Maplewood, NJ

Maplewood_NJ_village_Dec_2005

I moved to Maplewood in 1980, to a house on Durand Road. I still feel the pull of nostalgia every time I drive by. Considering that I had my interior design studio and shop on Maplewood Avenue in the village for 15 years, I guess you could say that it’s my hometown, at least since I came to America 30 years ago from Paris. Everything about Maplewood is just as appealing as it was then—the mix of the population, the schools, the parks, the charming character of the downtown village. My kids grew up in Maplewood and would walk to the shop every day after school, so this is one working mother who has very positive memories of handling the work/family-juggling act in this supportive setting. There’s a photo that was in the window of one of the stores in town for a while that showed the downtown in the 1950s, and other than the cars, the basic look and feel is the same. It’s no surprise that film companies have frequently chosen Maplewood a perfect casting for a likeable suburban town. It was exciting to see Meryl Streep and William Hurt and a few thousand technicians invade the town back in the early 90s for the filming of One True Thing, though the dislocation they caused was definitely a headache. After moving our business to Short Hills I still enter many Maplewood shops and find my old comrades at the counter, asking me how I’ve been.

I also learned that Durand Road, as well as being full of character, has historical significance as well, being named after the Hudson River School painter Asher Brown Durand, whose son John lived on the street. And Memorial Park was designed by the preeminent landscapers of the time, the Olmstead Brothers, responsible for that minor project called Central Park in Manhattan.

One of my favorite weekend activities is to drive through Maplewood, pointing out to my passengers the many homes I’ve had the pleasure of working on, the homeowners I’ve worked with, and the many friends I’ve made. I think it says something about Maplewood that this seems a perfectly logical way to spend an afternoon.

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