From the April/May 2013 Issue:

Coastal Cool

    Writer: Marirose Krall | Photographer: Peter Rymwid | Designer: Jana Manning, Allied Member ASID |

A Long Branch vacation home is steeped in sophisticated style

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enlarge | The first floor has a light and open feel thanks to large windows, an open plan and airy furnishings. The clear glass fixtures above the dining table are barely visible when not illuminated. A steel-framed staircase features expanded metal risers that create a “lacy” see-through effect.
When a newly blended family purchased a seaside apartment for weekend getaways, they had very specific ideas about how it should look.
“They didn’t want a typical beach house,” designer Jana Manning says. Take one look at this 2,400-square-foot apartment in Long Branch and it’s clear the owners got their wish—traditional surf, sand and starfish motifs were bypassed in favor of a metropolitan approach.

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enlarge | A seaside staple is imbued with modern flair in a metallic “driftwood” console in the dining room. Stools under the black console at right are used for extra seating.
Glamour by the Sea
The goal was to fashion a home that would accommodate children, friends and family while creating “a modern space that reflects the wife’s and teenage daughters’ urbane, glamorous style in a beach-appropriate, breezy way,” says Manning, an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers and owner of Manning Design Group in Asbury Park.

So while modern furnishings give the space a cutting-edge quality, high ceilings, large windows and an open plan ensure a light and airy atmosphere. The tone-on-tone palette reflects a fresh interpretation of a beach theme. “We went with an overall cool gray, keeping individual colors within tonal grays with some warmer taupes mixed in like sky and sand. We kept it very vaporous,” says Manning, who won a Silver Design Excellence Award from the American Society of Interior Designers for her work on the project.

Manning’s concept of “vapor without a lot of interruptions” brings softness to the contemporary design scheme. “The colors are all very subdued and harmonious without any strong contrasts to break up the space.” The subtle shifts in tone add interest to the rooms without creating any discordant notes.

The designer included subtle references to the home’s seaside locale by featuring sophisticated adaptations of traditional seashore themes. For instance, a modern abstract wave mural is displayed prominently above the entry doors. A large wall in the living room features a seascape triptych. A striking “driftwood” console table in a metallic silver finish dominates the open space between the living room and dining room.

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enlarge | The cool tones found in the rest of the home are carried into the soothing master bedroom. The substantial bed, nightstand and slipper chair balance a barely there chrome-and-glass table and super-slim lamp bases.
Cool with Warmth
Though the home is sleek and cool, it’s never cold. Relaxation and comfort are key—urban vibe notwithstanding. In the living/dining area Manning added dashes of taupe, black and wood to bring coziness to the spaces. A large round ottoman acts as a softer version of a coffee table. Burnished hardwood flooring grounds the space in warm tones.

The sedate master bedroom is the homeowners’ retreat. “We outfitted the room with lounge seating and used a calming palette of colors and materials,” Manning says. Here, the designer chose both natural and more glamorous elements. An eclectic mix of materials—woven grass, polished nickel, creamy ostrich-embossed leather and chinoiserie crewelwork—comes together unexpectedly to form a soothing space.

The interesting combinations continue in the kitchen. The designer and homeowners thought carefully about how to integrate the room’s existing deep-mahogany-stained cabinetry with the sleek en­viron­ment in the rest of the apartment. Manning bridged the gap between warm and cool by designing a backsplash with slate and metallic glass tiles that complement the warm kitchen cabinetry while coordinating with the cooler surroundings throughout the space.

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enlarge | On the terrace, weather-resistant furniture and fabric in vivid colors set the stage for outdoor gatherings. Ample seating offers plenty of room for family and friends. Guests can also catch a few rays on the sun bed.
The More the Merrier
For all its uptown sophistication this is, at heart, a vacation home, meant to be filled with family and friends of all ages. So it was important to the owners to maximize space for guests and encourage socializing.

To facilitate group activities, Manning created what she calls “play zones” on the terrace and in the dining room, kitchen and living room. The 400-square-foot terrace is an ideal spot for parties. Cheerful orange and yellow cushions reflect the summer sun. A similarly hued umbrella offers a bit of shade.

When indoor meals are on the agenda, the spacious dining room accommodates a crowd; the long walnut table seats 10. Should the guest list expand, “three stools wait neatly under an adjacent console table ready to be called into action,” Manning says.

The eat-in kitchen, though windowless, retains the airy feeling found in the rest of the apartment thanks to a half-wall. A high-top table and bar stools reinforce the visual connection to the living and dining rooms.

In the living room, two large sofas and a chaise lounge mean everyone gets a spot in front of the television. The sofas and chaise also provide casual sleeping options for overnight guests.

For those who prefer more conventional sleeping arrangements, Manning was sure to include as many beds as possible. On the second floor, open loft space was enclosed to make a bedroom that sleeps six. Downstairs in the guest room, the designer converted an unneeded walk-in closet into a children’s sleeping area. Two sets of bunk beds optimize the space. The guest room, which also has two queen-size beds and a pullout sleeper sofa, is now an “en-suite” arrangement allowing the owners’ adult children and small grandchildren to share quarters.

This family-friendly home perfectly suits the practical needs of the owners without sacrificing style and sophistication. It’s comfortable and functional while maintaining a chic, sleek and glamorous attitude.

Marirose Krall is a freelance writer who is desperately trying to maintain her own chic, sleek and glamorous attitude.


Overall: interior design, Jana Manning, Manning Design Group in Asbury Park; general contracting, ConTak Inc. in Flemington; paint, Sherwin Williams. Living Room: sofas and chaise, Room & Board in Minneapolis; hair hide area rug, Calvin Klein through Avalon Carpet Tile & Flooring in Ocean; floor lamp, West Elm; window treatments, fabricated through the designer with Duralee fabric from Major Mills in Clark; metallic faux leather oval ottoman, fabricated through the designer with fabric from Scott Fabrics in Memphis. Dining Room: globe pendant lamps, Remains Lighting in Greenwich, Connecticut; painted mural above door, Jill Ricci and Mike Lavallee through Parlor Gallery in Asbury Park; dining table and chairs, Jensen- Lewis in New York City; “X” stools under console, Global Views in Dallas; iron sconces, Ars Ferro in Passaic; floral arrangement in Bauer vintage pottery with plant from L.B. Forcellati & Sons in Wall; metallic console, through Manning Design Group. Kitchen: backsplash tile, Casale Tile in Ocean; cabinetry, existing. Master Bedroom: bed, Valtekz faux ostrich, fabricated through the designer; wall covering, Phillip Jeffries in Fairfield; slipper chair, Space in Deal; chinoiserie bedding, Williams-Sonoma; nightstand and table lamps, Global Views. Kids’ Room: bunk beds and lounge chair, Room & Board; window treatments, fabricated through the designer with fabric from Kasmir Fabrics in Dallas. Terrace: decorative pillows, Trina Turk in Alhambra, California; sectional and dining furniture, Crate & Barrel; sun bed, custom produced and fabricated in fabric from Sunbrella® in Glen Raven, North Carolina.

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