From the April/May 2009 Issue:

Great Expectations

  • Writer: Ren Miller
  • Photographer: Daniel Eifert
  • Designer: Tere Bresin, ASID

The transition from urban to suburban, from couple to family, inspires the design of a new home in Morris County

Article Photo
enlarge | Foyer: Raspberry walls with a subtle sheen reminiscent of suede welcome visitors in the foyer of Erin and Ray Cubero’s new home in Mountain Lakes.
Erin and Ray Cubero were at a crossroads, leaving behind the urban sophistication of New York City for the more family-oriented community of Mountain Lakes. They wanted to bring elements of their urban past with them while setting the stage for their future as suburban parents. That’s the challenge they laid at the hands of architect Lawrence Korinda and interior designer Tere Bresin, a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers and principal of Beret Design Group.

“We wanted to create something unique, something fresh and modern,” Erin Cubero says. As a marketing executive for boutique hotels, she absorbed edgy European design sensibilities, though her husband didn’t want stark, hard lines in their new home. “Tere created a beautiful blend of soft modern and more traditional design elements,” she says.

And she did it in just about half a year — nearly every room on all four floors. The need for speed came about because the Cuberos went from no children to two very quickly. They were well on the way to adopting when they learned they were expecting, so they wanted to finish as much of the interior design as possible before bringing home their daughter, now just under 1 year, and son, 11/2. “I wanted to do everything right away because once the kids came, I knew I would be involved in other things,” she says.

The home has large, open spaces, so careful space planning was required to make it comfortable for small family gatherings as well as for large, informal events, Bresin says. Most of the upholstery shapes as well as a large variety of case goods were custom-designed to accommodate the mix of woods used throughout the home: cherry in the great room, mahogany in the dining room and master bedroom, and sycamore and ebony in the lower-level media and game room. She added to the ambience with innovative ambient, task, and accent lighting. “The design involves layers of lighting, providing the ability to light the rooms for different moods,” Bresin says. Adds Erin Cubero, “Tere’s lighting is incredible.”

Bresin credits Cubero for knowing what she wanted (a house where she and her husband could entertain, some good art, and color); Cubero credits Bresin for understanding her vision (“There’s really nothing we don’t love about the house”). And both women enjoyed collaborating with each other.

Article Photo
enlarge | Dining Room: Raspberry accents in the dining room painting by Claude Heremet pick up on the foyer color. In the dining room, the sideboard is custom mahogany, the Italian polyester drapery panels fall like silk over linen Roman shades, and the Tibetan rug was custom colored in Kathmandu. Bresin added the coffered ceiling for drama.
Making an Impact

Family and friends get a hint of the home’s sophisticated design when entering the raspberry-walled foyer. The adjoining living and dining rooms have more neutral walls (“If adjoining rooms are neutral, the foyer should have an impact of color,” Bresin says). But the adjoining rooms have raspberry accents (“I like to carry colors from one room to the next for a cohesive look,” Bresin adds). Also in the foyer an asymmetrical polished nickel, iron, and Swarovski crystal chandelier draws the eye upward and has become Erin Cubero’s favorite lighting fixture.
The Cuberos use the living room — one of the more formal spaces in the home — as a piano room and for entertaining. “We entertain friends and family often, especially since we’ve become involved with some community organizations,” Erin Cubero says. “I love this room because it reminds me of a European hotel. She also arranged a collection of John Derian Co. plates hung as art in the room.

On the other side of the foyer, the dining room stands ready for dinner parties. Bresin chose a custom table and sideboard in mahogany and cushioned chairs that will remain comfortable for long after-dinner conversations. The armchairs and side chairs have complementary textured fabrics. She added coffers for drama, hung an iron and crystal chandelier to light the table, and glazed the walls in a burnt butter shade to warm the room.

Article Photo
enlarge | Living/Piano Room: Adding light and elegant sparkle are “Hollywood” sconces above the living/piano room fireplace and an iron and crystal chandelier and sconces in the dining room. Also in the living/piano room, designer Tere Bresin covered the windows with textured sheers that provide a measure of privacy. The silverleaf accent table is a favorite of the homeowner. “It has such personality with a bottom that looks like the base of a tree,” Erin Cubero says.
Entertainment Central

The back of the home features a vast open space that comprises a great room and a kitchen on either side of a breakfast area that opens to a patio and the backyard. “This is where we spend most of our time and do most of our entertaining,” Erin Cubero says. “One of my favorite pieces in the house is the composite concrete coffee table in the great room. It was on a metal base in the showroom and my husband thought it would look too industrial, so Tere recommended a wood base instead — and it looks great.” Velvet chenille covers the swivel club chairs in pumpkin and the sectional sofa in green. The wall adjacent to the fireplace, which Bresin designed, features a built-in cherry entertainment unit flanked by window seats and display cabinets in the corners.

A custom cherry pedestal table defines the breakfast area. It’s surrounded by handmade French café chairs from Maison Drucker outside of Paris. Raw rattan is steamed, bent, and shaped into chair frames; second- and third-generation craftsmen weave the backs and seats. The counter stools are a matching design.

In the kitchen Bresin chose window shades that open from the top down and bottom up, while Cubero decided on the white tile backsplash with butterscotch accents. Cubero also chose the tile and plumbing fixtures in all of the bathrooms.

The Cuberos escape to their master bedroom retreat at the end of each day. “It’s a serene, tranquil room, and I love to go there,” Erin Cubero says. She suggested the custom headboard shape based on one she saw in a magazine. The headboard is covered in silk with an embroidered criss-cross pattern. Behind the bed is a wall of windows — not ideal for a couple who wanted to shut out light from the outside. So Bresin designed a double-row window treatment that not only blocks the light but also adds a romantic feel to the room. Other luxury textures range from the solidity of the massive limestone fireplace surround to the shimmer of mirrored nightstands with Murano glass lamps, the softness of a velvet upholstered settee, and the airiness of the asymmetrical crystal and polished nickel sconces and a Murano glass chandelier.

Cocoa-colored walls and a zebra print on the chair and rug border add spice to the neutral guest room. The room is personalized with sconces Cubero purchased on her travels and black-and-white photos from the couple’s collection.


SOURCES Overall: interior design, Beret Design Group in Upper Montclair; architecture, Lawrence Korinda, Architect in Boonton. Foyer: decorative painting, Cathy Dilger in Sparta; “Candles and Spirits” chandelier, Beret Design Group. Living/Piano Room: fireplace design, custom upholstery, silverleaf accent table, Beret Design Group; fireplace screen, Lyle & Umbach Ltd. in New York City; mirrors, William Switzer & Associates in New York City; sofa table, John Saladino in New York City; statue on sofa table, homeowners. Dining Room: sconces and chandelier, Niermann Weeks in New York City; chairs, Artistic Frame in New York City; rug, David Anthony Carpets in Midland Park; cachepots on sideboard, Ebanista in New York City; Murano glass pieces on the sideboard, Lorin Marsh in New York City; custom table and sideboard, company now out of business. Great Room: composite concrete coffee table, Sandback in Harrisville, New Hampshire; custom upholstered pieces, through Beret Design Group; sconces, Ironware International in New York City; rug, J. Herbro Corp. in Fairfield. Breakfast Area: table, Lazarus & Williamson in Paterson; “Lille” chandelier, Niermann Weeks in New York City. Second-Floor Landing: “Eden” sconces, through Beret Design Group; painting and bench, homeowners. Master Bedroom: Spanish mirrored nightstands and English sconces, through Beret Design Group; nightstand lights, Donghia in New York City; custom Tibetan rug, David Anthony Carpets. Guest Room: chair, fabrics, rug, through Beret Design Group.

Download the complete resource guide with contact information (pdf)