From the June/July 2018 Issue  

For the Fun of It

Writer Marirose Krall  |  Photographer Peter Dressel  |  Designer John Chadwick, ASID  |  Location Asbury Park, NJ
  • The Cowtan & Tout fabric on the window wall and sofa cushions in the living room was the starting point for the décor in the entire home.

  • KITCHEN | Inverted Baccarat crystal goblets were transformed into pendant lighting over the kitchen island. Streamlined cabinets offer a sleek, simple look that contrasts with the detailed wall covering in the adjacent dining area.

  • DINING AREA | Adam Wallacavage, a Philadelphia artist, created the octopus chandelier and candleholders on the cabinet. Those pieces, along with the tableware, mimic the colors in the wall covering.

  • LOUNGE | Armchairs, along with the multicolored discs above the fireplace, add pops of color to the otherwise monochromatic lounge. The discs are by Asbury Park artist Darren McManus.

  • LOUNGE KITCHEN | The kitchen in the fourth-floor lounge is “sort of a catering kitchen,” designer John Chadwick explains. It features warming ovens and a full stock of spirits.

  • In the master bedroom, the side tables feature Lucite legs “which make them look like they’re floating,” the designer says. The door panel is trimmed in a matching green.

  • Midcentury modern Italian lamps pick up the orange tones of the armchair and the window treatments.

  • “We wanted the master bathroom to support rather than compete” with the master bedroom, Chadwick says. Seagulls on the wallpaper are in keeping with the seaside theme and coordinate with the shower tiles, which were there when the clients purchased the home.

  • ORANGE GUESTROOM | The bright orange guestroom features ocean-inspired accessories—from “coral” lamp bases to seashell wallpaper.

An Asbury Park, NJ, home is sophisticated yet lively.

It all started with a piece of fabric, designer John Chadwick says. The textile in question—Le Cabinet Curiosites from Cowtan & Tout—features conch shells, butterflies and coral in shades of brown, orange and green. “The owners found that fabric and said ‘take it from here,’” says Chadwick, a member of the American Society of Interior Designers and owner of Interiors by John Chadwick in New York City.

Chadwick did take it from there, and the path was very familiar to him. This is the fifth home he’s worked on for these clients, and the residences all have a common thread: “They are clean, chic and very modern. They always look like a magazine spread.”

It all started with a piece of fabric. The owners found that fabric and said ‘take it from here.’”
– designer John Chadwick

However, this Asbury Park, New Jersey residence required a slightly different approach. “The homeowners wanted a casual beach atmosphere,” Chadwick says, “but they are not necessarily casual people. They are very stylish people and wanted the home to reflect their personalities, but they didn’t want it to be too serious. They wanted a sense of whimsy all the way through.”

The whimsical fabric was a starting point. “We drew the floor plan and decided where we were going to use the fabric and how we were going to carry it through,” he says. The fabric covers a wall in the open-plan living/dining room and features prominently in the sofa cushions.

Taking his sea-life theme cues from the fabric, the designer went a step further. “We commissioned an artist to do the octopus chandelier,” he says of the green tentacled fixture above the dining table. And he didn’t stop there. “On top of the bar cabinet, three smaller versions [of the octopus] hold candles.”

In the kitchen, the lighting manages to be both unpredictable and classically chic. “The pendants over the island are Baccarat goblets turned upside down,” Chadwick notes, adding that Baccarat offers this service on a custom basis.

Fun and games were on the homeowners’ minds in the living room, where the central table can be raised from cocktail height to bridge height. “In the summer, there’s always a jigsaw puzzle going,” the designer says.

The upstairs lounge acts as an extension of the balcony just outside. When the door is open, “there’s a seamless transition to the terrace so it all seems like an aerie, a refuge in the clouds,” Chadwick says. The table in the lounge is also hydraulic to accommodate impromptu card games.

During those card games, dinners or whatever the activity of the moment might be, there’s background music to set a mood. Televisions in the living room and lounge are flanked by speakers connected to a sound system that streams throughout the entire residence. Another speaker over the bed in the master bedroom changes color according to the music.

Music, card games, jigsaw puzzles—these aren’t the only forms of entertainment. The homeowners “love cooking as theater,” Chadwick says. “They are both wonderful cooks and encourage people to help. They wanted an open kitchen where they could cook and be with their guests at the same time.

The décor in this home reflects not only the owners’ sense of fun, but also their sophistication. “They are world travelers,” Chadwick says. “They especially like Japan and Italy.” So they chose to accessorize their home with many mementos of those countries. In the living room, delicate Japanese hand fans feature prominently on a cabinet. In a bedroom, a Japanese poem, enlarged to become a work of art by a friend of the homeowners, is a focal point.

Italian midcentury matching lamps adorn a dresser in the master bedroom, repeating the orange from the living room wall covering and coordinating with the bedding, window treatments, armchair and accessories. The lamps flank a painting by a Sicilian artist that was purchased in Positano, Italy. The table and chairs on the deck are also from Positano.

The homeowners are inveterate art collectors. However, not all the pieces they’ve amassed were brought back from far-flung adventures; they also support creative endeavors closer to home. The colorful discs over the fireplace in the lounge are by Asbury Park artist Darren McManus, Chadwick says. “The clients purchased two of the larger discs,” Chadwick says. “When they asked where they could put them, I thought we should talk to the artist, have him see the space, and ask him what we should do.” The quandary was resolved when McManus created additional discs in various sizes and colors to join the first two above the fireplace. Beyond their bright appearance, the discs have a special feature to delight guests. “They’re 3D,” Chadwick says. “We keep 3D glasses nearby.”

From high style to high tech, from games to music (to 3D glasses!), this beach retreat has it all. It’s a seamless integration of fun and style, which, as Chadwick notes, forms a design that’s “inviting but not intimidating.”