From the April/May 2017 Issue:

Sand Castle

    Written by: Marirose Krall |

In Seaside Park, an expansive home offers cozy comforts

Article Photo
enlarge | A double staircase welcomes visitors to this Seaside Park home. Demolition of the two homes previously on this site began just before Hurricane Sandy hit the coast. Architect Beata Szacillo says “this structure was designed to withstand a hurricane from the beginning. We reviewed it again after Sandy and decided to further strengthen some of the structural connections.”
What better place to bring folks together than the beach? That’s what the owners of this shingle-and-stone residence had in mind when they purchased two side-by-side lots on which to build their dream vacation home just steps from the ocean. The homeowners are “huge on entertaining. They love to have a lot of people around,” says Beata Szacillo of Bol Architecture in Berkeley Heights, a member of the American Institute of Architects.

The 9,000-square-foot residence is a striking presence, but the owners wanted it to be as welcoming and friendly as they are. Robert Monetti of Monetti Custom Homes in Brielle says the couple wanted “a traditional look with lots of bedrooms and bathrooms, but also an informal atmosphere.” When design work began, Donna Sirianni of Donna Sirianni Interiors in Maplewood noticed a theme in the wife’s preferences: “Every picture she showed me looked like a small beach cottage.” The challenge for this design team was creating a home that, while undoubtedly large, would have a cozy, intimate feeling to embrace guests.

Article Photo
enlarge | Billiard Room | Bold colors bring a sense of fun to the billiard room and pair well with the painting on the far wall. Coordinating barstools—with and without backs—and wing chairs in the back corner supply seating for players and spectators.
The team finessed the original formal floor plan to create “atypical room configurations,” Monetti says. For instance, “the room that was originally supposed to be a formal dining room is now a pool room.”

Sirianni adds, “We opened up the walls so we didn’t have divided spaces.” The new open plan would mean that guests could mingle freely. Still, Sirianni wanted to avoid a cavernous feeling in the sprawling space so she created clearly defined zones and established several smaller, more intimate conversation areas.

At the center of the main floor is the bar. “That became the hangout space in the room,” Sirianni says. Radiating from this central point are several distinct gathering areas, including a cluster of seats near the television and a cozy corner in front of the fireplace. The differing configurations help break up the sight lines in the large space.

Sirianni also established individual zones in the kitchen, where she felt it was especially important to have a more intimate setting. “If the owners are here in November or December, it needs to be cozy so they can feel comfortable. That’s why I broke it into two islands and a little seating area. They can have dinner in the seating area if it’s just the two of them.”

The palette chosen for the décor contributes to the sense of casual fun and brings warmth to the rooms. The wife “didn’t want the house to be monochromatic,” Sirianni says. “She wanted bold pops of color.” Appropriately, the home is steeped in the hues of sand, sun and sea. Sirianni began with a neutral foundation of beachy tans, browns and creams. The pale wall color in most of the spaces establishes a barely there backdrop that lets the furnishings stand out.

Article Photo
enlarge | The living area is set up with guests in mind. An abundance of seating options encourages conversation. The room’s foundations are neutral, allowing the orange and blue accents to stand out. The ceiling beams and fireplace mantel are hand-hewn, resawn oak beams from a circa-1850s icehouse in Vermont, builder Robert Monetti notes.
Layered over this restrained foundation are sun-drenched orange and yellow accents and maritime touches in varying shades of blue. Across the wide expanse of the living room and billiard area, the eye can’t help but stop at the orange and blue decorative elements. Two bright orange ottomans liven up one sitting area. Throw pillows with orange and blue designs bring colorful comfort to the sofas and chairs. A deep blue carpet in the fireplace area coordinates with the navy cushions and pillows.

Orange barstools add liveliness to the billiard room, anchored by a blue felt pool table and matching chairs. In one bedroom, orange accents—including the fabric on the headboard and bed frame—add eye-popping color to the predominantly beige space. In another bedroom, off-white walls and tan carpet get a nautical nudge from blue bedding and window treatments, a fitting choice alongside the “porthole” bunk beds.

The master suite features color on a softer scale. Pale blue walls in bed and bath (in similar but subtly different shades) gently envelop the rooms. Small touches of deeper hues, incorporated in throw pillows and bathroom tile, bring a bit of vibrancy. “We used some bold colors,” Sirianni says, “but we balanced it and made it serene.”

This home features a variety of interesting architectural elements. Szacillo notes, “We complemented the house with beautiful trimwork,” says Szacillo, who worked on the project with architect Philip J. Iannito, AIA. On one hand it’s very sophisticated, on the other it’s very warm and inviting.” Base and crown molding, wainscoting and large swathes of paneling frame the rooms, crisply outlining the spaces.

According to Sirianni, the ceiling posed a particular challenge. “I was worried that, because the ceiling was 9½-feet high, I couldn’t get that cottagey feel.” To address that, she added hardwood planks on the kitchen and game room ceilings to create the perception of a lower height. In the living room, wood beams placed at intervals along the ceiling engage the eye, establishing visual pauses across the large space.

Natural elements and textures bring depth and richness to the home. The chairs next to the fireplace in the living room are “rope” chairs, fabricated from hardwood and hand-woven palm. Woven elements can be found throughout the home, including on the rush seating in the game room and on stools in the family room. The fireplace stones, mirroring the exterior stones, bring an element of cabin-chic to the living room.

The eight bathrooms presented another challenge, but Sirianni gave each one a distinct personality. The powder room has a Moroccan theme with beaded sconces and handmade glazed terra-cotta tiles. Another bathroom has a more rustic feel, featuring a stone shower and backsplash. Sirianni worked with the quirks of yet another bathroom—this one outfitted with black wainscoting. “The footprint is very awkward. I decided to frame the perimeter in black, to accentuate the funkiness of it.”

That embrace of “funkiness” is an example of the homeowners’ casual sense of fun, a sense that is evident in every room of this grand, yet welcoming home. Monetti notes, “Everyone who sees it says ‘it’s so large, but it also feels so cozy and warm.’”

Editor’s Note: Don’t miss the June/July 2017 issue for an article on the home’s exterior spaces.


Overall: architects, Beata Szacillo, AIA, and Philip J. Iannito, AIA, Bol Architecture in Berkeley Heights; interior design, Donna Sirianni Interiors in Maplewood; builder, Monetti Custom Homes in Brielle; plumbing fixtures, Hardware Designs Inc. in Fairfield; tile, Mediterranean Tile in Fairfield; hardwood floors, Longleaf Lumber in Cambridge, Massachusetts; all Caperton Collection upholstery was purchased through Zimmer Rohde, Ltd. showroom in New York City (most of it custom designed); custom millwork (vanities designed by Donna Sirianni), fabricated through R&G Construction Cabinet and Millwork Inc. in North Plainfield. Building materials, millwork, and architectural details were a collaboration among the designer, builder and architect. Exterior: landscaping, Cording Landscape Design in Towaco; stone, Schofield Stone in Bridgewater. Foyer: grass-cloth wallpaper, Larsen/Cowtan & Tout (T); console and zinc lamps, Lucca Antiques in New York City; mirror, Studio|A Home in New York City; carpet, Elizabeth Eakins Inc. in New York City. Billiard Room: wall color, Benjamin Moore 966 Natural Linen; carpet, Woven Floors Inc.; bar height table, Bausman & Co. through Schwartz Design Showroom in Metuchen; stools around bar-height table/other barstools, Caperton Collection with leather fabric from Holly Hunt; pool table, Blatt Billiards in New York City; light over pool table, custom designed and fabricated by Paul Ferrante Inc. in New York City (T); chairs with striped pillows, McGuire Furniture Co.; fabric on striped pillows, Cowtan & Tout. Living Room: wall color, Benjamin Moore 966 Natural Linen; alabaster bowl chandelier, Brass Light Gallery in Milwaukee; beige sofa and loveseat, Caperton Collection with fabric from Ralph Lauren Home; striped chairs, Caperton Collection with fabric from Carleton V Ltd.; table between striped chairs, Lucca Antiques; custom throw pillows and window treatments, Custom Creations in Mountainside with Travers Collection fabric from Zimmer Rohde Ltd.; window shades, CMI Interiors Inc. in Springfield; orange ottomans, Garwood Interiors Upholstery in Westfield with indoor/outdoor fabric from Holly Hunt; coffee table, Bausman & Co. through Schwartz Design Showroom in Metuchen (T); solid carpet, Holland & Sherry in New York City; sconces on fireplace wall, Visual Comfort & Co. in Houston; rope chairs, John Himmel Decorative Arts through John Rosselli & Associates in New York City; white loveseats, Caperton Collection with fabric from Quadrille; table next to window, The New Traditionalists in New York City; custom leaded glass insert, Somers Stained Glass by Tricia Somers in Deer Park, New York; fireplace stone, Schofield Stone; ceiling beams and planks, Boards & Beams in Fairfield. Kitchen and Breakfast Area: oval table, Quintus through Zimmer Rohde Ltd.; chairs, Bausman & Co. through Schwartz Design Showroom; plaid chair pads, Garwood Interiors Upholstery with fabric from Brunschwig & Fils; limestone flooring through Paris Ceramics in New York City; French bistro stools at island, through TK Collections in New York City (T); soapstone countertop (perimeter and working island) and white Danby marble countertop (eating island), Dente Trading Co. Inc. in Cedar Grove; backsplash, designed by homeowners and designer with tiles from Mosaic House in New York City; cabinetry, Plain & Fancy Custom Cabinetry through JL Design in Millburn; pot rack, Paul Ferrante Inc. Sitting Area Off Breakfast Area: window treatments, Custom Creations with fabric from Rogers & Goffigon; window shades, CMI Interiors Inc.; chairs, McGuire Furniture Co. Family Room: bar cabinetry, Plain & Fancy Custom Cabinetry through JL Design; barstools, McGuire Furniture Co.; sofa, Caperton Collection with fabric from Jane Churchill/Cowtan & Tout; striped chairs, Caperton Collections with fabric from Ralph Lauren Home; carpet, Woven Floors Inc. Game Room: window shades, CMI Interiors Inc.; sectional custom designed and manufactured by Caperton Collection with frame fabric from Lee Jofa and seat and back cushion fabric from Holly Hunt; table next to sofa, Currey & Co. in Atlanta; lamp on table, Arteriors Home through Schwartz Design Showroom; coffee table, Paul Ferrante Inc.; light over table, The Urban Electric Co. in North Charleston, South Carolina; round table, Tritter Feefer through Schwarz Design Showroom; chairs, Gregorious|Pineo through Holly Hunt; carpet, Woven Floors, Inc. in Mendham. Master Bedroom: headboard, Bausman & Co. through Schwartz Design Showroom with fabric from Holland & Sherry; bedding, C&C Milano; custom hooked rug and alcove carpet, Elizabeth Eakins; arm chairs and ottomans, Gregorious|Pineo through Holly Hunt; end tables, David Iatesta Studio through John Rosselli & Associates; swing arm sconces, Hinson Lighting through Donghia (T); window treatments, Custom Creations Inc. with fabric from Quadrille; window shades, CMI Interiors Inc.; table between armchairs, Lucca Antiques; chandelier in alcove, Avrett through Michael Taylor Designs in New York City. Master Bathroom: wall color, Sherwin-Williams SW6519 Hinting Blue; flower chandelier and pendants, Canopy Designs in New York City. Family Room: bar cabinetry, Plain & Fancy Custom Cabinetry through JL Design; barstools, McGuire Furniture Co.; sofa, Caperton Collection with fabric from Jane Churchill/Cowtan & Tout; striped chairs, Caperton Collections with fabric from Ralph Lauren Home; carpet, Woven Floors Inc. Guest Bedroom: bed, Oly Studio with fabric from Brunschwig & Fils through Schwartz Design Showroom; bedding, A. Home in Summit; side table, Redford House through Schwartz Design Showroom; lamps, Ro Sham Beaux through Schwartz Design Showroom; overhead light, Visual Comfort & Co.; dresser, Lillian August through Schwartz Design Showroom; chair, Hickory Chair in Hickory through Schwartz Design Showroom; orange pillow, Home Goods; window shades, CMI Interiors Inc.; carpet, Woven Floors Inc.; grass-cloth wallpaper, Cowtan & Tout. Bunk Bedroom: wall color, Benjamin Moore White Dove; window treatments, Custom Creations Inc. with fabric from Schumacher in New York City and jute rope welt from Samuel & Sons Inc. in New York City; bedding and striped pillows, Serena & Lily in Sausalito, California; carpet, Woven Floors Inc.; swing arm sconces, Visual Comfort Inc.; custom starry night ceiling, PaintTek Quality Painting Inc. in Dunellen. Bathroom With Long Sink: pendant lights, Waterworks; sink and faucets, Kohler Co.; mirror, R&G Construction Cabinet & Millwork Inc. Stone Bathroom: wall color, Benjamin Moore HC-173 Edgecomb Grey; round mirror, Restoration Hardware; lanterns, The Urban Electric Co.; stone products, Mediterranean Tile. Bathroom with Double Windows: wall color, Benjamin Moore OC-12 Muslin; sconces, Waterworks in New York City; mirror over vanity, R&G Construction Cabinet & Millwork Inc.; window shades, CMI Interiors Inc. Powder Room With Shell: antique Belgian light-up mirror, Lucca Antiques; wall tile, Mosaic House; glass sink, Kohler Co.; pendants, Canopy Designs. Bathroom With Dark Wood: wall color, Benjamin Moore OC-14 Natural Cream; mirror, Schwartz Design Showroom; sconces, Visual Comfort Inc. T=To the trade.

Download the complete resource guide with contact information (pdf)