From the April/May 2019 Issue  

All About the Base

Writer Meg Fox  |  Photographer Peter Rymwid  |  Designer Jennifer Pacca, Allied ASID  |  Location Upper Saddle River, NJ  |  Kitchen Cabinetry Steve Caruso of Kitchen Concepts

“I love the look and feel of white everywhere with dark-stained floors,” Vida Mylson says of her kitchen’s classic Shaker-style cabinets, polished quartz countertops and shimmery mosaic marble backsplash. Gothic-inspired mullions add visual relief—and style—to lighted glass-front cabinets.

An enduring backdrop of neutrals—and a return to an area they loved—assures a solid foundation for a Bergen County, New Jersey family

Comfort is many things: where you choose to lay down roots or raise your family, how convenient the interior space is for everyday living and entertaining, or the balance of color and form that’s soothing to the eye.

For homeowners Vida Mylson and husband Eric Weiner it was a return after many years to Bergen County, New Jersey where they grew up—she in Montvale, NJ, he in Woodcliff Lake, NJ—that led to their happy place: a newly built home in nearby Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. Mylson says the move felt “like a natural progression” for the family of six, which includes three children and her mother.

 

Rustic wood finishes and sleek industrial accents play up the mix of casual and refined. Whimsical glass bubbles hang from the elliptical chandelier’s wrought iron frame.

 

“When we thought about the house and functionality,” she says, “I wanted it as clean and classic as possible…[something] we could grow with” and not consider outdated or overdone in five years.

“Simple and classic was the best way to go.”

This meant building upon a foundation of neutrals—similar to the essentials found in Mylson’s own wardrobe. “If you look inside my closet, there are a lot of basics” in black, white, beige, gray or navy. “To me, accessorizing is the key to any design.”

 

Layers of texture-rich fabrics in silk, linen and chenille—all in soothing tones—take comfort to the next level in the grandmother’s suite. Nail heads highlight the bed’s feminine curves. Antiqued mirrored doors on the wall of built-ins lend depth to the room. The built-ins also maximize storage.

 

For help with all aspects of the interior, Mylson worked closely with interior designer Jennifer Pacca, a state-certified interior designer, allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers and principal of Jennifer Pacca Interiors in Hillsdale, New Jersey. Pacca collaborated with Steve Caruso of Kitchen Concepts in Norwood, NJ on the kitchen’s layout and cabinetry. “Vida has impeccable taste, which leans toward classic traditional but with very clean lines,” Pacca says. Her love of neutrals—combined with her elegant style—drove the design direction, “but she also wanted to keep it casual for a young family.”

 

In the walk-through butler’s pantry, Pacca reintroduced the same door style as in the kitchen but with a dark ebony finish to “dress it up” so it flows well into a more formal dining room (not pictured), she says. The countertop is quartz and the backsplash tiles are Carrera marble in a herringbone pattern.

 

Timeless white Shaker-style doors with beaded detailing make a compelling contrast against dark Jacobean stained oak floors in the kitchen and throughout. Many variations of white had to work in the blend, Mylson says, from the cabinets to the polished quartz countertops to the shimmering marble mosaic backsplash. “I had my vision and know what I like, but Jen and her team made sure it all came together seamlessly.”

For a clean, integrated feel, wood panels conceal most of the appliances, while two lighted glass-front cabinets with Gothic-style mullions provide visual relief.

With two sinks, two dishwashers, four ovens and “an awesome pantry,” the kitchen is very functional for multiple cooks, says Mylson, who entertains large groups frequently.

 

Furnishings reflect a twist on tradition with clean lines and modernized damask patterns. Keeping the foundation neutral in shades of gray, white and ivory allows the homeowner to add pops of color in other accents and accessories.

 

Custom bar stools at the island—covered in gray vinyl with a metallic sheen—can be wiped clean easily with a sponge or cloth. Polished quartz countertops are equally fuss-free and family friendly. “I would have gone with Carrera marble,” Mylson says, “but we drink red wine and didn’t want to worry about stains or ring marks.” Quartz, she reasoned was a good compromise. “I love quartz and have it throughout the house,” she says. “It looks amazing at all times and is extremely functional for a family.” Pacca agrees.

“The popularity of quartz is growing,” she says. “It’s very durable and comes in patterns that mimic any kind of marble or granite.”

Chrome pendants above the kitchen island are sweet reminders of Eric Weiner’s childhood home. “We were high school sweethearts” and these lights were central focal points above his family’s pool table, Mylson recalls. As Pacca tells it, “Vida had her heart set on using those” lights and the idea of bringing that sense of nostalgia into their own family home.

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In the open layout, only columns separate the kitchen from the main living area, which “feels like one huge room,” Mylson says. A custom, button-tufted gray chenille sectional—accented with chrome nail heads—pairs with chairs upholstered in a large-scale damask print, adding an updated take on tradition. The clean and classic backdrop of gray, white and ivory allows for pops of color in other accents or accessories should Mylson want to make adjustments from time to time.

 

“I wanted to draw the eye upward and capture the drama of the two-story great room,” interior designer Jennifer Pacca says. She designed a built-in wall unit that features high-contrast black X-front glass frames. The chandelier “brings down the scale and adds the warmth of wood to the space,” she adds.

 

To capture the drama of the two-story great room and tie it in with the kitchen, Pacca designed an expansive wall unit built by Rafael Gomez of Rafael Designs in Rochelle Park. “I wanted to draw the eye upward and keep the fireplace as a focal point,” the designer says. For added oomph, she specified four glass-front cabinets in high-contrast black. Lower cabinets store all the kids’ games, puzzles and more. “It changed the whole dynamic of the room,” Mylson says of the wall unit, and “surprisingly it doesn’t take up that much space.”

 

“White against black is always good for drama,” says Pacca, who kicked it up a notch in the powder room’s tone-on-tone damask wallpaper and reflective glass-front vanity with decorative mullions.

 

The iconic combo of black and white is heightened also in the powder room with chic tone-on-tone black damask wallpaper juxtaposed against a crisp white vanity, which mirrors the decorative glass-fronts in the kitchen. “The floor is a basket weave of white and black marble that ties everything together,” Pacca says. Other repeating design elements complement the whole, such as in the butler’s pantry, which incorporates the same door style as the kitchen but with an ebony stain to “dress it up” so it flows into the adjacent, more formal dining room.

 

“The idea of a mudroom is fantastic, but exposure to everything not so pretty,” homeowner Vida Mylson says. Painted gray, this custom built-in keeps the kids’ belongings organized and out of sight. Open bins are reserved for towels to clean up the occasional muddy paws from the family Westie.

 

The mudroom’s efficient gray-painted built-in keeps all the kids’ coats, shoes and other gear easily accessible but out of sight. Storage and style are optimized also in the grandmother’s bedroom suite. Antiqued mirrored doors lend depth and distinction to a wall of custom cabinetry, while a neutral color scheme and limited patterns—but a mix of textures in silk, linen and chenille—contribute to the warm and peaceful setting. “I love walking into this room…it’s one of my favorite spaces,” Mylson says of her mother’s bedroom. “It was the first room we designed” upon moving into the home, not long after her father’s passing, she says.

“I wanted it to feel like a space she could call her own.”

 

With a quiet color scheme, as in this en suite bathroom, the designer added details by varying the pattern or layout of the porcelain tile flooring and walls. A marble mosaic “picture frame” also adds visual interest in the glass-enclosed shower. As far as color scheme and style, “I always like to tie in bedrooms with the adjacent bath,” the designer says. “It gives it a high-end hotel suite feel.”