Ranch Restoration




A few months ago I posted about a ranch restoration in the final stages.

This 60s ranch was the subject of a complete restoration, opening up the plan so the living room, dining room and kitchen share an airy, unfettered space.  The style is modern, framed by large picture windows that flood the space with light. I’ve worked with these clients on multiple homes, and the reused furnishings work quite well in this environment. The new wood floor has an ebony finish and the inset gas fireplace fits into the irregular stone wall below the flat screen TV. Sconces either side of the TV add ambient lighting and the cocktail table is wrapped in natural grasscloth. The effect is clean and spacious, the white and grey palette accenting the plentiful light and streamlined comfort.

The project is now completed. The different views allow you to see the dramatic effect of the lost walls and cathedral ceilings. The kitchen, in white lacquer, features a wine cabinet and bar area, adjacent to a refinished tulip table with chairs recovered in orange leather. Contemporary open spaces can be cold, but the use of wood, accent fabrics and colors, and the plentiful art work provide an warm glow.

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Three Months in, One Month to Go

Closet dur

Closet bef

Upwall during

Upwall bef

Our apartment renovation is moving at a rapid pace. The first set of pictures shows our master bedroom with wood and steel framing in place and then the finished closets today. Also visible is the repaired and refinished wood floor. The two closets on the right are for folded clothes while the two, deeper ones on the left (one visible), will have 4 hanging racks each. The result will be more room for clothes than we have in our current home. There is also a nook that will feature a built in panel and cabinets for computer, printer, etc. Next step is the painting, beginning this week.

The second set of photos shows the master bedroom wall constructed by filling in two doors. The headboard of our bed will lie against this wall, which will be upholstered, hence the plywood panel. The wall is soundproofed, due to the location of the TV in the adjacent room. I’m using our existing bed, refinished and painted, and a large wool area rug will ground the space. If all goes well, in a month or so we will be sleeping in our bed. Ahh!

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Breaking the Kitchen/Dining Room Barrier




How many times do you use your formal dining room? For most of my clients, the answer is rarely. For many families the kitchen and the eating area in the kitchen are the hub of family activity. So why not create a room that reflects the way we live now?

Our goal was to create an open, light-filled space combining a state of the art kitchen with a generous size dining area. Working within the footprint of the home, we opened the wall between the existing kitchen and dining room, added French doors, moved and enlarged the windows and placed an island parallel to the dining area. We chose sleek, dressy cabinets in a rich, dark wood that wouldn’t be out of place in a living room, and white Caesarstone countertops that provide an eye-catching counterpoint to the dark wood. The dining room table is expandable and fits the palette of the kitchen cabinets. To anchor each area we chose LED chandeliers that are truly modern sculpture that happen to emit light. The cooktop is a Miele unit that has all the advantages of a commercial oven in a slimmer, more attractive package. Also by Miele is the built-in coffee maker with its own water supply—a big hit with the family. The ceramic floor looks like stone but is much easier to take care of.

Natural daylight pours into the bright, airy room, bringing the beautiful grounds inside. There is a unified look and feel, yet neither the kitchen nor dining area are compromised in either utility or elegance. On the contrary, they lift each other up, providing the kitchen with a stylish presence and the dining area with a useful accessibility. My client is pleased that she can now cook dinner at parties without hiding away in the kitchen. It is an altogether amazing transformation. I like it so much, I’m combining the kitchen and dining room into one space in our new apartment in Montclair.

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Almost Ready for Inspection

closets insp. ready


Our apartment renovation in Montclair is almost ready for electrical and plumbing inspection. The bottom photo shows the original framing for built in closets in the master bedroom. The top photo shows these same closets with electric and central air installed. The town’s inspectors will arrive shortly and, if all goes well, sheet rock will begin going up. Another week or so and we hope to begin painting. If we can move in when spring has sprung, we’ll be delighted.


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Service with a Smile


The sales reps we see on a daily basis perform a variety of essential functions for us, even in the age of the internet. I’m talking about the reps who are good at their jobs, know the industry and their products, and understand our needs. These reps are vital partners, helping us do our job more effectively. Here Rena and I are looking through the latest Pollack line with Ruth. As you can see, the experience is both educational and entertaining. As it should be. Because another quality of a good sales rep is making the process fun.

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Grand Great Room


Large rows of parallel windows form a semi-circle at one end of this great room, the lofty ceiling inset atop a shelf style soffit. The ceiling is sprinkled with tiny fiber optic lights, which produce a planetarium-like starry sky effect at night. I centered the modern furnishings in the room, with back to back sofas and chaise/bench pieces offering views of the ceiling and surrounding grounds. The sofas can easily seat 14. The custom oversize rug is a substantial 36 feet long, a layer of warmth over the stone floor. The greige color scheme provides a clean canvas which highlights the wood pieces—card table, cocktail table, end tables, oversize console and ottoman with tray tops. With it’s dramatic views and sleek, modern furnishings, the space exudes a sense of occasion, ready for grand gatherings or intimate tête-à-têtes.

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Where the Cool Air Comes From


The high ceilings of our Montclair apartment have allowed us to install central air without compromising the airy feel of the space. A drop ceiling is being built in one room with minimal added ductwork to additional rooms. Our current home’s air is a hit and miss proposition, and the unit is quite old, so the improvement should be dramatic.

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Magic Carpet Family Room



I created this light, comfortable and attractive family room thorough the use of color, simplicity and proportion. The palette is light grey with blue green accents, which gives the room an unconfined, buoyant feel. The custom grey wool rug may be on the floor, but the effect is like a magic carpet, lifting the furnishings. The two sofas use a bench seat, mirrored by the bench across from the large, equally sleek ottoman, to further untether the design.  The only anchored pieces are the wood credenza and unusually shaped bookcase, which provide balance and visual focus. The only pattern is on the twin swivel chairs, but the plaid is subdued, subtle, and does not detract from the blissful appeal of this lighter than air space.

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Too Many Closets?


One of my favorite movies is Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy. In it, the Blandings family move from their Manhattan apartment to the suburbs, in part because they have no closet space. Well, the move to our Montclair apartment from our home in West Orange will be accompanied by an increase of closet space.

I’ve labored for many years in the shadow of my husband’s closets. Due to the layout of our home, it worked out for him to have more space. I’ve designed the master bedroom in our new apartment to redress the balance. In the photo the closets have been framed, so you can get an idea of  considerable space we’ll both have, built into the room on two sides. Because you simply can’t have too many closets.

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This may look like an ancient Roman excavation…


…but it is in fact the location of our master bath. Among the features of the transformation will be a rain shower head, hand shower, and mahogany vanity. We stayed in a hotel in Barcelona a few years ago with a rain shower. We spent a disproportionate amount of time getting clean. Not your normal shower experience.

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