From the February/March 2016 Issue  

Your Favorite Spaces

Writer Ren Miller
  • Blue and blue-green are balanced with creamy whites in the dining room. The coffered ceiling was uncovered during a renovation and highlighted by painting the recessed areas with a metallic glaze.

  • Designer Julie Liepold accepts a Beatriz Ball ice bucket from Design NJ Editor in Chief Ren Miller as winner of the indoor category of the magazine’s My Favorite Space contest in celebration of the magazine’s 15-year anniversary celebration.

  • Carrying through the peacock theme, an embroidered napkin with feather-and-beaded napkin rings rests on a dessert plate, ivory china and gold swirl charger.

  • A beaded and feathered napkin ring adds a fun finishing touch to the table setting.

  • Golden flatware and stemware pick up the metallic trim on the dishes.

  • A handmade ice bucket by metal artist Beatriz Ball holds a floral arrangement by Jerry Rose on a chest that stands in front of peacock-themed wallpaper. The pattern of the eglomisé gilded glass on the outer rim of the mirror complements the damask background of the historic wallpaper design.

  • Close-up of the Beatriz Ball ice bucket that was presented to Eirka Lipton

  • The Liptons have hosted lunches and parties in the gazebo, which is wired for music and lighting, but Erika Lipton also finds it a relaxing spot to enjoy the view, read a book or otherwise unwind.

  • Design NJ Editor in Chief Ren Miller presents a Beatriz Ball ice bucket to Erika Lipton as winner of the outdoor category of the magazine’s My Favorite Space contest.

  • The floating gazebo has a com­mand­­ing view of the wooded surroundings as well as the fish and frogs in the pond.

  • The gazebo is a beautiful view from the front lawn of the Liptons’ home.

  • A trellis frames a brick walkway leading to the dock.

  • The gazebo, though not an an antique, is reminiscent of a Victorian-era structure.

  • In addition to entertaining in the gazebo, homeowner Erika Lipton also enjoys quiet time there.

Our Facebook users choose winning projects.

Our goal at Design NJ is to present interesting projects that pique your curiosity and inspire you to create living spaces that make you happy to come home.

One of our joys is choosing which projects to feature. We turned the tables during our 15-year anniversary celebration last year and invited you to post photos of your own favorite spaces on our Facebook page.

At the culmination of the contest, our Facebook friends reviewed the finalists and chose an indoor winner and outdoor winner, both featured here. Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to those of you who participated!


Feathered Features
Winner: Julie Liepold, Liepold Design Group LLC
Photographer: Ira Casel

What’s more eye-catching than a peacock who goes courting with his plumage fanned out in resplendent blues and greens with accents of deep gold? The colors and patterns of those feathers have inspired artists of all kinds, perhaps none more famously than James McNeill Whistler. In 1876-1877, the artist painted the dining room of a London townhome in shades of this showy member of the pheasant family, and the room took on a life of its own, eventually becoming known as the Whistler Peacock Room.

The room is noted not only for its rich colors but also its emphasis on horizontal and vertical elements derived from Far Eastern architecture mixed with organic, curvilinear peacock motifs. It’s been described as one of the best examples of Anglo-Japanese style in existence. The famed room, complete with commentary about the artist’s struggles with its owner, is now on display on this side of the ocean at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art.

That is where the story of the indoor winner of the My Favorite Space contest begins. Kit and Mark Manigan wanted to update the dining room of their Essex County home. They and their designer, Julie Liepold, took their cues from the blue and blue-green accessories in a nearby room and struck upon a peacock theme when Kit and Julie, both art history majors in college, discussed the Whistler Peacock Room.

Liepold suggested a design that is both dramatic yet pared back for a modern couple with young children. A peacock-themed wallpaper, custom blue and green draperies, and a blue ceiling with metallic glaze are tempered with creamy white coffers, wainscoting and area rug. A crystal chandelier creates sparkle, and a large round mirror echoes the weighty round dining table and adds balance to a wall with a window that’s off to one side.

As a winner of Design NJ’s My Favorite Space competition, Liepold received a handmade Organic Pearl ice bucket courtesy of Louisiana-based metal artist Beatriz Ball. The ice bucket is pictured on the dining room server holding a floral arrangement by Jerry Rose of Maplewood, who provided all of the flowers in the dining room.

Liepold, an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers, credits Manigan for her involvement in the project—they often shopped together for furnishings. And Manigan says the result is just what she hoped for: a room as suitable for elegant entertaining as it is for quiet family meals.

SOURCES design, Liepold Design Group LLC in Millburn; wallpaper, Albemarle Byron 94-7041 by Cole & Son; dining table, Theodore Alexander in Hickory, North Carolina; chair fabrics, F. Schumacher & Co. in New York City; table setting, embroidered napkins and napkin rings by Kim Seybert in New York City, Medici Florentine gold swirl charger and dessert plate by Juliska in Stamford, Connecticut, and ivory china dinner plate with goldleaf edging by Villeroy & Boch in Monroe; chandelier, John-Richard in Greenwood, Mississippi; Italian glass lamp, Decorative Crafts Inc. in Greenwich, Connecticut; window treatments, panel fabric by Jim Thompson in Atlanta and shade fabric by Clarke & Clarke in San Clemente, California, fabrication by CMI Interiors in Springfield; drapery rods with acanthus finials, Stroheim in Tulsa, Oklahoma; mirror, Julian Chichester in High Point, North Carolina; various accessories, Global Views in Dallas; ice bucket, Beatriz Ball in Harvey, Louisiana; florals, Jerry Rose in Maplewood; general contractor, Timber-Ridge Construction in Cranford; assistance with installation, Speed Square Home Repair in Short Hills.



Floating Away on a Dream
Winners: Erika and Lee Lipton
Photographer: Marisa Pellegrini
Stylist: Shaina Barrise

An idyllic sunset dinner on a friend’s dock on Lake Hopatcong put a thought in Lee Lipton’s mind. If he and wife Erika did something similar on the pond in the expansive front lawn of their Newton home, they could enjoy a similar experience anytime they wanted.

The idea was still germinating in his mind when the couple visited an antiques shop across the river in Pennsylvania. There, he spied a gazebo. Though new in materials and construction, the gazebo suggested a Victorian-era folly made for lazing about on a lake on summer evenings.

It could work if a floating dock could be built to support it. The store owner and a dock builder both said no, but soon afterward, the Liptons were watching a dock being built on their front lawn and then a wrought iron gazebo being assembled on top of it. With everyone’s fingers crossed, a giant wench dragged the assembly into the pond, where it has been floating ever since. The only maintenance is a new coat of paint every three to five years and, of course, hoping for rain to keep the pond full.

“It’s so relaxing to just sit there, read a newspaper or watch the fish and turtles swim about,” Erika Lipton says. “We also host cocktail parties, lunches and elegant dinners in the gazebo.” It’s wired for lights and music and is comfortably furnished like a luxurious porch.

As a winner of Design NJ’s My Favorite Space competition, the Liptons received a handmade Vento ice bucket courtesy of metal artist Beatriz Ball that’s perfect for warm-weather wine tastings on the pond. And for winter? The furnishings are moved indoors, and the gazebo looks beautiful covered with a fresh coat of snow.