From the August/September 2015 Issue:

Stately Spaces

    Writer: Marirose Krall | Photographer: Patricia Burke | Designer: Joan Norkus, CID, Professional Member ASID | Landscaper: Sandy Henning |

A Rumson residence evokes a bygone era but with a design that’s gracious, spacious and delightfully unruffled for today

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enlarge | The living room features shelving original to the home. Furnish­ings in cool shades of blue and green coordinate with the walls. The shelves—displaying books, china and artwork—contribute to a look that’s refined and tranquil.
The homeowners first noticed the exceptional pedigree of this 1929 residence while house hunting 30 years ago, but they decided to buy a different home. Still, this Rumson Tudor was never far from their minds and, when it came up for sale again a decade later, they snapped it up. It’s easy to see why it left a lasting impression. From the elegant iron trelliswork at the front entry to the sprawling grounds, the property has something special to offer.

Interior designer Joan Norkus, a state certified interior designer, professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers and principal of Boxwood LLC Interior Design in Colts Neck, agrees. She began working with the owners when they moved into the house. Since that time, they have completed several major renovations, including the addition of a sunroom on one side of the home and an entire wing on the other.

The owners’ goal for the 4,000-square-foot home, Norkus says: “They didn’t want to lose the historical integrity of the house, but they wanted to give it a fresher, more transitional look.”

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enlarge | The dining room embodies the elegance of another era. Two crystal chan­deliers and an antique tea set on the sideboard add to the effect.
Décor with Decorum
To keep a sense of the home’s history, many of the rooms are furnished with antiques and vintage-style pieces that hark back to a time when entertaining was an art form. A 19th century dining room furniture, for example, has been restored to its former glory. The long walnut table seats up to 14 people and sets the tone for delightful dinners in the stylish space. A set of crystal chandeliers adds to the distinguished atmosphere.

In the living room, another of the more formal spaces in the home, the owners and the designer chose vintage furnishings along with more current components to complement built-in shelving original to the home. Straight-backed chairs are reminiscent of a more ceremonial period in history. Meanwhile, soft side chairs and an ottoman are designed for comfort with a less structured, more casual silhouette, though they’re upholstered with formal fabric befitting the room’s elegant attitude.

Even the private spaces have been infused with regal details. In the master bedroom, two plush chairs in front of the fireplace wear tasseled skirts. In the master bathroom, a dainty, skirted chair with taupe fabric to match the floor tile awaits the lady of the house.

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enlarge | Mullioned windows on both sides of the fireplace are a showstopper in the family room. The doors lead to the side porch, which shares the fireplace. Taupe and gold tones join cool blues and greens in this room, which is often used for entertaining.
Serene Surroundings
Formal flourishes aside, this home radiates comfort, ease and tranquility. Gentle tones and quiet patterns dominate many of the spaces. The living room, family room and sunroom share a color palette of muted blues, greens, taupes and grays. The family room, like the living room, leans toward the more formal side thanks to mullioned windows, literal window dressing to attract the eye.

The sunroom is the spot where the homeowners enjoy relaxed evenings alone. A rustic table and rattan chair create a more casual vibe here, as does the sofa’s relaxed profile.

The light green theme is carried into the kitchen’s seating area, a mild dash of color in the predominantly white space. Other­wise, lightly striated white marble countertops and white cabinetry create a neutral backdrop that allows the food to become the star of the space.

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enlarge | The sunroom, an addition to the house 20 years ago, is furnished in a light palette, allowing the outdoor panorama to take center stage.
Wide Open Spaces
The subdued color palette imbues the home with a spacious and airy feel. The homeowners “did their best to make sure that all of the rooms felt open,” Norkus says. “They do a lot of entertaining. One of the nice things is that you can have a lot of people in the house and nobody has to be on top of anybody.”

The expansive feeling is due to a new wing added five years ago that includes a family room and a master bedroom and bathroom. It’s also due to a deliberate decision to keep window treatments simple in some rooms and skip them altogether in others.

The sunroom, for example, lives up to its name with a bank of unadorned windows that let the light and the beauty of the grounds shine through. In the kitchen, simple white window shades trimmed with green tassels delicately adorn the windows and quietly coordinate with the room.

The master bathroom is roomy and bright and includes two distinct vanities, a large soaking tub and a separate water closet. The home’s original small closets—standard 1920s fare—were replaced with several larger versions. “We were able to put in lots of closets, including an enormous walk-in,” Norkus says.

Much of the success of this project rests with the homeowners and the fact they knew what they wanted. Norkus credits the wife in particular: “She is the one with the vision and inspiration. I’m her facilitator more than her decorator. She’ll come up with the ideas and I’ll make them happen.”

Marirose Krall, a regular contributor to Design NJ, is a Red Bank-based writer.


Overall: interior design, Joan Norkus of Boxwood LLC Interior Design in Colts Neck; landscape, Sandy Henning Gardens & Landscape Designs in Rumson; all floral arrangements, from the homeowners’ garden. Living room: window treatment fabric, with trim from Samuel & Sons in New York City; wall color, Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue; lamp in window, British Cottage in Red Bank; carpet, Nima Oriental Rugs & Home Décor in Red Bank. Side porch: umbrella, Sickles Market in Little Silver; drapery fabric, Sunbrella; pillows, Bain’s Outdoor Living in Rumson. Family room: sofa, Robert Allen in New York City with chenille fabric from Kravet in Beth­­page, New York; throw pillows on sofa, Pottery Barn; Charles of London chairs, the Charles Stewart Co. in Hickory, North Carolina; throw pillows on chairs, Haven Your Home in Shrewsbury; coffee table and nesting tables (between chairs on right), Mill House Antiques in Long Branch; carpet, Sisal Rugs Direct; wall covering, Manila Hemp by Phillip Jeffries Ltd. in Fairfield (T). Den: wall color, Benjamin Moore Van Deusen Blue; sofa, chairs and ottomans, The Woods (now out of business); coffee table, British Cottage; window treatments, Rella Upholstery in North Middletown; navy throw pillow, Haven Your Home; lamps, British Cottage. Dining room: mirror, Creative Space in Shrewsbury; chandeliers, Mill House Antiques; window treatments, with trim from Samuel & Sons; wall covering; Thibaut; carpet, Carpets by Robert in Long Branch. Sunroom: Tommy Bahama sofa, Lexington Home Brands through Brielle Furniture in Sea Girt; rattan chair, Brielle Furniture; throw pillows, Thibaut; coffee table and table near window, British Cottage; wall color, Benjamin Moore Woodland Lake; wall art, Veranda Fine Art & Gift Gallery in Fair Haven; carpet, Carpets by Robert. Kitchen and breakfast area: cabinetry, Design Line Kitchens in Sea Girt, recently repainted by Robert Kennedy of Kennedy Custom Painting in Point Pleasant; cooktop and ovens, Bosch; faucet, Hansgrohe; honed marble countertops, PMI International Stone Importers in Marlboro, fabricated and installed by Bedrock Granite Inc. in Shrewsbury; backsplash tile, Imperial Tile Co. in Shrewsbury, installed by William R. Bonnewitz Custom Tile & Stone LLC in Monroe Township; chandeliers over island, Circa Lighting in Savannah, Georgia; custom table designed by Joan Norkus and fabricated by Pete Simon of P.G. Designs in Oakhurst; pillows on window seat, Pottery Barn with fabric from Kravet; wall color, Benjamin Moore Woodland Lake. Master bedroom: bed, Somerset Bay Home in High Point, North Carolina; duvet cover, sheets, coverlet and shams, Sferra in Edison; pillow cases, Peacock Alley in Dallas; throw pillow on bed, Barclay Butera Interiors in Fountain Valley, California, with Kravet fabric; carpet, Carpets by Robert; sconces; Warshauer Electric Supply in Tinton Falls; night tables, table next to window and lamp, British Cottage; wall color, Benjamin Moore Coronado Cream; fireplace surround, Jerusalem Gold through Monmouth St. Tile in Red Bank; window treatments, Peary Upholstery Inc. in Atlantic Highlands with fabric from Robert Allen; faux bamboo poles, Duralee in Bay Shore, New York. Bathroom: wallpaper, Sanderson through Zoffany-Sanderson-Harlequin in Teterboro; floor tile, Monmouth St. Tile; window treatment, Peary Upholstery Inc. with fabric from Kravet; cabinetry, Bob Kammerer of Kitchen Gallery in Red Bank (now out of business); countertop, Jerusalem Gold through Monmouth St. Tile; shelving in back room, British Cottage. T=To the Trade.

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