From the October/November 2009 Issue:

Gather Together

These spaces — living room, family room, great room, or library — provide a cozy yet compelling backdrop for the havens we crave

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Beyond the Expected

This library/gathering room in Saddle River — designed by Karen Houghton Interiors for the 2008 Designer Showhouse of New Jersey — had traditional bones, starting with dark wood paneling and built-ins. The goal was to create a warm, more gender-neutral space, a departure from the more typical dark masculine library, according to the design team: principal Karen Houghton, Andrea Ackermann, Jill Kaliff, Leila Kharem, and Karen Ricciardelli. Light colors in the rug and upholstery contrast with the dark wood; warm accents of red brighten the space. Custom drapery and luxurious fabrics with a bit of glimmer add glamour and femininity. The team, which wanted to approach the built-in niche differently, hung colorful modern art instead of the usual flat-screen TV. The architectural-inspired chandelier takes design cues from the coffered ceiling.

Sources: interior design and custom window treatments, Karen Houghton Interiors in Nyack, New York; custom woodwork, Forbes Enterprises Corp. in Saddle River; coffee table, Robert and Robert in Denton, North Carolina; striped chairs, Julian Chichester in High Point, North Carolina; chaise and sofa, Lee Industries Inc., in Newton, North Carolina; all fabrics, Stroheim & Romann in New York City; red nesting tables, Arteriors Home in Dallas; chandelier and table lamp, Fine Art Lamps through Capitol Lighting in Paramus; artwork, Phoenix Art Group Inc. in Phoenix; screen, antique; rug, Palace Oriental Rugs in Wilton, Connecticut.

Coastal Ties

When Sea Girt homeowners Susan and Larry Jones remodeled their first floor into a more open layout, they wanted adjacent spaces to have their own identity but to have visual continuity as well. Threading one common fabric — an overscaled leaf and floral pattern on the ottoman in the living room and elsewhere in the family room — ties the spaces together, designer Sally Bacarella says. Other fabrics are similar in tone and texture, balanced with accents of soft sea green. The casual but sophisticated living room is suited to small social gatherings. When it’s not opened for intimate dining, the mahogany drop-leaf table serves as a console in front of the window. Classic picture-frame molding replaced an “overbearing glass mirror” above the fireplace, the designer says. A new surround and sconces enhance the elegant yet understated look. For the family room, “it was all about maximizing comfort” with a well-scaled sectional and club chair for lounging, reading, or watching TV. A built-in unit houses the TV (not shown). “Leather gives the room a richness and casual feel at the same time,” and X-pattern raffia cornices with nail-head trim anchor the sofa with nautical flair, she says.

SOURCES: Both Rooms: interior design, Bacarella Interiors in Ocean; window treatments, Richard Davis Designs through Bacarella Interiors. Living Room: sofa and chairs, Drexel Heritage in Thomasville, North Carolina; valance fabric and sheers, Duralee Fabrics in Bayshore, New York; pendant and sconces, Hudson Valley Lighting in Newburgh, New York; drop-leaf table, Scott Thomas Furniture in Twinsburg, Ohio. Family Room: sectional, club chairs, end tables, Drexel Heritage; cocktail table, Sherrill Occasional in Hickory, North Carolina; raffia fabric on cornice, Kravet in New York City; wood blinds, Prestige Window Fashions in Edison.

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French Finesse

Designer Lenore Spinelli envisioned a “comfortable, semiformal living room” with watery blue and sand tones for the space she designed for the 2008 Hammonton Show House. Spinelli, of Lenore Frances Interiors, kept the upholstery light and neutral with a cozy slipcovered sofa and chair. Accent colors appear on the walls, ceiling, back of bookcases (one shown), and assorted accessories. The ceiling’s delicate floral motif mimics the embroidered pattern on the chair; a rusty metallic ribbon wraps around the perimeter. Lamps and plug-in sconces provide ample lighting “without disturbing the plaster walls,” Spinelli says. A French-style floor mirror reflects light along the far wall, and a mirrored chest with gold accents adds “sparkle without the weight of a big piece,” she adds. Reflected in the chest is a black-and-gold-toned coffee table with an antique mirrored top that blends with another of the room’s special finds: a collection of framed French ship logs.

Sources: interior design, Lenore Frances Interiors in Mount Laurel; decorative painting, Lillian’s Paintbrush in Moorestown; contractor, Jef Freund in Voorhees; wallpaper, York Wallcoverings in York, Pennsylvania; embroidered chair, side table, and floor mirror, Kroungold’s Furniture in Marlton; mirrored chest, tea cart, and decorative box on mantel, Atlas Interior Home Fashions in Marlton; bowl on mirrored chest, April’s Garden in Marlton; coffee table and framed French documents, Albert’s Interiors in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania; sconces and table lamp, Sheffield Furniture & Interiors in Malvern, Pennsylvania; area rug, Parisa’s Decorative Rugs Inc. in Philadelphia; fabrication of window treatments, pillows, and slipcover, Custom Window by Robert A. Kline in West Berlin; fabrics and trim, Kravet; painting above fireplace, artist Valerie Craig, St. Davids, Pennsylvania.

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Family Plan

Princeton homeowners wanted a room where they could spend quality time with their three children “now that they are getting older and going off to college” — a family room that is sophisticated, comfortable, and entertaining, designer Judy King says. Two sizable chenille sofas were the perfect solution in a multiuse space that also includes a pool table, a library wall full of books and collectibles, and a bar and flat-screen TV above a stone fireplace (not shown.) Because this space was an addition off the formal living room, “it was important to blend the rooms,” King says. The overscaled window treatment pattern keyed in colors from the adjacent room; it also inspired the selection of slate blue accents and sisal-covered coffered ceiling. “The room is perfect for entertaining family and friends,” especially when the couple hosts their annual Christmas party, King adds.

Sources: interior design, Judy King Interiors LLC in Princeton; architect, Glen Fries Associates in Princeton; design and construction of built-ins, Ethan Perry of River Wood Studio in Ferndale, Pennsylvania; sisal wall covering, Phillip Jeffries Ltd. in Fairfield; rug, Patterson, Flynn & Martin in Philadelphia; sofas, Edward Ferrell Ltd. in New York City with fabric by Lee Jofa; window treatment fabrication, Tom Borits in Buckingham, Pennsylvania, with fabric by Brunschwig & Fils; decorative painter, Terry Comella Design Studio in Wenonah; lighting, Heritage Lighting in Lambertville.

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Twist on Tradition

A Morris County homeowner wanted a “comfortable, elegant, and intimate space where she and her girlfriends could relax and enjoy each other’s company,” says designer Maria Bevill, principal of Maria K. Bevill Interior Design. The homeowner is “young, chic, and hip,” and the house itself is traditional, Bevill notes. To reflect both, she gave traditional elements a contemporary spin. For example, “I introduced an eighteenth century tray table done in antique mirrored glass instead of wood, contemporary and transitional art, and an English lantern in a contemporary style, she says. Bevill also updated a classic armless chair with silver-wash nail-head trim. Deep raspberry grass-cloth walls and a mix of caramel and gold tones complement the main floor’s color scheme. “The ambience is wonderful at night with candlelight reflecting off the mirrored surfaces and subtle metallic touches around the room,” says Bevill, a member of the International Design Society.

Sources: design, artwork, custom furniture, chandelier, and area rug, Maria K. Bevill Interior Design in Chester; fireplace tile, Virtue Tile Co. in Summit; wall covering, York Wallcoverings in York, Pennsylvania, drapery fabric, Robert Allen Group/Beacon Hill Showroom in New York City.