper above the chair rail, covered two sofas in camel chenille and used a print echoing the carpet on two benches and throw pillows. “The Giulianos have a large extended family so it was important there be comfortable, ample seating for entertaining and easy, touchable surfaces for everyday use,” Morrissey adds.

At the windows, she had drapery panels fabricated with the camel and brown stripes running horizontally for interest. Because she likes a black piece somewhere in a room, Morrissey added a black baby grand piano (not shown in photo) for a sophisticated finish and future lessons for the twins.


SOURCES design, Dee Morrissey of Morrissey&Thompson-Ryan Interior Design in Little Silver; custom woodwork, S.J. Donato & Co. of Brick.

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