From the February/March 2015 Issue:

A Fresh Spin

    Writer: Marirose Krall | Photographer: Marisa Pellegrini | Designer: Richard Scuderi |

A designer breathes new life into a Hunterdon County home

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enlarge | This rambling 1980s Hunterdon County home was brought up to date during a three-year process that included construction of a two-story addition and a decorative makeover.
Keep the substance; revamp the style — that was the plan when the owners decided to renovate their colonial-style home.

They knew it was time for a change, and they were eager to bring their late 1980s Hunterdon County home into the 21st century. Still, they wanted to be sure that a redesign would remain true to their own sense of style.

Enter interior designer Richard Scuderi, owner of Mavin Hill Designs in Flemington. Scuderi, who took on this redesign project as his first venture after recovering from brain surgery, understands the importance of a life well lived in surroundings one loves. He says he makes it his business to ensure that his designs reflect the particular aesthetic of each client. “I want to serve as a catalyst to bring out the best you can have in your own home so you can really feel comfortable.”

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enlarge | A wall of built-in cabinets makes a striking statement at one end of the family room, while a dramatic catwalk above serves as a showcase for family photos. The wall with the door was removed to make way for the expansion, and the brick fireplace was redone in stone. French doors and windows at ground and ceiling levels now flood the room with natural light and offer wooded views that complement the room’s deep tones and luxurious textures.
The Same, Only Different
In this home, the wife “wanted to make the house modern but she didn’t want to make it ‘modern,’” Scuderi says with a laugh. In fact, she wanted to retain a rustic feel. “It was a big deal to her to keep the integrity of her own style. She tends toward a country home, but she wanted me to create a hip vibe, something more up to date.” So the designer set about giving the homeowners a more current version of their signature country style.

Scuderi began the sweeping renovation by first determining which items he could keep. “The homeowners always invested in nice quality furniture,” Scuderi says, so he was able to incorporate many of their existing pieces into the new design. “I wanted to take the best of what they had and reinvent the space.”

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enlarge | Left: Three colors in three spaces (dining room, foyer and living room) stand alone beautifully while providing a delightful complement to each other. Hardwood floors act as a constant across the sight line. Right: Dramatic navy blue walls pop against pure white wainscoting and trim in the dining room.
Colors Coordinated
While the reinvention involved hanging on to key pieces, it also required letting go of 1980s monochromatic colors and opting for more interesting choices. “It’s important to get the color right,” the designer notes. “That’s a big part of my design philosophy.”

Scuderi rejuvenated the residence with hits of color, some subtle, some bold. When he suggested a navy blue dining room, for example, the wife had doubts. “‘You’ve got to trust me,’ I told her. ‘Color is drama.’”

And dramatic it is, but it’s also complementary to colors in adjacent spaces. The navy blue dining room yields to a golden-hued foyer, which harmonizes with the adjacent light green living room. “All the colors are very different,” Scuderi says, “but they all flow. It’s nice when you go from room to room and you have something to look forward to; the house opens up.”

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enlarge | Left: Three gracefully curved wrought iron pendant lights over the peninsula stand out amidst the kitchen’s neutral tans and beiges. Right: In the kitchen and adjacent breakfast room, red accessories strike a playful note, adding just the right amount of color to the otherwise muted tones of the space. Arched-top niches (one shown) provide out-of-the-way display space.
Stylish Surfaces
Color was not the sole focus of the redesign. Scuderi also made a more modern statement by switching out finishing materials. “We changed every surface of the house,” he says. That included adding bead board to the front porch, replacing the fireplace bricks with stone and introducing iron finishes in many rooms (a process Scuderi calls “de-brassing everything”).

Wicker-topped stools in the kitchen, silk draperies in the master bedroom and a wool/cotton blend sofa in the family room are all part of the sheer variety of textures in the home. The wide range of materials keeps things interesting against the consistency of the hardwood floors that flow throughout the home.

The resurfacing mission serendipitously fell in line with the homeowners’ social convictions. “This is very much a Hunterdon County story. We started this at a time when the economy was quite bad, and the homeowners made a conscious effort to use local vendors as much as possible to support them,” Scuderi notes. Consequently, when it was time to select a mantel for the family room fireplace, the designer visited local barns in search of old timber. The new mantel works aesthetically as well as philosophically. “It has nice texture, nice worm holes and it looks great in the space.”

The finished project is a testament to the power of respectful renovation. Change can be good. Change can be exciting. And change can be achieved without relinquishing the personal characteristics that makes a house a home.


Overall: designer, Richard Scuderi of Mavin Hill Designs in Flemington; builder, William Nastasi Builders Inc. in Flemington; area rugs, Rugs to Riches in Flemington; paint, Benjamin Moore. Exterior: landscaping and brick wall, JML Landscaping in Neshanic Station; front porch rockers and Adirondack chairs, Seaside Casual in Coventry, Rhode Island; backyard seating, table and umbrellas, Fortunoff Backyard Store; gazebo, Amish Country Gazebos in Manheim, Pennsylvania; tableware and placemats, Mavin Hill Designs. Dining Room: lighting, Murray Feiss; dining table, chairs, sideboard, breakfront and corner cart, Ethan Allen; table runner and mirror, Mavin Hill Designs; candle holders and living room sofa, Pottery Barn. Foyer: mirror, Mavin Hill Designs; sideboard, Ethan Allen. Living Room: coffee table and cabinet, Ethan Allen; candle holders and sofa, Pottery Barn; throw pillows, Mavin Hill Designs; window treatments, Country Curtains. Family Room: ceiling lighting, Chestnut Ridge Electric in Upper Black Eddy, Pennsylvania; table lamp, mirror over fireplace, candles on mantel, through Mavin Hill Designs; built-in cabinetry and window seat, Stofanak Custom Cabinetry in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; chair, ottomans, and coffee table, Ralph Lauren Home; country French rough square fireplace stone, The Stone Center at Bridgewater; sofa and throw pillows, Ralph Lauren Home; art and candles, Mavin Hill Designs. Kitchen and Breakfast Area: cabinetry, CWI Cabinetry (now out of business); appliances: Thermador oven, Wolf cooktop, Miele dishwasher, Sub-Zero refrigerator; pendant lighting, Hesco Lighting in Clinton; countertops, Flemington Granite & Architectural Supply in Flemington; stools, Pottery Barn; backsplash, Charles Tiles Inc. in Stockton; table and chairs, Canadel in Louiseville, Quebec, Canada; tableware, placemats, window treatments and china in nook, Mavin Hill Designs. Wife’s Office: desk and chair, Pottery Barn; built-in window seat, William Nastasi Builders Inc.; chair cushion, window seat cushion, shades, pillows, window treatments, and plate collection, Mavin Hill Designs. Master Bedroom: fan, Chester Lighting in Chester; bed, dresser and end tables, Bassett in Greenbrook; bedding and pillows, Pottery Barn; blinds, Pro Blinds Inc. in Hillsborough; art, lighting and window treatments, through Mavin Hill Designs. Master Bathroom: chandelier, Hesco Lighting; bathtub, faucets, sinks, cabinetry, mirrored cabinets with lights, Aaron & Co. in Flemington; floor and shower tile, Tile Barn in Lebanon; shower door, Glass Castle Inc. in Neshanic Station; vanity countertop, Flemington Granite & Architectural Supply.

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