From the April/May 2012 Issue:

A Tudor Revived

    Writer: Iyna Bort Caruso | Photographer: Tim Proctor | Interior Designer: Christina Smith | Architect: Thomas B. Wagner |

A newly remodeled residence retains the heart of an old home

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enlarge | Many of the furnishings are family heirlooms, including the foyer chest, which once belonged to the owner’s mother and was refinished and topped with marble.
Some renovations take a home from sub-par to special. A Camden County residence went from special to stunning.

“It was a fun project to do because it’s always nice to work on a house that already has great curb appeal and a wonderful style and just make it better,” says architect Thomas B. Wagner of Haddonfield.

The English Tudor Revival home, located in an exclusive enclave, no longer met the needs of its owners. Like many older homes, the rooms were “chopped up,” says interior designer Christina Smith of The Summer House Design Group in Stone Harbor. “It was lovely, but small and not especially practical.”

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enlarge | The dining room combines old and new for a fresh, understated look. New shades were placed on an existing chandelier, and the couple’s burl wood parsons table was given a second life with new chairs. “We wrestled with whether we wanted to use the table, but it works,” designer Christina Smith says.
New Space, Old Charm
Rather than move, the homeowners decided to improve. They wanted to maintain the prewar feel and authenticity, but to capture it on a larger scale. “We didn’t want to lose what the original house was all about,” Smith says. “It still has the feel of an old house, and that’s a good thing.”

Smith had worked with the family on a previous project, a beachfront home on the Jersey Shore. The beach home was new construction so the design was conceived and executed from scratch. In the Camden County home, however, the architectural details and existing furnishings “set the tempo of where we were going to take it,” Smith says. It was important that the addition be fully integrated, as though it had been part of the original structure, and that the interiors exude the “graciousness befitting a home of its stature.”

The empty-nesters updated their home for personal comfort and expanded it for entertaining, adding 46 percent more space. They added a two-car garage and a family room. The kitchen was enlarged and renovated, and bedrooms were reconfigured to better accommodate guests. In fact, they eliminated one bedroom, turning a guest room into a suite. Rooms on the lower level were remodeled and enlarged. The three-bedroom, six-bathroom home is now 7,600 square feet.

In enlarging any residence, the goal always involves mimicking the details of the older section in a way that doesn’t disturb the original lines. An example? The roof. The original gables featured intricate designs. The pattern had to be custom re-created to make the addition appear seamless, Wagner says. “Expanding houses is always challenging, but you can create a unique blend of old and new and add character and charm that is so difficult to attain in new construction.” The fact that the home sits on a highly visible parcel and is one of the first residences seen when entering the elite municipality gave the project extra importance, Wagner says.

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enlarge | The family room, part of the addition, has a high ceiling, custom cabinetry and fireplace that lend an intimacy to the large space. The lighting fixture above the dining table originally hung at the Union League in Philadelphia.
Scaled for Entertaining
The home is set in a historic area in a private country club, though it boasts its own array of country-club-style amenities, many on the renovated terrace level: a gym, pool table and game room, wine cellar and clubby bar with a second kitchen with easy access to the pool.

The family enjoys entertaining on a large scale. The ability to accommodate large groups fueled their desire for the two full-service kitchens.

At the same time, the couple saw to it that the main living areas oozed a feeling of intimacy for family gatherings. They wanted their children and grandchildren to come back to a home that made them feel good.

There is a lightness to this home that’s not always seen in a Tudor without seeming at odds with the architectural style. The new family room, built off the kitchen, is an important component. It’s large but not overwhelming. It has gorgeous views of the first hole of the golf course, high ceilings and architectural millwork, but the owners shied away from anything overly grand and formal. Good sound absorption, a warm color palette and a casual dining bay make it the kind of room “you gravitate to, the room you want to go to every day,” Smith says.

The renovation took about a year. Smith says the wife was decisive, which helped the project move along. “She makes decisions and adheres to them.”

The family moved out while the work was performed and came back to a sense of the familiar. Sprinkled throughout the home are many family heirlooms that had been restored and refurbished. “It was a success in the fact the owners needed no time to reacclimate,” Smith says. “They were able to unpack and feel like they never left home. They just got a better home.”

Iyna Bort Caruso, a regular contributor to Design NJ, writes from her home in Rockville Centre, New York.


Overall: architect, Thomas B. Wagner of Haddonfield; builder, Daryl Vermaat of Vermaat Contracting in Haddonfield; interior designer, Christina Smith of The Summer House Design Group in Stone Harbor. Foyer: carpet, Karastan in Dalton, Georgia; flooring, Avalon Carpet Tile and Flooring in Cherry Hill. Dining Room: chairs, Lorts in Goodyear, Arizona; chair fabric, Thibaut in Newark; carpet, Nourison in Saddle Brook; server, Century Furniture in Hickory, North Carolina. Sunroom and Living Room: all furniture, homeowners. Family Room: sofas, Pearson Co. in High Point, North Carolina; carpet, Masland; cornices, Dompierre’s Draperies in Marmora; blinds, Hunter Douglas in Upper Saddle River. Guest Suite: sitting room chairs, Braxton Culler in Sophia, North Carolina, with fabric by Robert Allen/Beacon Hill Showrooms in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Master Bathroom: wallpaper, Thibaut; tub and fixtures, Weinstein’s Supply in Collingswood; flooring, Avalon Carpet Tile and Flooring; marble, Classic Marble & Granite in Blackwood. Lower Level: custom woodworking at bar, Cabinetry & Design in Honey Brook, Pennsylvania; countertops, Classic Marble & Granite; lighting, Hinkley Lighting in Cleveland; flooring, Avalon Carpet Tile and Flooring. Lower-Level Bathroom: vanity, Hardware Resources in Bossier City, Louisiana; wallpaper, Blonder in Cleveland; lighting, Murray Feiss in New York City.

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