From the June/July 2021 Issue  

Eclectic Edge

Writer Meg Fox  |  Photographer Ryan M. Brown  |  Designer Antoinette Allande Anderson  |  Location Montclair, NJ

A young Montclair family tweaks tradition with a well-traveled outlook and youthful spirit

Built in 1902, the Dutch Colonial Revival-style home — located in Montclair’s historic Marlboro Park neighborhood — is full of ornate period details such as Ionic columns, dormer windows and graceful symmetry.


Amy and Tristan Morel L’Horset are world travelers who have lived in multiple countries. Upon moving to Montclair, New Jersey, with their three boys, the couple wanted to bring a fresh perspective to their 1902-era home: a grand center-hall Dutch Colonial style located in the town’s historic Marlboro Park neighborhood. “The exterior and interior architecture are formal, ornate and traditional,” says Antoinette Allande Anderson, principal of Hoboken-based Antoinette Allande Interiors. “Quite bossy!” she adds in jest. Modern furnishings would not have worked. “I had to respect the history and soul of the home.”

  • “I love creating a bold entry,” one that also connects with clients’ personalities, designer Antoinette Allande Anderson says. Eclectic, playful and welcoming, this foyer strikes a visual balance of old and new.




With an interior refresh in order, Allande transformed main living areas with just paint, wallpaper and furnishings — a strategy she tackled in phases over a two-year period. Says Allande: “They required comfortable furniture that wouldn’t be too precious or fussy and furnishings that would mix well with their existing French antiques.” They also wanted a home that would wear well over time.

Original built-in cabinetry and millwork — beams, fireplace and paneling, for instance — remained intact but were enhanced by a whitewash treatment — a nod to the turn-of-the-20th-century decorating legend Elsie de Wolfe, Allande says. De Wolfe had a “penchant for creating a feminine and airy feel in her interiors by painting dark and heavy interiors white and light colors.”

  • The living room — used for reading, piano playing or just relaxing by the fire — is adjacent to the dining area and opens to a screened porch with backyard access. Like the millwork throughout, the brick fireplace was whitewashed to maintain the room’s light and airy feel. The ottoman and Moroccan side table are vintage. A sumptuous Oushak-style rug adds exuberant color and pattern.




The decision to paint the woodwork was not unanimous — at least initially. Tristan Morel L’Horset favored the charm of the original dark surfaces, Allande recalls. That being considered, “Amy and I really felt strongly that the whitewashing would be a fresh new look that would breathe new life into the home.” With a majority rule, “we decided to go for it!” Fortunately, “Tristan is very happy with the end result.”

The interiors’ new white foundation was a clean surface waiting to be jolted by vibrant and whimsical textiles, carpets, wallpapers, antiques and artisanal furnishings. “We mixed the old and new to create a fresh and nuanced interpretation of a traditional-style home,” Allande says. She describes the look as “eclectic traditional with a touch of whimsy.”

The bold entry — a welcoming and cheerful space accented with rich color and patterns — sets the tone for the homeowners’ worldly but lighthearted aesthetic. Contemporary pieces stake their claim alongside an antique British Colonial table — topped with an Indian block-printed tablecloth — and a carpet the couple commissioned while vacationing in Morocco. A Kelly Wearstler ceiling light fixture “adds a little bit of playfulness and youth to the space,” Allande adds.

  • Whitewashing formerly dark millwork in the dining room and adjacent living area reflects light and breathes new life into the home. The homeowners purchased the vintage crystal chandelier, table and chairs while they were living in France. Allande reupholstered the chairs in a rich sapphire blue velvet high-per­for­mance fabric, which picks up the tones in the hand-knotted contemporary rug.




The dining room’s vintage French table, chairs and crystal chandelier feature classic motifs and ornate details that “mix well with the elegant architectural details throughout,” Allande says. Chairs were given new life with a rich sapphire blue velvet high-performance fabric that “intentionally juxtaposes” the light and airy backdrop. As an extension of the dining room, the living area also blends vintage pieces with contemporary finds. Both share a similar palette. “My clients responded favorably to blues, corals and neutrals,” Allande says. “I like to inject a little bit of the same colors in every room to create harmony, especially if the rooms are open to each other.”

  • The newly furnished family room is chic, comfortable and cozy. The sectional was delivered just days before the global lockdown and upholstered in a resilient, family-friendly fabric. “The owners were so relieved they had a comfortable new sectional for watching movies during the quarantine,” Allande says. Sparkly blue cork wallpaper adds color and texture. Bookcases are styled in an eclectic mix of vintage and new objects and artwork.




With ease of living top of mind, the newly furnished family room is stylish and practical. “The Moroccan-style rug is very durable, cleanable, thick and plush,” the designer notes, and the big Serena & Lily sectional and ottoman — upholstered in a high-performance fabric — means “there are no worries when it comes to spilled juice or red wine.” All upholstery was also treated with FiberSeal® coating for an extra layer of protection. “With three boys, it was a must!” The abstract expressionist artwork in the family room — painted by Allande herself — pulls from the calming blue tones in the cork wallpaper and elsewhere. “I often make art for my interiors,” she says.

  • The cabinetry and marble countertops in the kitchen and pantry were in good shape, and the penny tile floors “are amazing,” Allande notes. A new bistro chandelier complements the vintage French table and chairs.




  • For better visual flow between rooms, formerly dark walls and yellow cabinets were refinished in a light gray/blue palette.




Upgrades to the kitchen and adjacent butler’s pantry were minimal but impactful because the existing cabinetry and marble countertops were in good shape, Allande says. “We just freshened things up a bit.” Sanding and repainting formerly dark walls and yellow-toned cabinets — both in a light gray and blue palette — improved the visual connection between rooms. Lighting also enhanced the setting. “I am big into lighting,” whether it’s a statement ceiling light, sconces to add architectural interest or table lamps for soft illumination, the designer says. The kitchen’s new bistro-style chandelier “is the perfect companion to the vintage French table and chairs the couple purchased when they lived in Paris.”

What may be next on the agenda? “I am waiting for phase three to begin for the upper floors,” Allande says. “It’s been a delight working with this amazing family.”