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HOUSE+ GARDEN THE BEST OF

SPECIAL SHOPPING FEATURE Supplement to New Jersey Life Health + Beauty

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Fine furnishings ÂŹ Accessories ÂŹ Art ÂŹ Lighting ÂŹ Rugs ÂŹ And More

4 Litho Road, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648 ď™‰ď™ƒď™Œ.ď™‡ď™ƒď™‰.ď™Œď™„ď™ƒď™ƒ / designspree.com

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Side effects of a Borst ÂŽ landscape:

Nosy Neighbors

Committed to being the best...naturally. Our full-service, award-winning landscape ďŹ rm specializes in landscape design & installation and organic lawn fertilization and maintenance.

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4/27/11 7:51:54 AM


CONTENTS

44

60 THE “BEST OF” ISSUE COVER IMAGE Helen Norman

Publisher’s Letter Jewelry Design Statements Pools Hardscaping Landscapes Kitchens

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37

HOME

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44

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Country Retreat

Jon Carloftis takes container gardening to new heights.

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Enchanted Garden A Princeton couple creates a storybook setting for their home.

ENTERTAINING

Show Jumper Innovation is the hallmark of a party designer commissioned to transform a stable into a setting worthy of an elegant affair.

Setting the Stage Nature runs her course in creative ways at this Far Hills garden.

An architect marries a 1700s Oldwick home to its landscape.

Knob Hill

81

GARDEN

Reflections of a Gardener

The creation of an English manor house–style residence sparks a unique business idea.

15

A Rustic Revival Nothing says “home” like a barn with a story.

88

A Pop-Art-MeetsSummer Spectaular Party-crash a mod outdoor soiree in Hunterdon.

96

Shopping Five must-visit towns.

104 Last Look

CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP, LEFT: MATTHEW BENSON; JOHN GRUEN; VAN CLEEF & ARPELS

8 15 16 20 24 28 32

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Lamb “Innocent? not always”

Bat “The night is young”

Rooster “Your singing seduces me”

Wolf “Big and bad? only in fairy tales” Dodo “I’m your dodo”

Octopus “Hug me tight”

Panda “You’re a rare species” Little Hen “I would cover you with kisses”

Dachshund “You’re great!”

THE

Dodo STORY

IN A LAND FAR, FAR AWAY... Dodo is the name of that funny feathered bird who lived without a care in the world on the island of Mauritius, until extinction caught up with him. However, like the best stories, there is a happy ending as Dodo has come back to life into fun whimsical 18K gold charms. This Italian jewelry brand much loved in Europe for being fanciful, easy to wear and transcending age and gender, has opened its doors in the US. Dodo is not just any jewelry, it has a unique and special personality. It is a collection of charms, a happy and lighthearted group of animals who speak to you. Each one has a meaning and message that represents feelings and emotions, revealing something about those who wear them. Dodo pieces are meant to be collected, given as presents of love or friendship. It is a jewel that you will never want to take off.

VISIT US AT THE DODO BOUTIQUE AT THE MALL AT SHORT HILLS 973.376.3100 | www.dodo.it

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LUXURY+ LIFESTYLE+ DESIGN Special Issue June/July 2011

PUBLISHER

Cheryl Olsten

EXECUTIVE EDITOR

Patti Verbanas

ART DIRECTION

Laura Gharrity

MANAGING EDITOR PRODUCTION MANAGER WEB EDITOR DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING SALES ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES

Liz Donovan Lauren Johnson Brianne Harrison Moore Andrew Shane Barbara Bastardi, Jennifer McLaughlin, Maria G. Mignone

NEWSSTAND

Kable Distribution

CIRCULATION

Jan Edwards-Pullin

FULFILLMENT

Fulco Inc.

ACCOUNTING

Vicki Lynn DeHaven

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

Caroline Seebohm, Caroline Tiger

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Monica Bhide, Larry Bilotti, Cara Birnbaum, Purnell T. Cropper, Sarah Jordan, Lee Lusardi Connor, David W. Major, Nancy A. Ruhling, Caroline Seebohm, Caroline Tiger, Monica Willis

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Matthew Benson, Peter Cook, Scott Frances, William Geddes, John Gruen, Helen Norman, Courtney Winston Steven E. Grabowski

OLSTEN PUBLISHING, LLC

Please recycle this magazine.

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nj LIFE

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This is where luxury lives

in Downtown Princeton.

The Residences at Palmer Square is the ďŹ rst and only collection of luxury homes in downtown Princeton. These one-of-a-kind townhomes and condominiums put you right where you want to be. Condominiums priced from $1.25m s Townhomes priced from $1.76m

Townhome Model Now Open!

(ULlSH3TREET 0RINCETON.*s /PEN$AILY AMnPMs7EB0ALMER3QUARE2ESIDENCESCOM -OBILE0ALMER3QUARE2ESIDENCESCOMMOBI

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publisher’s letter

After

Cheryl Olsten, Publisher

After publishing New Jersey Life for some 14-plus years, I made the decision to shift the focus from a purely lifestyle magazine to that of one which embraced the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle — hence the transformation of New Jersey Life to New Jersey Life Health + Beauty. However, I thought it would be great fun to produce a stand-alone piece from past issues of NJL that highlighted a few of my favorite homes, gardens, and parties. It quickly became apparent that it would be impossible to fit all my selects into one keepsake issue. The following pages are just a glimpse of all the beautiful places we have showcased over the years. Each feature has updates so you can learn what has happened to the homeowners in the years since we profiled them. Revisiting these articles reminds me of the great pleasure I’ve had working with the many talented and inspirational people I met during my New Jersey Life journey. To those who played a role in filling our pages with beautiful images and compelling stories and to our advertisers who continue to support our mission to present the best the state has to offer, I extend a heartfelt “thankk you.”

>>

8

June 2002

December 2004

Photographer: Ken Druse Ken is a photographer, writer, and expert gardener with a lifelong passion for all things green and growing.

Photographer: William Geddes The home of Patty and Steven Kushner was all decked out for the holidays. Their adorable daughter and dog were not at all camera-shy. Patty Kushner is known as Patty Steele, former radio announcer of WPLJ’s “The Big Show.”

WHERE STYLE COMES TO

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July 2007 Photographer: Augustus Butera Talk about picture-perfect! Everything came together beautifully for this shoot in Sandy Hook, which featured a great model and an old Dodge Woodie lent to us for the day by a local couple.

April 2004 Photographer: Blaise Hayward Jersey boy Narciso Rodriguez shot in his NYC atelier. Narciso designed Michelle Obama’s inauguration dress.

Year Unknown Photographer: William Geddes Diderot the Dalmatian sits with poise for this fun shot in the beautiful gardens of Tendenze Design in Pottersville.

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publisher’s letter February 2000

October 1999 Photographer: Cheryl Olsten Just caught in the moment at the Thanksgiving Day Hunt in Essex.

Photographer Brian Velenchenko captured this candid shot of Drew Nieporent — restaurateur of tony restaurants in NYC, including Nobu, Tribeca Grill, and Corton to name a few — as he paces in front of a sign that reads “Active 24 Hours.”

August 2000

Photographer: Walter Iooss I was over the top when I found out that this amazingly talented sports photographer is a “Jersey boy.” He is also known for his Sports Illustrated swimsuit covers.

December 1999 Photographer: John Ehrenclou expertly photographed Lou Dobbs, veteran of CNN, in front of a globe at his sprawling home in Northern New Jersey.

April 2001 Photographer: Kurt Gardner One of many images from a fashion shoot set on a beautiful horse farm in the Delaware Valley. Stylist Nolé Marin was a blast to work with.

NEWJERSEYLIFE.COM

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publisher’s letter

October 2000 Photographer Brian Velenchenko brilliantly composed this photograph of Peter LawsonJohnston, resident of Princeton and Honorary Chairman of the Guggenheim Foundation, shot in the iconic Guggenheim Museum.

September 2005 Photographer: Miki Duisterhof A funny thing happened on the way to the farm: This super-fun shoot at a Stanton polo farm featured a muggy day, a model who was afraid of horses, and an art director with a mad case of poison ivy!

2004

Year, Month Above: Three chairs with three personalities in the stylish library (left). grand three-story great room.

Photographer: David R. Hautzig Designer: Katie Eastridge Photograph of the interior of a Princeton home with (my favorite part) a dog hired from an animal talent agency in NYC.

January 1999

Photographer: Laura Pedrick Shall we dance? A photo essay shot in Short Hills of The Barclay Classes, a storied organization based in Westfield that teaches etiquette and ballroom dancing to children.

January 1999 Photographer Ronnie Nienstedt captured the fabulous soft light on these magnificent white horses after a Driving Event in Gladstone.

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Time to Get Inspired Take a backyard tour and stimulate the senses in our new website galleries. You’ll ďŹ nd loads of ideas and a variety of styles that are sure to spark your imagination! Create a private oasis for your friends and family to enjoy! Call us today to schedule a free consultation.

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787 Chestnut Ridge Road Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977 888.352.8439 www.bbpoolandspa.com

5/3/11 10:55:56 AM


ADVERTISMENT

DISCOVER

NEW JERSEY’S BEST KEPT SECRET FOR DISTINCTIVE

home furniture & unique accessories!

j

Join us on a magical journey and discover our enchanted world of distinctive home furnishings and unique accessories. Beyond the lackluster world of traditional home furniture, Once Upon A Table presents an intriguing mix of innovation, charm and grace, which transports your senses to a place of elegant refinement. Nestled in the heart of historic downtown Chester, Once Upon A Table is New Jersey’s premier home furnishings and interior design store occupying a 5,000 square foot former general store offering an eclectic mix of furniture and accessories to compliment your home. Our furniture collections showcase the romantic grandeur and charm of Old World luxury to the more current sophisticated tran-

Once Upon A Table is truly a hidden gem and a remarkably, fascinating place to see. The moment you walk through our doors, you will be captivated by beautiful surroundings and you will feel right at home. An absolute “Must See.” sitional style from some of today’s most talented artisans and craftsmen, from the likes of well known furniture makers to smaller specialized boutique manufacturers. At Once Upon A Table, personal service, quality, customization and affordability are available to the customer at every level. Our Interior Design Studio is available to work with you to enhance the beauty of your home. Our highly personalized

service weaves the elegance of Old World charm with sophistication and innovative ideas, to surpass all your expectations. Once Upon A Table will enhance the serenity and intimacy of your home with treasures you will cherish for a lifetime. Once Upon A Table invites you to share our joy and passion for home design and to capture your dream room one at a time. . . Browse our Gallery, relax and enjoy epicurean fare in our highly acclaimed Café, and cherish the elegance, exceptional style and artistic beauty of Once Upon A Table. Weave your own story of enchanting warmth and elegance . . . a story that could only begin with Once Upon A Table.

The best deals happen in Chester Our savvy customers know that we regularly discount our merchandise up to 60% off retail. Compare our prices and save!

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jewelry {1} {2}

{3} {4}

1} Longines PrimaLuna Stainless-steel and rose-gold bezel, case with 44 Top Wesselton VVS diamonds (0.299 carats) and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. $4,125; longines.com

2} Patek Philippe Ladies’ Gondolo Manually wound movement, 18kt rose gold, cushion-shaped case, 108 diamonds underneath cambered sapphire crystal. $29,000; LaViano Jewelers, Westwood, 201.664.0616, lavianojewelers.com

3} TAG Heuer Carrera Watch 27mm quartz watch, 54 diamonds on the bezel, 13 diamonds and white mother-of-pearl on the dial, stainless-steel bracelet. $3,800; tagheuer.com

4} Rolex Oyster Perpetual 31mm Datejust Stainless-steel and 18kt Everose gold, domed bezel set with 24 diamonds, white mother-ofpearl dial set with 11 diamonds, and Jubilee bracelet. $13,575; Hartgers Jewelers, Wyckoff, 201.891.0044, hartgersjewelers.com

5} Van Cleef & Arpels Charms Mini 25mm timepiece with Swiss quartz movement, featuring two rows of diamonds set in 18kt white gold. $10,300; Van Cleef & Arpels, The Mall at Short Hills, 973.379.1800

{5}

THE FAB FIVE Perfect for day-to-night wear, these luxury watches offer around-the-clock style. NEWJERSEYLIFE.COM

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7 DESIGN STATEMENTS Great design shapes our world. It has a way of making everyday life more beautiful. And it doesn’t have to be shipped in from Milan (or Manhattan) to drop jaws. Simply spending time in New Jersey seems to encourage aesthetic ambitions. With that in mind, we turned to some of our favorite designers and asked them to tell us what inspires them. On the pages that follow, you’ll see some fascinating objects, and you’ll hear from the creative individuals who imagined them to life. EDITED BY CAROLINE TIGER

Michael Aram “I love referencing nature in my work,” says Michael Aram, who grew up in Montclair. “And I love to entertain my friends outdoors in my backyard where, in season, I often serve figs wrapped in prosciutto or stuffed with goat cheese.” Aram’s handcrafted tabletop pieces and furniture are found in galleries, specialty shops, and in his flagship store in Manhattan. He introduces new collections every spring and fall.

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design SA Baxter Baxter founded his New York City company, SA Baxter, in 2006, when he built his Mahwah home and recognized a market for hardware with custom artisan designs. “As an avid art collector, fan of architecture, and entrepreneur,” he says, “I saw a clear void in the hardware market for a true foundry and atelier that has one simple goal: to produce and deliver the best architectural hardware in the world.” The company’s artisans create hardware that looks and is crafted like fine jewelry using both modern and Old World manufacturing techniques in its Hudson Valley foundry and atelier.

2

Mitchell Gold

3

We first loved this Trenton native for his comfy, streamlined sofas, and we continue to covet the edgy yet traditional pieces that Gold and business partner Bob Williams turn out each season. Asked to pick a favorite from their newest collection, Gold singles out the new Lawson white lacquered chest. “The inspiration for the piece came from our Lawson cocktail table,” he says. “It was the first piece Bob and I designed in the Lawson collection to feature the shiny white lacquer against bronzed mirror. It’s very Hollywood glamour.”

4

Jonathan Adler

“As a designer, I appreciate things that have always been there but that aren’t as good as they should be — and I make them as good as they should be,” says Bridgeton native Jonathan Adler, who nods to his needlepoint backgammon board in a white acrylic tray as a perfect example. Adler’s unique sensibility of modernism overlaid with exuberance — what he calls “happy chic” — has translated into an ever-expanding design empire.

NEWJERSEYLIFE.COM

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design

5 Willard Fine Furniture At Willard Fine Furniture in Trenton, you can choose from the local lumber or exotic hardwoods on-site, then commission and collaborate on a piece with one of a rotating group of designers overseen by Lead Designer Ru Amagasu (grandson of famed woodworker George Nakashima). “Everything roots back to the Nakashima legacy,” says designer Brian Millen, “but within our own work we branch out a little bit. To some extent the wood is the driver: You can choose to reveal its overall natural beauty or you can zero in on one aspect and isolate it.”

Ana Designs

6

“I have a library of color in my head that comes from years of experience,” says Frank Weeden, whose candle-making business in Trenton, Ana Designs, renews its lines each spring and fall. Weeden, who works with wax day in and day out, left the world of sculpture to design the first striped tapers on the market. In 2009 Weeden launched Fivestripes.com, an online boutique of handpicked homegoods with stripes in common.

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Barbara Eigen

Artist Barbara Eigen — whose Jersey City company, Eigen Arts, supplies ceramics to a host of specialty stores around the country as well as lines for such homewares giants as Williams-Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, and Anthropologie — takes pleasure in making things by hand. Most recently she’s been turning out whimsical, colorful planters. “It’s exciting to watch things bloom, especially in a pottery planter that sits inside,” she says. “Growing things indoors integrates us with nature.” nj LIFE

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4

FIRMS THAT MAKE GREEN

LOOK GOOD

design Phillip Jeffries The wallcoverings and fabric firm, which was born in New Jersey in 1976 with just 10 grass cloths, now carries more than 900 natural wallcoverings. Its Japanese paper weaves are made from recycled paper, cleaned without bleach or acidic cleaners, and colored using vegetable dyes instead of solvents. Other standout collections are made from highly renewable resources such as bamboo, hemp, and silk. And most of the products are backed with fine recycled paper. Fairfield, 973.575.5414, phillipjeffries.com

GREEN

FIRM

GREEN

FIRM

GREEN

FIRM

Iannone Design

WESKetch

Architecture

Looking at its 19th-century-inspired residences, you would never guess that WESKetch was a leader in green design and construction. But an eco-friendly home does not have to embody all things ultramodern. WESKetch is known for seamlessly fusing state-of-the-art technology with classic style. Energy-efficient in spite of its size, the Edgewater property featured here has radiant in-floor heating, using water warmed by a geothermal system. The home also has a heat reclamation system, as well as landscaping that wastes less water. Millington, 908.647.8200, wesketch.com

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After founding his eponymous firm in 2000, Michael Iannone quickly discovered green design was a way to stand out in a crowded field. He welcomed the creative challenge of using sustainable materials to make mid-century modern– inspired inspired pieces like his bestselling Graphic Console series adorned with organic forms, such as dandelion bursts and a stand of slender trees. The decoration is cut out of white gloss laminate to show textured kirei wood underneath. “Sometimes the furniture is based on a specific concept or fabrication technique, incorporating graphics or utilizing scrap woods,” Iannone says. “And sometimes I’ll design a piece around a certain material, and the process is really about trying to use that material in a new and interesting way.” Glassboro, 856.889.7307, iannonedesign.com.

Benjamin Moore

Toxic paint can make the home a site for sore eyes. Montvalebased Benjamin Moore has been a pioneer in eco-friendly paints since the introduction of its first zero-VOC line 15 years ago. Its most recent series, Natura, is available in a spectrum of 3,400-plus hues and can be color-matched to one’s personal choice. What makes the paint environmentally responsible? Natura contains zero volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), which are emitted as gases that contribute to poor indoor air quality. Natura is zero-VOC, using a VOC-free waterborne colorant. 800.344.0400, benjaminmoore.com GREEN

FIRM

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pools

Pools by Cipriano Landscape Design harmonize with the natural environment.

BY PURNELL T. CROPPER AND NANCY A. RUHLING

ALTHOUGH BACKYARDS HAVE

become elaborately landscaped oases, the swimming pool continues to have the first and final splash — it’s the aesthetic focal point.

Ehrich & Ehrich Landscape Architects’ designs are inspired by European gardens.

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To better blend with their surrounding landscapes, pools are flexing their architectural muscles and playing up their natural strengths. Some pools possess vanishing edges that blur their boundaries to virtual invisibility, and some sport waterfalls and water jets that spray their streams from flames and grottoes.

Born and raised in Germany, Lothar and Herbert Ehrich of Ehrich & Ehrich Landscape Architects in Cranbury bring a particularly European sensibility to landscaping. The ponds and pathways of the Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy, inspired one of their recent projects. For another project, Ehrich & Ehrich replicated gates at the Château de Fontainebleau in France. A number of the firm’s clients love the look so much, they leave their pools uncovered through the winter “to enjoy the architecture,” Lothar says. (Omega

COURTESY OF CIPRIANO LANDSCAPE DESIGN (TOP), EHRICH & EHRICH LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS (BOTTOM).

THE LIFE AQUATIC Carve out an idyllic backyard spot to wet your feet and enjoy the landscape.

nj LIFE

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pools as outdoor “carpeting” carved into the stone surround the pool.

“PEOPLE DON’T WANT THE HASSLES OF TRAVELING AND OPT INSTEAD TO RELAX AT HOME.” — RAY CALVITTI, BLUE HAVEN POOLS AND SPAS

COURTESY OF WATERSCAPES

Waterscapes strives to create “aquatic sanctuaries.”

Pool Structures specializes in installing enclosures that shelter pools from the elements year-round.) James O’Donnell, owner of Waterscapes in Cinnaminson, creates “aquatic sanctuaries.” In one project,

he transformed a decayed ornamental pond into an Old World–inspired swimming hole with natural stonewalls and bluestone patios. The natural style used by Chris Cipriano, owner of Cipriano Landscape Design in Ramsey, includes “living boulders” — 20-ton rocks artfully planted with dianthus, stone-cropped sedum, thyme, and mosses — as well

Regardless of their features — from shallow sun shelves to flat-screen TVs — pool-focused entertainment centers are designed to be family-friendly. “The backyard is the social center of the house,” says Ray Calvitti, owner of Blue Haven Pools and Spas in Morganville and Berlin. “People don’t want the headaches, hassles, and high costs of traveling and opt instead to relax and rejuvenate at home,” he says. Adam Gorga, owner of G&G Custom Pools in Haskell, recently designed what he calls “an entire backyard experience” — complete with a kitchen, colonnades, and a lanai — around a 950-square-foot contemporary Roman-style pool with a reverse negative edge that he built into a mountain in Alpine. “You’ll never see another like it,” he says. The design,

NEWJERSEYLIFE.COM

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Residential Real Estate Services W O O D W A RD

woodwardhomes.com 908-598-0155 92 Summit Avenue Summit, New Jersey P r o p e r t i e s

REALTORSÂŽ

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which won national and regional awards, has a number of elaborate water features, including jets with negative edges and four bronze sconces that serve as sculptural fountains. For these larger pool centers, Cipriano suggests alternative heating solutions, such as solar power or heat pumps that will significantly lower operating costs. A backyard entertainment center gives the pool a chance to show off its custom features. “There has been a lot of innovation in illumination,� says Bob Olsen, director of operations for Carlton Pools, which has eight retail locations and five pool parks in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. “In addition to incandescent lighting, there is jazz lighting [which changes colors], synchronized lighting, and fiber-optic lighting. Some pools have 100 to 200 quarter-inch fiber-optic lights in their floor.� Cipriano designed a pool that features a 300-square-foot stone grotto with wet and dry seating, fiber-optic lighting that mimics starlight and moonlight, and three waterfalls. For such all-inclusive havens, entertainment goes hand-in-hand with exercise or sports pools for playing volleyball or doing aerobics. And some homeowners are kind enough to remember their most loyal houseguests: “Some get doggy pools to exercise their pets,� Calvitti says. NJL

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hardscaping Homeowners are gravitating toward the aesthetic appeal and easy installation of today’s imitation stone designs, such as this one by Cording Landscape.

P A T T E R N

PERFECT

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WHENEVER WE THINK of improvements that increase the resale value of a home, kitchens and baths usually top the list. But landscaping — including hardscapes like patios, decks, and custom stonework — can have an even greater return on your investment. According to the American Nursery and Landscape Association, beautifying your property can return nearly double the investment of a kitchen or bath remodel. “Remember, kitchen appliances and bathroom fixtures depreciate as they age,” notes Robert Dolibois, ANLA executive vice president, “but landscapes, if maintained, can continue to mature and enhance a home’s curb appeal year after year.” Certainly one of the more innovative products in the

hardscapes arena today is the concrete paver. Offering an alternative to traditional clay and natural stone, these pre-cast concrete counterparts continue to raise the bar in terms of features and aesthetics. And with the addition of the new simulated stone looks, greater color choices, and variations in size and shape, concrete pavers have become a popular and cost-effective way for homeowners to incorporate the look of natural stone into any landscape design. “Most customers come in looking for natural stone,” notes Josh Braen of Braen Supply Inc. in Haskell, “but once they realize the overall cost difference and learn the benefits that pavers have to offer, it’s a simple choice to go

BY LARRY BILOTTI

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©ALAN & LINDA DETRICK. FACING: COURTESY BLUE MEADOW FARMS.

Add aesthetic and monetary value to your home with creative hardscaping.

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hardscaping with the concrete products.” What gives pavers an advantage over stone is their versatility. Manufactured in various sizes, shapes, and thicknesses, individual blocks or slabs can be installed in a variety of uniform or interlocking patterns. Add to that solid and blended colors and different surface textures, and “the landscaping options become pretty much limitless,” says Peter Liberatore, vice president of Bednar Landscape Services in Boonton Township. Cording Landscape, a full-service landscape design firm in Towaco, also sees its customers gravitating toward the aesthetic appeal and easy installation of today’s imitation stone designs. “We still use natural stone for retaining walls and steps and risers, but pavers are a smart choice for everything from driveways to pool surrounds,” says Ron Cording. Manufacturers like Anchor, Unilock, Techo-Bloc, and Capitol Pavers of South Amboy have all stepped up their

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game. For Robert LaNeve, president at Stonetown Construction in Oakland, products like Courtstone and Hudson Valley Flagstone, both from Unilock, are exemplary products. Inca and Blue from Tech-Bloc are also noteworthy. Mixing different colors, sizes, and finishes to create patterns is another advantage of concrete pavers. “The advantage of natural stone is that it has that sure feel,” says Terry McMahon, Landscape Designer at Borst Landscape and Design in Allendale. “Despite all the advances in manufactured stone, there’s really no true match for the color of natural bluestone.” The architecture of the main home comes into play while choosing materials, and traditional styles including Tudor, Colonial, Victorian, and Georgian often call for bluestone. McMahon has noticed more clients going with natural stone, even despite the recession. “People are investing more money in their own homes,” she says, “and are prioritizing longevity.” John Meeks and the in-house landscape architects at Blue Meadow Farms in Franklin Lakes take the traditional approach, using only brick and old stone rather than concrete pavers. They strive to emulate the charming old stonework seen throughout much of Europe, emphasizing interesting details, such as circular inlays, cobblestones, and thick, bluestone driveways. Like pavers, decking materials have

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This tidy herb garden by Leydon Landscaping in Holicong, Pa., blends functionality with design.

also come a long way in achieving lasting beauty and new standards in performance with products like Azek and Fiberon’s Horizon. According to Lainie Sleppin, Parksite (North Brunswick) decking specialist and vice president of the New Jersey and New York chapters of the North American Deck and Railing Association, the new, ultra-lowmaintenance products are the market trend. Fiberon is a wood/high-density polyethylene composite that features a Perma Tech finish. Azek is made without wood fillers and is one of the first monoextruded (manufactured throughout) cellular PVC products on the market. Both products require little to no maintenance and are warranted to resist staining, fading, scratching, splintering, mold, and mildew. “PVC also retains 30 percent less heat than composites,” making it ideal for pool decks and areas with minimal shading,” Sleppin says. Since decking is usually a physical extension of the house, the materials need to marry the home’s architecture seamlessly. “For an older home with wood windows and siding, it may be more appropriate to go with a pressuretreated wood deck,” says Gustavo de la Cruz of Barrett Contracting in Millstone. “If it’s a newer house where everything is low-maintenance, a composite or PVC material is the perfect choice.” And don’t think you have to limit yourself to any one material, he says. “An extended deck leading to a paved patio can add special appeal to any home.” NJL

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extraordinary EXTERIORS

Two

landscape designers fulfill two very different — but equally compelling — visions.

BY MONICA WILLIS AND SARAH JORDAN

William Welch and Andrea Filippone’s reflecting pool (above). Karen Hertzog transformed the Castle’s pool into a shimmering kaleidoscope of color (below).

In

William Welch and Andrea Filippone invite family and friends to their farm to dine alfresco. For this busy couple, juggling a family, a farm, and the operation of their architectural and interior design firm, Tendenze Design, leaves precious little time for elaborate entertaining. Luckily, their 35-acre farm in Pottersville, where they live and work, provides a glorious backdrop for impromptu parties with loved ones. When the couple purchased the residence in 1993, it had been neglected for nearly three decades. Nevertheless, they were drawn to the property, which boasted several outbuildings and gave them the space they needed to showcase their design talents.

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TOP: STEVEN RANDAZZO. BOTTOM: GEORGE ROSS.

WARMER WEATHER, WHEN FREE TIME SEEMS TO EXPAND, DESIGNERS

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landscapes “Our work and how we live really go hand in hand,� Filippone says. “As designers, we use the buildings, the gardens, and the lay of the land to create a physical space that is warm and inviting. It’s why it is so easy to entertain at the farm.� The first thing most guests notice upon arrival is the property’s spectacular European-style orangery, with its towering Palladian windows. Although Filippone and Welch safeguard fruit trees in the structure in colder months, in summer the orangery serves as a showroom for the antiques they use in their design work as well as a backdrop for entertaining. Massive 1960s-era glass greenhouses, which were salvaged from the biology department at Rutgers, flank the orangery, and a long reflecting pool surrounded by gravel paths and fragrant herbs and flowers occupies the center of the U-shaped compound of garden buildings. The four-foot deep solar-heated black pool was designed to look like a garden feature, with an old limestone coping from a turnof-the-century Philadelphia pool. The patina of old buildings and architectural artifacts is the centerpiece of Welch and Filippone’s aesthetic. They and their clients make great use of the wideranging inventory of antiques and salvage they source everywhere, from the nearby Pennsylvania countryside to Europe’s far-flung antiques markets. Nowhere is this point-of-view better showcased than at their own home. “What’s so nice about the swimming pool and the greenhouses is that we always have a built-in set for parties,� Filippone says. Landscape designer Karen Hertzog of Hertzog Associates Ltd. in Stockton made similar magic with very different raw materials in 2006 when New Jersey Life asked her to design the grounds of the house that Hopewell Township locals call “the Castle.� Built on the highest point in Mercer County, the circa-1896 mansion boasts a 65-foot-wide veranda, turrets, round rooms, a tiger oak-paneled reception hall, an ornately carved winding staircase, a three-story stained-glass window, and a reflecting pool. Add to that the building’s history — which includes

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;I LIKE TO DO THINGS THAT ARE APPROPRIATE TO THE SITE AND THAT LOOK LIKE THEYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;VE ALWAYS BEEN THERE.â&#x20AC;? its first owner, Webster Edgerly of the Ralston Health Club of America, who planned to use it as his home and center of a utopian community â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and the place certainly has an aura about it. Hertzog was captured by the moody, Eastern-infused space surrounding the reflecting pool, including imposing trees and a 20-foot-high stone arch waterfall. She was also inspired by the contemplative ambience of the spare grounds. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I felt that less was more here, to simply frame the water feature and not clutter the space,â&#x20AC;? she explains. To anchor the stone arch to its surroundings, she connected it visually to the pools around it by tricking the eye downward. She filled two massive ceramic containers with birdâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s-nest ferns, which grow in a rosette shape. She also chemically treated the pool, changing it from a thick green color to a shimmering kaleidoscope of blues, turquoises, and greens. She visually connected a smaller, adjacent pool and walkway by using other alluring options, such as lotus and mosaic plants. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The lotus plant holds a drop of water perfectly in its center. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gorgeous and looks like a tiny ball of mercury,â&#x20AC;? she says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mosaic plants are almost spring-loaded so they float and create beautiful oval- and diamondshape patterns on the surface of the water.â&#x20AC;? The finishing touch was the addition of simple, understated papyrus accents. Hertzogâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s additions to the extant exterior elements added a subtle lushness and intrigue. An observer would be hard-pressed to determine what was new and what was original. This remains the designerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s guiding principle. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I like to do things that are appropriate to the site and that look like theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve always been there,â&#x20AC;? she says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make it look like it was just done.â&#x20AC;? NJL

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5/12/11 12:18:09 PM


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ODAY’S STANDARD KITCHENS

come with many of the functional and design features that were once reserved for luxury kitchens. These include granite counters and stainless-steel appliances, bottom-freezer refrigeration, undermounted sinks, under-cabinet lighting, LED lighting, electronic drawer-opening systems, and a decorating scheme that’s

cohesive with the home’s overall interior. “A trickle-down in style and performance continually happens, just as in cars or any many other products,” explains Bill Noval of Spyglass Design in Princeton. This leaves plenty of room for home chefs and kitchen designers to become creative with more innovative extras and a higher degree of customization.

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kitchens

HOME CHEFS AND KITCHEN DESIGNERS ARE BECOMING CREATIVE WITH MORE INNOVATIVE EXTRAS AND A HIGHER DEGREE OF CUSTOMIZATION.

New drawer designs by Poggenpohl make getting organized easy.

Designers report that integrated technology — including coffee machines, laptops, and entertainment systems — is an oftenrequested feature. It all depends on the client. “The trending today is toward the individualized look,” says Antoinette Fraser of St. Clair Kitchen & Home. “All-white kitchens are over and color is in, especially gray and gray-toned versions of blues and greens.” People are increasingly choosing colored appliances, especially for the range.

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A CHILDREN’S AREA IS LIKELY TO FEATURE AN INDUCTION STOVETOP, LOWER CABINETS, AND AN EASY-TO-REACH COUNTER. There is also a focus on creating a space that will accommodate everyone in the family. “The new designated area in the kitchen is for children,” says Angela Shannon, designer and owner of Asbury Park’s Atelier East Design, a Poggenpohl showroom. This area is likely to feature an induction stovetop, which is safer for kids since the pot is the only element that stays hot, plus lower cabinets and a counter that kids can easily reach. Shannon also recently designed a narrow, recessed “Mommy Central” cabinet for a client to conceal phone chargers, school files, a chalkboard, and other kids’ stuff so it wouldn’t take over the kitchen. The already-extensive array of materials available to homeowners continues to grow. As the granite and stainless looks

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TODAY’S LUXURY KITCHENS ARE ABOUT CREATING A CUSTOMIZED SCHEME TO MATCH THE TASTE LIFESTYLE OF A PARTICULAR FAMILY. in high-end sinks, and counters and backsplashes that are lit from within or behind so they appear to glow. Noval also has noted a trend in pendant lights with large cylindrical fabric or paper shades. In general, designers are finding that today’s luxury kitchens are about creating a highly customized scheme to match the taste and enhance the lifestyle of a particular family, whether that means French Country paneling and a dedicated kid zone or sleek minimalism with a cleverly concealed entertainment area. “Everyone wants to feel inspired when they come home at night or walk downstairs in the morning,” says Noval. “Everyone wants to feel a bit like they’re on holiday in their own home.” NJL

Photo by Peter Rymwid

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5/9/11 2:46:24 PM


OLDWICK RETREAT ENGLISH MANOR HOUSE HOME, SWEET BARN

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5/6/11 11:01:10 AM


onsidering his credentials, New When Claire and York–based architect Steven Harris George David Weiss has all the excuse he needs to make a career of The Big Architectural came upon this Statement. But that’s not his way. Somerset County Despite having taught at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, and despite property dating stints with top architectural firms from the 1700s, they before establishing his own thriving practice in 1984, Harris prefers to turned to architect have his architecture work with the Steven Harris to land rather than impose itself on it. realize the full impact When he first laid eyes on this New Jersey property in Somerset of its potential. County, which featured a 1797 cottage and a handful of outbuild- By David W. Major ings beside a sleepy country road, he saw what dozens of other prospective architects could not: a chance to show off the land, not subdue it. It took owners George David Weiss and wife, Claire, only five minutes with Harris to realize that he was their man. Harris had made the startling, if, in hindsight, obvious, suggestion that the couple’s planned additions to the cottage should be built not parallel, but perpendicular, to and away from the road, which lay only seven feet and a tall hedge away. The new design would thus minimize noise from cars and realize the glory of the property through a series of lawns, gardens, porches, and quiet vignettes of landscape defined by the main addition to the Weiss’ home and its revived outbuildings. “My work can vary radically from project to project,” says Harris, who recently completed a stunning contemporary coastal home in Mexico for the Weisses. “But there is a consistency to my work, too, although it’s not on the level of what shape things are. If anything, there is a tendency for the buildings to engage the landscape — a very important consideration for me. My buildings also tend to be made up of parts. Whether they touch or are an amalgamation, what unites them is the way you can identify the parts as a coherent whole. I don’t see a house as a pig on a platter with parsley around the edge.”

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This Somerset County property played right into the hands of New York–based architect Steven Harris: “If there is a consistency to my work, it’s my tendency to have buildings engage the landscape. They tend to be made up of parts, which you can identify as a coherent whole.”

PHOTOGRAPHY BY SCOTT FRANCES/ESTO

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Harris called on Philadelphia-based landscape architect Margie Ruddick, a longtime collaborator. In reorienting the house to the 10-acre property, they knew the driveway would make the first impression. It was reconfigured to wend its way through a fern garden and a cluster of trees, terminating before a three-car garage. Approaching the house from a different perspective, the driveway downplays the road and brings you into the heart of the land, which is what the Weisses initially fell in love with when they first used the home as a weekend retreat from their Edgewater, New Jersey, residence before moving here full-time after the renovation. Passing from the driveway through a passageway between a three-car garage and a stone-andclapboard barn, under a pergola and past a modified dovecote (a structure used to attract birds), you come upon a sunny courtyard, all right angles and clean lines. The lawn, smooth as a billiard table, is bound by the barn (which doubles as a studio), a separate telescoping guesthouse, and the main house. Viewed from above, the three structures form a U. The open side of the courtyard meets the property where it begins its climb into a wooded grade featuring native plants, apple trees, and undulating ribbons of centuries-old stonewalls. Harris likens the tight focus of the courtyard, which fades in definition as it merges with the surrounding woods, to the concentric circles emanating from a rock thrown into a pond that lose their articulation as they expand. The idea of exterior spaces defined in such a way as to suggest interior spaces — a fascination of Harris’ — continues on the other side of the main house’s new addition. A screened breakfast porch overlooks a small intimate garden defined by a tranquil fountain and a stone retaining wall. Just beyond it is the swimming pool, crowned on one end by a corn crib placed on the rise in the land, which carries your eye in the direction of a boxwood garden. Home and landscape look as though they have never been touched. Harris calls the melding of land and structure “the handshake.” “We made a huge effort to make it look like we didn’t do anything,” says Harris, who recently redesigned a Manhattan townhouse for writer John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. “However, there is virtually nothing that wasn’t entirely rebuilt, and the alterations to the landscape were extensive. Because of my interest in the space that the building makes outside of itself, we made more space outside than we did inside.” The inside of the home, reflecting more dexterous use of space, imposed its own requirements. Harris’ top priority was keeping the new addition — containing a dining room and living room on the first floor and a master bedroom and baths above — in scale with the original 1797 cottage, which was both smaller and lower in height because of the property’s graded typography. The large living room–dining room space nonetheless retains a cozy mood by featuring a low ceiling of exposed rafters made of cypress logged from a Florida swamp. They lend both a sense of intimacy and an illusion of a taller room. The cypress is warmed by the ubiquitous sun that bathes the room (and the master bedroom) all day long by virtue of windows lining both sides of the addition, which itself is positioned on a north-south axis. Window placement invites gentle breezes and garden fragrances to waft through the house. Demarcating the dining and living areas is George Weiss’ grand piano, where he sits to entertain guests and where he has composed songs that are world renowned, such as “What

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The kitchen is a stylish crossroads that serves as a transition to both living quarters in the home. “We wanted the kitchen to be episodic and feel like a collection of pieces of furniture,” says architect Steven Harris. “It feels as though you could rearrange these pieces, although you can’t.”

Built-in stainless-steel cabinets add a note of sleek modernism, complementing the fireplace design and cool palette of pastels used by decorator Lucien ReeseRoberts, who carries the mood into the dining room (facing).

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The relatively small master bedroom appears bigger through Harris’ use of Shakeresque cabinets (below), freeing the room of spaceconsuming clutter. Barn-door hardware used for the room’s

sliding door underscores the agricultural origins of the 1797 home. The pool, just below the master bedroom, offers views of George David Weiss’ studio (contained in a former barn) on the far side of the courtyard, a dovecote, and three-car garage.

a Wonderful World” and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” The imagery in this song informs the African décor that the couple chose for the living room. The mantle, floor-to-ceiling bookcases and the woodwork, here and elsewhere, reveal an austerity of design, deferring to the age of the house and the original materials. Upstairs, Harris continues his slight-of-hand with space by making a relatively small master bedroom appear larger through a modest cathedral ceiling and deployment of Shakeresque built-in cabinets that forgo the need for space-consuming furniture. “I love Lucien Reese-Robert’s decorating because it is so clean and there’s no clutter,” says Claire, formerly a buyer for Henri Bendel. “Yet, it is very warm and comfortable.” French doors just a few feet from the foot of the bed give the feel, when open, of sleeping outdoors — a reminder of Harris’ own childhood when he adored slumbering on screened porches. Details such as hardware from sliding barn doors for closet doors underscore the agricultural origins of the property. Seemingly a world away is the 1797 cottage, a cozy retreat that Harris refurbished so that the Weisses can use it during the winter when they are not in Mexico. In the warm weather, when the Weisses migrate to the addition, the cottage serves as a private guest quarters for visitors, complete with two bedrooms and two baths upstairs, animated by Reese-Roberts’ cheerful colors and Harris’ deft reconsideration of space that has bought more room. (Harris also revamped a separate 1800s guest house, just a few feet from the service entrance to the kitchen; the two structures frame a vignette of shaded space that contains a remarkable Ruddick garden.) Linking the new addition with the original structure is the kitchen, a stylish crossroads that serves as a transition to both living quarters in the home. “We wanted the kitchen to be episodic and feel like a collection of pieces of furniture,” says Harris, explaining the inclusion of a freestanding stove, worktable as island and a sink counter that’s detailed to reveal feet instead of a conventional kick. Built-in stainless-steel cabinets with frosted handmade glass add a note of sleek modernism, complementing the fireplace design and cool palette of pastels used by Reese-Roberts. The kitchen leads to the morning sun-dappled screen porch where Claire and George Weiss start each of their enchanted days over breakfast, with the sleepy gurgling of the fountain and birdsong as their morning accompaniment. NJL

The project that architect Steven Harris dubbed Boxwood Farm dates back a decade, but Harris considers it a fine example of how his firm continues to work today. “Our work derives not from an overarching style,” he says, “but from how people actually live in it and from a given site.” Harris gives as an example another home he designed for Boxwood Farm’s owners. This one is in Mexico, is very modern, and overlooks the Pacific Ocean, but because it’s for the same couple, its size and the configuration of rooms are similar. The house in Mexico insinuates itself into its native landscape in much the same way that Boxwood Farm’s modest structures blend into their surroundings. Both tread lightly — they have the appearance of having always been there. Harris collaborated with interior designer Lucien Reese-Roberts on both homes. As with every joint project their partnership started at square one. “The furniture was chosen to complement the architecture,” says Harris. “It was laid out and determined while we were planning the house and the configuration of the rooms.” The two were recently inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame; have won three Best of the Year awards from Interior Design magazine; and Harris’s firm was honored with three recent AIA awards for houses in upstate New York, in Manhattan, and on an island in Croatia. These projects, in addition to Boxwood Farm, are included in Harris’s 2010 monograph, True Life. —Caroline Tiger

2011 Update

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CAROLINE TIGER JOHN GRUEN

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When designer Frank Delladonne set out to build an English manor house on a hill in the country with a sleek, contemporary interior, the project had another beautiful byproduct, a new business for his client, entrepreneur Scott Baxter: a line of hand-crafted hardware that raises the status of doorknobs and the like to works of art.

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WHILE WORKING WITH DESIGNER FRANK DELLADONNE of Summit on his North Jersey weekend house, financier Scott Baxter couldn’t find hardware that fulfilled his vision of classic contemporary. So he commissioned his own and started a company, SA Baxter Architectural Hardware. Levers and knobs are some of the many bespoke and uncommon features that fill his aerie. Delladonne searched far and wide to source pieces that accent both the sprawling view and his client’s modern art collection. “There are all these great vignettes,” Delladonne says, “but there’s also this amazing flow — all of the rooms in the house are linked.”

You can tell from the huge windows everywhere that this homeowner is in love with this view. You bought the property before you built the house. Was the view priority No. 1? BAXTER: I didn’t want to waste the setting. This was the Baldwin family’s old estate — it was a camp for Roger Baldwin’s family. He founded the ACLU, and he was an early supporter of the Audubon Society. He donated the land across the river to the Audubon, so this view is protected. You can see as far as the mountain will let you see. DELLADONNE: When you walk in, everything is oriented toward the view in the back. We kept the interior lean and simple so as not to interfere with the landscape. There’s not too much pattern. Nothing is overly designed. BAXTER: We did an infinity pool because with a high-edge pool you’d lose the view. From this one, you have a clear shot of the mountain valley, the horses, and the fields.

very sculptural inside; the furniture can stand on its own or in groupings. That woven open chair — I love the airiness. It’s so light and yet it has such mass. You see a lot of homes where it’s easy to name which five showrooms in New York and L.A. supplied the furniture. It’s important to me not to do that. I shopped in Milan and in London, and a lot of the furniture is custom-made. Scott’s also into high-quality materials — the chaise lounge in the bedroom is bronze. There are many fireplaces in the house, and they’re all different: the mantel in the kitchen is a simple nickel-surround; in the den, it’s a slab of marble; the fireplace in the dining room is French limestone.

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Previous page: The English-country exterior. Facing: A bold painting in the bedroom accents a neutral palette. Below: Delladonne in one of his favorites, a bronze bench, in front of a nickelsurround fireplace.

How did the landscape affect your choice of color palette? We wanted the interior to be quiet so it didn’t compete with the view or with Scott’s art collection. The palette is neutral but it’s not beige; it’s gray-blues, platinums, mochas, like a Jil Sander men’s collection. There are punches of red throughout the house — a red lacquer desk, a red horse. BAXTER: I collect antique and modern Venetian glass. I also collect paintings and sculpture. The house is English country on the outside with modern elements inside. We wanted to carry that modernity through the house, from the Bulthaup kitchen to the furniture to the art. DELLADONNE:

Frank, the furniture pieces you selected are sumptuous and unusual, but they aren’t showy. Was there a guiding principle? DELLADONNE: I always try to capture my client’s personality. Scott likes dramatic pieces but not overdone. He likes texture, and he likes things with a bit of a European feel. It’s

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Above: Three chairs with three personalities in the stylish library (left). Infinity-edge pool (right). Facing: The grand threestory great room.

And the horizontal paneling in the library: What type of wood is that? BAXTER: All the wood in the house — frames, trim, doors, library walls — is a bio-engineered wood called Lyptus. It looks and feels like mahogany, but it’s an environmentally friendly alternative. It matures in seven years, whereas mahogany takes 30 years. It was all made for me by a company in Colorado called Plank Five. The design process spawned a new business, right? I had an incredibly difficult time finding hardware I liked, specifically for the windows. The levers on the market were either very modern or very ornate. With a classic contemporary look, I didn’t want either, so we designed and manufactured our own. I figured, ‘If I’m in the market for this, there must be others.’ Fastforward two years and we’re outfitting a hotel in Berlin and one in Beijing. We just got our first order for one of 10 superyachts.

BAXTER:

Best of all, you’re happy with your own house. Where

specifically are you happiest here? Where do you spend the most time? BAXTER: In the bedroom. We put the bedroom on the first floor, because it’s more practical to have everything on one floor instead of running up and down the stairs all the time. The bedroom has its own TV area, a sitting area, and its own patio going out to the back with stairs down to the pool. What is the dogs’ favorite area? They’re outside all day. They run around in the back yard and swim in the pool. They swim like torpedoes.

BAXTER:

Are there any bits and pieces still left to take care of? The only area that’s incomplete is the dining room. I’m a photographer — I have a studio on the second floor here — but I never display my own stuff; I always give it to other people. The dining room is set up to hang photographs, but I haven’t gotten around to it. I’m like the shoemaker: My shoes are the best, except for the ones I wear. NJL

BAXTER:

Building this home in Mahwah prompted Scott Baxter to launch his company, SA Baxter Architectural Hardware. The company has thrived even as Baxter decided to sell its muse. This house with the stunning mountain views changed hands over a year ago, and the new owners so greatly admired Frank Delladonne’s work, they decided to hire him to redesign the interiors to their own liking. “They want a totally different look,” Delladonne says. “Scott wanted contemporary. The current owner likes traditional, warm, and inviting.” Since starting work on the house in early 2010, Delladonne has ripped out much of what he and Baxter installed, including the kitchen, bathrooms, and some of the fireplaces. The only furniture that remains from the old interior is the rough-hewn dining room table and ladderback dining chairs – “the most traditional things in Baxter’s house,” points out Delladonne. Modern comforts, including a heated driveway, a firepit, and a hot tub, will be in place when the new incarnation of the home is completed in the summer. Delladonne’s been busy with other projects, too, including an apartment on Central Park West for one of the original members of the Four Seasons, and homes in Palm Beach, Necker Island, and Spring Lake. “My style has changed a little,” he says. “I’m getting into a little more color and away from neutrals. But I’m still determined to create interiors that don’t look like every NYC showroom.” He’s always on the lookout for new sources and is currently enamored with the Netherlands. “I love that they know how to contemporize traditionalism,” he says. “All the shapes are there, but they’re not as embellished as in Italy and France.” He also worked with Baxter on his new digs, a Manhattan penthouse, where he succeeded in coaxing his client into using more pattern and color. “He’s evolving,” Delladonne reports. “We built a whole room in chocolate brown, white, and red. And there’s not a single white wall in the place!” —Caroline Tiger

2011 Update

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TWO ARCHITECTS LOVINGLY RESTORE A HISTORIC BARN WITH NOBLE LINEAGE

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t was totally overgrown and neglected,” Lisa Fischetti recalls as she surveys the extraordinary brick-and-timber house that she and her husband, Ralph Lerner, rescued a little more than 14 years ago. “But we knew at once we must have it.” There are many historic houses in Princeton, but few, perhaps, were built not for humans, but for cows and sheep. Lisa and Ralph’s house, known as the Barn, was conceived by Moses Pyne in the late 1890s as part of a romantic agricultural landscape. Pyne had already purchased Drumthwacket (the enormous Greek Revival house now used as the Governor’s Mansion) as well as the adjoining 138 acres (which today encompass Princeton Battlefield Park). His dream, following the late 19th-century fad for “picturesque” living, was to create a Utopian agrarian complex based on the organic ideals of Shelburne Farms in Vermont; that is to say, to build a farmer’s house, dairy, and barn to the standards of the picturesque landscape movement. Yet Pyne’s was not a fanciful notion like that of Marie Antoinette at the Petit Trianon, which was basically a place for her to play in. Moses Pyne intended to create a working farm, complete with cattle and sheep — albeit beautiful cattle and sheep — in the gorgeous rural setting. The architect of Pyne’s grand venture was Raleigh Gildersleeve, who also designed Pyne’s contributions to Princeton University, namely the Pyne dormitories (1896) and McCosh Hall (1906). Gildersleeve was a Southerner who trained as an architect in Berlin, embracing the principles of the European Arts and Crafts movement. The Barn is an excellent example of his idiosyncratic talent. He sited the building high on a hill overlooking the battlefield grounds, which Pyne had appropriated as a pasture for his animals. A classical U-shape, the Barn has a symmetrical central courtyard framed on each side by stable wings and a brick-and-timber facade, following the rustic traditions of the Arts and Crafts style. Gildersleeve added two towers in the German vernacular, each five stories high. A dairy and a farmer’s house were constructed in the same style, creating a complex of similarly designed, interconnected buildings, just as Pyne had envisioned. The Barn, completed around 1902, created a charming background for the farm animals that grazed in its courtyard and slept in its stables — until 1911, when it burned down. Pyne immediately had it rebuilt to its original state. But he died 10 years later, and after his wife’s passing in 1939, the complex was broken up.

RIGHT: The street entrance into the Lerner/Fischetti office wing. FACING: The main “back alley” features a breakfast area and piano where many a music recital has been conducted.

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LEFT: The dining room features a steel-base and glass-top table the couple designed. The mezzanine level houses the library and home office. Windows shed light on the modern steel spiral staircase. BOTTOM: In the monochromatic kitchen, the island is a door from the original barn.

The Barn was sold as a separate entity to Charles Weigel, owner of the Rockwood Dairy. The dairy closed in 1940, and for a long time the Barn remained empty. Meanwhile the battlefield land was subdivided and developed, isolating the Barn further from its former feudal function. The Barn, by then pared down to 1.2 acres of land, was sold in 1960 to Patrick Kelleher, director of the Princeton Art Museum. The current owners, Ralph, dean of the architecture department at the University of Hong Kong, and Lisa, an architectural designer, bought it in 1995. “We had contemplated building a house for ourselves,” Ralph says. “But since both of us are architects, the dialogue between us was full of friction as to what we should build. Finally we realized it was necessary for us to bring in another architect — in this case, one who couldn’t answer back!”

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lthough the Barn was not in good shape, and the grounds were in disarray, Ralph and Lisa saw its potential. “It was such a great structure, with fine bones,” Ralph says, “and it hadn’t been messed with.” “We could visualize something wonderful,” his wife adds. Their primary goal was to restore the Barn to something as close as possible to its original form. They reopened the courtyard and built a driveway from the street that was similar to the original estate drive. They moved the front door back to its former position, and added a six-column pergola, made of brick like the barn walls, covered with wisteria. They recessed the entryway to create a double-height porch, with a door

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ABOVE, LEFT: The couple’s two Newfoundlands like to bask in the courtyard’s afternoon sun. ABOVE, RIGHT: Meals are often al fresco in the courtyard. A recessed entranceway, framed by wisteria, was added to the home. The left door leads guests to the living room; the right door leads family to the kitchen and dining room.

on each side — one on the left leading into the living room, for guests, and one on the right leading into the kitchen and dining area. The entrance is now enhanced by a new terrace and garden. The former stables to the left of the entrance have been completely renovated and now boast sliding doors opening into new architectural studios for the pair. Inside, the whole ground floor was transformed into one open space. The original materials of the Barn — the bricks and the ceiling beams — were carefully hand cleaned and restored. The floor had to be completely remade and is now five inches higher than the original, covered mostly in maple. Windows were retained and repaired. The kitchen was turned around to face into the living space, rather than the courtyard, and is accessible from all sides. By building a bridge between the two towers that flank the central block, Ralph and Lisa created a mezzanine that is now a long, narrow library from which one can look down into the living area. At one end of the mezzanine, there are artifacts from their world travels. Underfoot, the living room is accessed on one side by means of an acid-treated steel spiral staircase, designed by the owners, and on the other by a wooden staircase original to the Barn. Bedrooms on the third floor provide privacy for family and guests. “It’s the kind of space we like,” Ralph observes. “Large, open, undifferentiated. It had the quality of a simple industrial structure, using standard materials. Our design reflects that authenticity. The interior is our voice in a conversation with the structure of the Barn.” Lisa points out how the materials they used in the interior are consistent with the Barn’s origins. “We always try to reclaim something from the original,” she explains. “For instance,

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LEFT: The courtyard of the U-shaped Barn is secured by grand gates. FACING: In the living room, a wood-burning stove was converted to a fireplace. An original barn beam serves as a mantel to display the pair’s pottery collected during trips to China and India.

the sliding doors to the new barn are made of old barn wood. A modern bathtub sits on reused beams. The stainless steel, the tiles, and the muted color schemes throughout the Barn are all part of our interest in bringing back the structure’s past while streamlining where necessary. You have to remember that this was once a working dairy!”

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here’s not a lot of busy detail in the Barn. The furniture mostly comes from the couple’s collections, with some items acquired later as work on the Barn expanded. “We didn’t need much furniture,” Lisa says. “We are aiming for homogeneity.” Their taste throughout is essentially the development of their interest in modern architecture — very simple and appealing. While embarking on their adventure of renewal, Ralph and Lisa have never wavered from their first priority: to reintroduce the Barn’s historic lineage to the contemporary world. Its architecture remains a ringing statement of Moses Pyne’s ideas, and whatever changes are yet to be made, one may be sure that his vision will not be lost. “We will be working on it 10 years from now,” Ralph vows. “It is a forever project.” For more projects by Ralph Lerner and Lisa Fischetti, see rlapc.net.

2011 Update

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The side wing of the house is now a home studio. The living room has been painted a warm gray (nothing like the swatches just visible on the side of the mantel!). The walls throughout have been decorated with artwork. Above the mantel now hangs a very large abstract collage by local artist Chris Harford. “We have also added some pieces of mine,” Lisa says. But perhaps the most significant change — one that responds to the digital explosion of the past few years — is that Lisa now has a website, ldfstudio.com, and her own furniture line, which can also be seen at ldfline.com. —Caroline Seebohm

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HAWN GARDEN JON CARLOFTIS GARDENS PETER JOSTEN & SAM TROWER GARDEN

GARDENS 1998–2010

Gardeners will always make gardens; we can’t help ourselves. And when we don’t, we are no longer gardeners. End of story. It is a state of being. ... Gardens teach you one lesson quickly: There is no such thing as a Forever Garden. Be brave. Nurture fortitude. It is only in the act of creating, in the endless planting and feeding and watering, in the living and dying and living again that forever might be found. —Dominique Browning, Slow Love

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The gardenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ďŹ rst impression is a mesh of intricate patterns and textures in tones of green, blue, and silver. Facing: A gate opens to a summer border of zinnias along a gravel path.

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A FAR HILLS TUDOR INSPIRES A SERIES OF GARDEN “ROOMS” LINKED BY ALLÉES AND PARTERRES.

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ne of the traditional rules of garden design is that the scenery should relate to the architecture of the house. No better example of that principle could be found than the garden that Gates and Mary Ellen Hawn have created on 30 acres of land in Far Hills. Their house, dating from the 1890s and rebuilt in the 1940s, was designed in the Tudor style, with red brick, gables, and half-timbering, and just like the Tudor gardens of England, the property has been carefully carved into formal and informal areas, with the formal part close to the house and the rest of the landscape stretching into the distance, consisting of orchards, meadows, and woods. “The gardens were very overgrown and neglected when we bought the house 18 years ago,” Mary Ellen says. “But I loved the spaces: the courtyard, the sunken garden, the old walls, the vistas into the woods. The bones were all there. I could see how attractive it could be.” With the help of landscape architect Brian Bosenberg, who put much of the master plan together (with later help by garden designer Ania Baas), and David Bruskin of Greenwood Landscaping, who did all the planting installations, the owners set about transforming the neglected spaces into “rooms,” similar to Lawrence Johnston’s Hidcote in England’s Cotswolds. In Bosenberg’s plan, the formal landscape would radiate out from the south-facing rear of the house like a fan, in a series of parterre-like gardens. “We took our clues from the house,” Bosenberg says. “The Hawns are passionate about its Tudor-style architecture, and everything developed from that.”

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From top, left: Boxwood is an excellent plant to train into circles and edges. Day lilies inspire the garden’s architectural layout. Mary Ellen and her cocker spaniel, Nevil.

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“I LOVED THE SPACES: THE COURTYARD, THE SUNKEN GARDEN, THE OLD WALLS, THE VISTAS INTO THE WOODS.” —MARY ELLEN HAWN

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he Hawns made two changes to the house that radically affected the landscapers’ vision. They installed a door leading to the garden, thus creating a new link between the interior and the exterior. To reconfigure the axis, the designers marked out a grassy path, lined with boxwood and standard trees. To the left, off the allée is the Courtyard Garden, a formal parterre with an ornamental pool, one of the architectural elements that existed before the Hawns bought the property. The grassy allée leads to a wrought-iron gate, through which a flight of steps leads down to the vegetable-and-herb garden, one of the original features that Mary Ellen had fallen in love with. The garden’s central feature, approached by a gravel walk, is a pair of lovely antique chimney pots containing small palms. The beds are planted with seasonal flowers as well as vegetables and herbs. But the garden’s most striking architectural element is the dramatic fence that surrounds it. The fence was built to deter deer, but it was not effective, and now the whole property is fenced. The vegetable garden is connected by stone paths on one side to an azalea garden and a Secret Garden (built in the foundation of an old barn), planted with alchemilla, scented flowers, and ferns. Following the traces of the original landscaping, the path on the other side of the sunken garden leads to what started out as a berry garden but, as Mary Ellen tells it, it became so popular with the birds that most of the berry plants have been replaced by white flowers, and the garden is now From above: A garden ornament named Spring. renamed the Moon Garden. Arborist Stephen Zaikowski, The Hawns also added a large who cares for the garden’s shrubs, bushes, and trees, glass conservatory, which creprunes ivy on the home’s ated a new relationship befacade. Old trees create a shady backdrop for the pool house. tween house and garden.

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2011 Update The biggest change to the garden is a new gate and wall at the back of the house, with finial-topped columns. “We have aligned it so it creates a new axis,” Mary Ellen says. “Now it opens up the whole garden in the back down toward the hydrangeas, which had been blocked off before.” The other changes are mostly decorative – three new bird feeders (after a bear yanked one out of the bird garden!), two benches, and an urn planted with boxwood. “Plus two puppies!” —Caroline Seebohm

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“WE ADD SPECIMEN TREES AND EDIT THE PLANTS OFTEN. THE GARDENS ARE ALWAYS EVOLVING.” —MARY ELLEN HAWN

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utside the conservatory, Bosenberg designed a bluestone patio and transformed the adjacent courtyard, which was one of the garden’s original elements, into a shady seating area, with beds of orangetinted roses, “to complement the brick facade,” Mary Ellen explains. The defining plant in all the “rooms” of the Hawns’ garden is boxwood, a Tudor-inspired shrub that is perhaps the most useful and elegant landscaping plant in all garden design. Mary Ellen has a boxwood nursery on the property, where four or five species are cultivated in neat rows, ready to replace any that become overgrown or diseased. Moving away from the formal areas of the garden, the visitor strolls down to a swimming pool, its perimeter decorated by flowering plants and a pool house added by the Hawns. A long stretch of lawn, dominated by large old trees, offers a contrast to the ordered geometry of the gardens close to the house. Within the pastoral scene, an island bed of hydrangeas snakes toward the wooded property line. In the opposite direction, a classic English greenhouse creates a focal point in the distant landscape, with original barn buildings nearby.

The Hawns often visit gardens in Europe and England and bring back ideas. “We add specimen trees and edit the plants often,” Mary Ellen says. “The gardens are always evolving. Last year’s project was to rebuild the old stone walls and add new ones along the driveway.” The stones all come from their property. A garden of this size takes work, and Mary Ellen gives credit to her longtime gardener, Helder Lopes. “I’m not a hands-on gardener,” she concedes, “but I do have a hand in everything related to the garden. Helder is the one who makes things happen and maintains our entire property to perfection.” Having a reliable gardener is particularly important since the Hawns spend the winter months in Arizona. The gardens are suspended, so to speak, from November until April. Shrewd choices and careful protection in the winter allow the Hawns to return to a welcoming paradise each spring. “The Hawn garden is a perfect example of the harmony between house and landscape,” Bosenberg says. As Henry VIII looked down with appreciation on his parterres at Hampton Court, so the Hawns look out of their windows at their gardens and enjoy their inspired collaboration of nature and design. NJL

DAVID BRUSKIN, 908.234.2422; BRIAN BOSENBERG, 908.234.0557; STEPHEN ZAIKOWSKI, 908.876.9599

Above, from left: Coneflowers dominate a border. Peachy-orange Abraham Darbyroses reflect the color of the house’s facade. The greenhouse stores plants until they are summoned to the garden. Facing: The pool garden features an arbor decorated with a wisteria canopy.

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REFLECTIONS OF A GARDENER Celebrity garden designer Jon Carloftis shares his secrets for creating containers for the garden or windowsill. BY CAROLINE SEEBOHM â&#x20AC;˘ PHOTOGRAPHY BY HELEN NORMAN

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lthough “green” has taken on an important new meaning, its primary definition remains near and dear to garden designer Jon Carloftis. “I love a green garden,” he declares. “I love green containers. I buy a plant for structure and texture. Flowers are a bonus.” To some gardeners, that might sound shocking. What about the scarlet salvias, the orange marigolds, the mauve rhododendrons, and the yellow coreopsis that so many of us plant in our yards? Flowers are fine, but for Jon the most beautiful and sophisticated gardens are those that simply have layers and layers of green. He grew up in rural Kentucky, and after college there moved to New York City, where he began designing gardens, mostly rooftop versions. “I grew up outside and had always loved nature,” he says. “Gardening was a natural career for me.” After two years in the city, he was assigned a project in the Delaware Valley, where he worked one whole summer. During that time he ended up buying a neglected little house that nobody else wanted. “It was pretty pathetic, really,” he concedes. “A classic fixer-upper. But I didn’t want to stay in the city, and I fell in love with the place. It’s the last home I’ll ever own.” He moved to his little paradise in 1994, but his major work remains in New York. Some of his celebrated clients have worked with him for years. He has designed three gardens for Jane Lauder and Julianne Moore, for instance. Other well-known fans include Edward Norton, Josh Hartnett, and Jerry Bruckheimer. His extraordinary success has come through word of mouth. “The reason I do well is because I take the personality of the owner and transfer it to the garden,” he explains. “I just finished two rooftop gardens in Louisville, Kentucky. Both were the same size: 30 by 120 feet. But one is very traditional because the owners’ home is traditional, with dark wood paneling and antique furniture. So my design for their rooftop has a formality about it, with a knot garden and boxwood plantings. The other one is the opposite — the owners live in a modern, light, and airy space

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with museum-quality art, so their roof garden is more informal and open.” His approach makes sense, both psychologically and aesthetically. “After all, they are the ones who have to live with what I’ve done!” Still, there are “signature” Jon Carloftis elements: • There is always an allée. “It gives shape to a garden,” he says. “My family garden in Kentucky has a bridge, and when I was small, I always used to walk across it and feel how it took me to a different place. My house near the Delaware River has an allée of clipped Bradford pears. You walk through an allée into a different world.” • He uses mirrors. “A little reflection somewhere brings light and perspective to a garden.” • He installs running water if possible. “Even on a roof garden, I like to create a little water feature,” he says. “The sound and the movement of water are very effective in a garden.”

PREVIOUS PAGE: Glass is Carloftis’ favorite container; it allows you to see the plants taking root. ABOVE: A terrace in Manhattan with urns, containers, and a lovely view. Carloftis loves a green garden, calling flowers a “bonus.” FACING: Almost any kind of container can be a perfect vessel for indoor plants, he says.

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FACING: Jon Carloftis’ Kentucky home near the Rock Castle River, where a bridge transports guests into the garden. His dogs enjoy the area’s shade. ABOVE, LEFT: A rustic arbor made out of wood and climbing flowers is a pretty portal. ABOVE, RIGHT: Jon loads up his pickup to make the trek to New York City with his finds.

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on buys locally, in the Delaware Valley and in New Jersey, picking up plant material in nurseries along the way and transporting everything to New York City. “I wouldn’t want my own nursery,” he says. “I like to do what I do best, which is design.” Perhaps the most vivid expression of his design sense is found in his container gardening, his specialty. He places containers outside in strategic positions, helping shape the design of the space. “My containers are strong on structure and texture,” he says, “using shades of green to create subtlety and interest.” He also uses containers to bring the garden inside the house. “Glass is one of my favorite mediums,” he declares. “By using glass containers indoors, I can show the soil and roots of a plant as though it were outdoors, bringing nature even closer to the observer, and allowing the plant to keep growing. I like to have something growing in every room.”

2011 Update

Recently, he took a pewter cake stand and planted in it ivy that spilled over the sides of the container. He added lichen he found in the woods, creating a subtle play of green on green on pewter and bringing a piece of the countryside inside the house. Jon has published two books on gardening: First a Garden, with photographer Helen Norman, and Beyond the Windowsill. He can trace his passion for plants to a lifealtering moment that occurred when he was a boy: “In my second-grade class, we were given grass seed and created a terrarium. To see the seed grow and become green changed me forever.” He would like to pass on that epiphany to children who, he says, have little connection today with the earth and growing things. “Children begin it all,” he says. “I’d like to change them, too — to sow the seeds for a greener world.” NJL To learn more about Jon Carloftis’ work and see more gardens, visit joncarloftis.com.

While Jon spends half his time in New Jersey and half in Kentucky, it seems Kentucky is currently winning the contest. The World Equestrian Games was held in Kentucky last year, and Jon created several gardens for the event. He also published a book, Beautiful Gardens of Kentucky. Always the container-king, he is now producing a series of containers made of reclaimed barn-wood, and also a line of stoneware birdhouses, handmade and handcarved in Kentucky. All are available online at joncarloftis.com. —Caroline Seebohm

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Inspired by European parks, two men have turned part of a working farm near Princeton into a paradise of earthly delights. BY CAROLINE SEEBOHM PHOTOGRAPHY BY WILLIAM GEDDES

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The poolside pergola is framed by heliopsis summer sun (false sunflowers) and beds filled with purple phlox, hydrangeas, and black-eyed Susans. FACING: An 18th-century carved limestone lion guards the tall zebra grass and butterfly bushes. NEWJERSEYLIFE.COM

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hen you first set eyes on Peter Josten and Sam Trower’s garden just outside of Princeton, you might be overwhelmed by its sheer abundance, including overflowing wisteria and phlox and newly planted Kwanzan cherry trees. The garden comes complete with swans, Sebastopol geese, and brightly colored pheasants ready to squawk at visitors, as well as scores of stone lions, which stand guard at every turn. You might as well be visiting one of the great houses of England. Peter, who created this surprising paradise, is the former owner of the Manhattan restaurant Le Plaisir. He bought the house and land 34 years ago as a weekend getaway — using the game from his property to supply his restaurant — until about 10 years ago, when he decided to settle here yearround. A little after that, Sam, an art consultant, entered the picture and continued the garden’s transformation into something almost otherworldly in its mix of natural beauty and elegance. The house and garden are attached to an 80-acre working farm, the Griggstown Quail Farm and market, where free-range turkeys, pheasants, chickens, ducks, and geese are raised and sold along with vegetables, pies, jellies, and other delicacies. The adjoining garden echoes themes from English landscape gardens, French formal landscapes, Italian vistas, and Scottish moors, all coming together to create a vivid combination of Peter’s gourmet interests and Sam’s artistic talents. “The garden had been laid out before I arrived,” Sam explains. “The beds were all in place. I just expanded them by filling in the plantings with more trees and perennials everywhere.” The garden is roughly six acres, but it feels much larger because the farmland outside its perimeter seems to stretch almost to infinity. That “annexation” has a long and distinguished tradition. It was a technique invented by the English landscape designer Humphry Repton in the 18th century and followed by his successors into the 20th century — to incorporate the external landscape into one’s garden, thus giving the impression of a far larger piece of property than the landowner actually possessed. The focal point of Peter and Sam’s garden is a natural pond with waterlilies and a waterfall that

LEFT: A pair of cast stone lions, acquired at the Chicago Botanical Garden’s Annual Spring Garden Antique Show, look out at lush perennials and the tranquil pond. RIGHT: An antique bust of Caesar and tall perennials punctuate the pool area while a roomy gazebo provides shade for waterside dining.

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was put in by Peter 20 years ago. He also added the pergola, which is now almost drowned in wisteria (“wisteria on steroids,” Sam says), and the swimming pool on the northeastern side of the house.

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ABOVE: Beds near the pond are filled with white and red hibiscus, heliopsis summer sun (false sunflowers), and tall grasses. RIGHT: A bronze statue from the Malcolm Forbes estate, purchased at Christie’s New York, overlooks the koi pond. Filled with waterlilies, irises, and potted lotus plants, it is a favorite spot of Jetta, the pug.

lmost everywhere one looks there are garden ornaments — urns, benches, busts, and animals — carefully placed to enhance the views that stretch outward from the back patio. “We started buying statuary, mostly lions,” Sam says with a smile, “and then we couldn’t stop. We buy things at the Philadelphia Flower Show, New York antique shows, Sotheby’s and Christie’s in London, as well as from local antiques shows. We now have more than 40 lions in carved stone, cast stone, cement, cast iron, and zinc.” And then there is the collection of living creatures. In the distance five cows graze (there once were 60), and close to the house nestle a group of swans (six white and one black) and Sebastopol geese (with decorative feathers), which haunt the

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TOP: A gaggle of Sebastopol geese are right at home in the stream-fed pond. FACING: Maggie, Boo, and Stuart, three of four Scotties who roam the grounds, take shade on a stone bench.

grounds like something out of a fairy tale. The swans and geese team with the pheasants to give the garden the feel of an exotic aviary. Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the garden is its mixture of formal and informal landscaping. Sam says he is fond of London’s parks, and it shows. For instance, there are large expanses of green lawn everywhere — one was formerly used as a croquet court — punctuated by banks of perennials that grow exuberantly in their deeply dug beds. Phlox, Russian sage, hardy hibiscus, Shasta daisies, Mexican hyssop, gaillardia, and heliopsis are among his favorites. “I love really tall plants, like perennial sunflowers, as well as irises and poppies,” he says. “I hate having to replant things. We only put annuals in pots or around the pool.” Work on the garden is never ending. As well as trying to keep the existing plants under control, Sam recently planted new material — including the 20 cherry trees — that continues to enhance the property. “I think of it as a work in progress,” he says. For Peter, the pleasure is in the wealth of color he sees as he walks through the garden. “It may seem haphazard,” he says, “but it’s actually meticulously planned. “I love it here, surrounded by these masses of flowers,” he says as he strolls his private paradise. “In the early morning mist, there is nothing more magical.” NJL

2011 Update

“We had several really bad wind and snow storms this year, which took down about 15 mature trees and damaged others,” Sam says. “Once we got over the shock and got everything cleaned up, it gave us a chance to appreciate the new openness of the garden and to look for ways to incorporate the new views, either with new sculptures or new plantings. It’s still a work in progress, but I like the openness, even if I hate losing the trees.” —Caroline Seebohm

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ELEGANT STABLE OUTDOOR SOIREE SHOPPING LAST LOOK

ENTERTAINING 1998–2010

“It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it … and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied … and it is all one.” —M.F.K Fisher, The Art of Eating

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Using inspiration, flair, and a little horse sense, a bold designer transforms an equestrian stable into a mise-enscène of elegance and whimsy. And yes, you can do this at home.

show jumper By Cara Birnbaum Photography by Courtney Grant Winston

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f you’re a high-end party designer scouting places to throw a holiday bash, an old stable smelling faintly of damp hay may not be at the top of your list. Then again, Reed McIlvaine isn’t just any event designer — and the stable at the U.S. Equestrian Team headquarters in Gladstone isn’t your average horse barn. McIlvaine’s design firm, Renny & Reed, has thrown events in Southampton mansions, in ivy-covered Princeton University buildings, and aboard a yacht in Turkey. You could say he’s a guy who’s seen pretty much everything. But when he walked through the USET stable’s yawning brick archways, his jaw hit the terrazzo floor. Built in 1913 by financier James Cox Brady as part of the 5,000-acre Hamilton Farm estate, the stables are awash in ornate tile, sage-colored railings, and brass hardware. Still, for all its loveliness, the space offers challenges to even the most talented party designer: Strips of overhead fluorescent lights are more Home Depot than House Beautiful, and the long, narrow corridor between the horse stalls, while dramatic, makes a commuter-train car feel roomy. Undaunted, McIlvaine set about designing a fabulous holiday dinner for 24, along with an intimate cocktail hour in the building’s trophy room upstairs. He was a man on a mission: to prove that with imagination, patience, and a lot of candlelight, you can mount a fabulous holiday gathering in any kind of space. “This isn’t a ballroom,” McIlvaine says. “The last thing it was built for is throwing parties. On the other hand, the place already has so much great character. And we have clients who appreciate creative venues.”

PREVIOUS SPREAD: An iron centerpiece provides light and drama, while topiaries give a sense of cozy warmth. McIlvaine showcases the stable’s high ceiling with streamers tied off with brass rings. ABOVE: Irish linen napkins are festooned with the bloom of a red orchid. FACING: In the trophy room, a Solanum tree creates a garden feel.

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Ilvaine has come prepared for the task. He whirls around the stables, directing the unloading of truckloads of walnut bentwood chairs; juicy apples and pomegranates; linen napkins; heavy burlap; silk; fat, cream-colored candles; potted trees; and buckets of blood-red roses. His vision: pastoral chic. “We wanted to maintain the rustic feel of the stables while throwing in a few elegant touches so that this still felt like a special occasion,” says the boyish designer, who with his windblown sandy hair looks like he just sailed in from Nantucket. Although purists might raise an eyebrow about whether a burlap tablecloth can possibly hold its own against elegant place settings, the commingling of the folksy and formal is one of McIlvaine’s trademarks, a strategy he often invokes in more formal settings to impart a sense of warmth and whimsy. Years ago, he shipped in beach balls and lifeguard chairs for a ritzy bash at Lincoln Center. His design philosophy is a simple and practical one: When you’re hosting a holiday party, fussiness and pretension are about as welcome as the Grinch. “A lot of our clients have money,” he says, “but aren’t interested in throwing the kind of event where the first reaction is, ‘Oh my God, how much did they spend?’” McIlvaine always keeps three aesthetic elements in mind: color, scale, and lighting. When dealing with a narrow venue, like the USET stables or an L-shaped living room, the trick is to channel those elements into a single dramatic focal point. In this case, McIlvaine’s three-man crew chooses a 24-footlong dining table, deigning the space immediately surrounding it as the room’s crown jewel. Rather than going with the expected (candy-apple red, kelly green), McIlvaine takes a less-obvious approach to holiday colors. In the main space, he drapes his King Arthur–like table in burgundy-toned burlap, topping it with a luxurious maroon silk runner bunched lengthwise along the center. It’s his opening salvo of how rustic fuses with refined to create casual luxury. Over the runner, he layers fresh evergreen vines; red amaryllis and rose blooms; and Granny Smith apples and pomegranates. The cocktail area in the upstairs trophy room continues the theme, with a leafy Solanum topiary tree accented with white hydrangeas and ruby-colored cockscomb. This is not your Aunt Edith’s pinecones and holly. Indeed, the key to using color for holiday decorating, he says, is to let go of seasonal convention. “You can even stick with mostly white,” he says. “Do lots of paperwhites and white-and-green amaryllis, then use napkin rings trimmed in pepperberries for a very subtle red accent.”

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ABOVE: Decorating an unusual space also means capitalizing on what’s already there — such as polished silver trophies that reflect light beautifully. FACING: Stunning blue plumbago trees serve as sentinels at one of the Hamilton archways — and hit home McIlvaine’s point that holiday decor doesn’t always have to mean red and green.

One of the reasons McIlvaine’s color scheme works so well in the stable space is because of his liberal, unexpected use of scale and texture. He places tall shrubby ligustrum trees, imported from Renny & Reed’s Pennsylvania nursery, on both sides of the dining table, bringing the bucolic indoors. “People assume that big plants like these have to go away during the wintertime,” he says. “But it’s really a wonderful way to warm up any room.” Of course, when there’s not much floor room to work with, the most inventive use of scale and height winds up unfolding at the table itself — and in the space above it. McIlvaine’s team eschews smooth, linear design and plays with height instead. Spools of wire and ties in hand, they teeter on ladders, using adhesive hooks to hang round candles. The end result: a beautifully bumpy landscape of fruit, prickly pine, and vinelike iron centerpieces dotted with votives. Several wide gold rib-

bons are suspended from the ceiling, spreading like a canopy above the table. It’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” meets “A Christmas Carol.” Alas, the glaring fluorescent bulbs overhead are anything but dreamy — and McIlvaine doesn’t have the luxury of ripping them out of the ceiling. “It was either on or off,” he says. “For a party, the answer is always ‘off.’” Which means candles — lots and lots of them. The design team anchors cream-colored pillars along the surface of the table. They then dangle orb-shaped candles from the centerpieces, and place flickering tea lights just about everywhere else, washing the area in a soft, flattering glow. Racing to the cocktail space in the trophy room, McIlvaine hangs still more “candle balls,” his term for orblike candles, from the topiary centerpiece. “There’s really no such thing as too much candlelight,” he says. “It can transform a space.” Like any man who runs with an A-list crowd, McIlvaine — a witty, urbane sophisticate who mischievously recounts the time he decked out a party in Cooperstown with banana trees and bamboo — knows how to make an entrance, literally. No matter whether it’s being held in a tiny townhouse or a sprawling mansion, a good holiday party, he stresses, begins at the front door, not in the living room. “The entrance to your home,” he says, “is what gets people excited and intrigued about what’s to come.” Here in the stables, McIlvaine has gotten off easy: The high arched doorway to the building doesn’t need more than a couple potted blue plumbago trees to dress it up. For the average home, he suggests a tasteful twist of small white lights around porch columns to do the trick. (He warns, though, that going overboard on the packaged lights can easily make your house look like a used-car lot.) And there’s nothing wrong with a wreath tacked to the front door. Just don’t rely on the ordinary, McIlvaine begs. Try, he says, “a bittersweet or grapevine wreath rather than the typical green garland. I tell people to open up and say, ‘This year, we’re going to try something a little different.’” NJL For more information on holding an event at the USET stables, contact the USET Foundation, 1040 Pottersville Rd., P.O. Box 355, Gladstone, 908.234.1251, uset.org.

Believe it or not, this 2005 article was the designer’s first magazine feature. McIlvaine was named CEO of Renny & Reed, the firm Renny, his uncle and godfather, founded, in 2004. As CEO, Reed has diversified the business, opening floral shops at the St. Regis and more recently at the Jupiter Island Club near Palm Beach. The USET was a natural venue for the firm that “does a lot in the equestrian world,” according to Reed. Clients include the International Polo Club in Wellington, Fla., and the Palm Beach equestrian facility. “The USET event represents our approach,” Reed says. “We love how this business takes us to so many different and amazing spaces.” The reputation of the charm- and character-infused spaces at USET Headquarters have evolved over the years as an event destination. Its virtues are mostly spread by word of mouth. “More and more people are interested in escaping the cookie-cutter hotel event,” says Facilities Coordinator, Maureen Pethick. “It’s all about a vision: Some people come in and say, ‘Ugh, my daughter wants to get married in a barn?’ Another will come in and say, ‘Oh, isn’t this beautiful?’” The facility is home to major annual equestrian events, including the USEF Show Jumping East Coast Talent Search Finals in October and year-round dressage shows. —Caroline Tiger

2011 Update

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BY MONICA BHIDE PHOTOGRAPHY BY COURTNEY WINSTON

Russian potato chips with a lemon crème fraîche and smoked salmon roe.

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A POP-ART-MEETS-SUMMER

SPECTACULAR NO DETAIL IS TOO SMALL WHEN A NEW JERSEY COUPLE COLLABORATES WITH A TALENTED TEAM OF PARTY PROFESSIONALS TO CREATE AN OUTDOOR SOIREE THAT IS FESTIVE, MODERN, AND FILLED WITH SURPRISES FOR ITS GUESTS.

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Hansen’s menu for the couple’s gathering focused on inseason, local fare. Outdoor parties, he says, afford more freedom and fun, so for this modern event, he devised a creative menu with interesting twists. “We used wonderful

heirloom tomatoes from my garden, local chanterelles from a foraging friend, None Such Farm sweet corn, and Maine lobsters from a family source dating back 40-plus years, and we paired them with specialty items such as Wagyu beef from Australia and wild jumbo shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico,” the caterer says. As if the main entrees were not spectacular enough, Hansen added another dimension by creating a “gourmet junk food” supper course to be served after the formal lunch. “We did fried oyster po’ boys, Kobe beef sliders, Hebrew National hot dogs, and macaroni and cheese with fresh ricotta,” he says.

“THE SETTING NEEDED TO HAVE THE SENSITIVITY OF AN ART MUSEUM, ALL THE WHILE MAKING IT COMFORTABLE AND FESTIVE.” —RUSTY THOMAS 90

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MAX HANSEN CATERER, 215.766.3439, RUSTY THOMAS EVENT DESIGN, 215.766.9060.

When a prominent Hunterdon County couple hired Max Hansen (a caterer to kings and other glitterati) and Rusty Thomas (a full-service florist and events coordinator who has designed for three first ladies) and asked them to create a modern outdoor soiree with innovative fare, how could the results be anything but unforgettably spectacular?

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Max Hansen (facing, top). Rusty Thomas (facing, bottom) was commissioned to create an atmosphere that was cutting-edge but elegant. Mini jumbo lump crab cakes with a spicy rémoulade (right).

Hansen says the food needed to be delicious, of course, but it was also important that it be presented elegantly. “People eat with their eyes first and their mouths second,” he says, “so if you win the visual battle you are already ahead when they taste something delicious.” His selection of brightly colored plates and floral garnishes gave the dishes flair. Thomas was given a similar mandate (come up with a modern, elegant décor for the occasion) and his challenges were enormous. “The home where this event was held is really a compound of three houses,” he says. “One is a quintessential stone manor residence [where the hosts live], while the other two are modern homes. My design was going to be in the middle of this collection of styles. I needed to avoid making it look like a nightclub lounge or a South Beach style. The setting needed to have the sensitivity of an art museum, all the while making it comfortable and festive.” Thomas did his

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research, and ended up furnishing the outdoors with Italian microsuede lounges, Frank Gehry side tables, and Philippe Starck’s Louis Ghost Chairs. The result? Thomas dubbed it a “Pop-Art-Meets-Summer Spectacular.” Although Thomas decided on all-white tents for the guests and the food, he injected color with “impact elements” such as colored plexi-circles against the tents’ ceiling. In an interesting approach, he used glass dining tables and clear Ghost plexi-chairs, an effect that made the food and plates really pop against the lime-green carpet. No soiree, indoor or out, is complete without flowers. “Originally I was going to do a very modern design for the table centerpieces,” Thomas says. But when he saw that the clients’ home was full of flowers from their own magnificent cutting garden, he changed his mind: “I decided to use a

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Thomas placed two centerpieces per table. “The hostess loves meadow-style flower arrangements,” he says. “The usual minimalistic, sculptural flowers that are thought of in a modern décor would look contrived in this setting.”

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more relaxed style by wrapping each vase in a tropical leaf.” Against the rural setting, Thomas’ floral design bridged the gap between the natural, country vista and the modern feel of the party. “The hostess noticed it immediately and loved it,” he says. He chose sturdy summer flowers which, he notes, work best for outdoor summer events in humid, mid-Atlantic climes. Creating such an event involves plenty of planning and organizing. For instance, the hosts met with the caterer, the florist, and a representative from the tent company together, ensuring that they all knew each other’s responsibilities. “It is important to hire a caterer who understands your vision,” Hansen advises. “Also be sure that

all the vendors you hire are properly insured.” Hansen is particular about the lighting and the timing of the sunset, saying, “There is nothing worse than having your guests stumbling around in the dark!” Thomas and Hansen agree that one of the most important things when planning an outdoor party is to have a contingency plan in case of bad weather. “Having 200 umbrellas for guests to walk from tent to tent almost guarantees that it will not rain!” Hansen jokes. One final piece of advice from Thomas: “Be organized, then let go. Relax. It’s a party after all.” NJL

Max Hansen will always remember this party in August 2008 as the one that launched the mini BLT – the caterer had introduced the hors d’oeuvre earlier that summer but this event cemented it as a signature item and client favorite. He also considers this summer the turning point in his company’s devotion to farm-to-table fare. That commitment continues to evolve — the latest development is Hansen’s new partnership with Bucks County’s Barley Sheaf Farm. “We’ll be the exclusive caterer at this property and we’ll be raising a lot of our own herbs and vegetables on the farm,” he says. It’s a step up from his former source — his own home garden, which provided local treasures like basil and heirloom tomatoes for those mini-BLTs. Rusty Thomas has become similarly ingrained in the locavore concept — in the context of flowers. “Because of the green food movement, more people are keen on having their vegetables locally grown,” says the event and floral designer. “Why not their flowers?” As part of a new project he’s launched called The Green Local Ownership Group, Thomas now has his own stately cutting garden and partnerships with area growers and greenhouses that allow him to offer his clients locally grown flowers and an unprecedented level of customization. “With enough lead time, we’ll be able to grow a specific crop of flowers for a bride,” he says, “for example, a specific type of delphinium or peony.” Via rustythomaseventdesigns.com, the Green Local Ownership Group will serve as a virtual source for clients seeking regional vendors who prioritize sustainability, including local restaurants and hotels. “On the manufacturing side, my ‘group’ also includes a candle maker in New Jersey,” Thomas says, “and I’m continuing my search for local artisans whose talents go towards making a party sparkle.” –Caroline Tiger

2011 Update

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SHOP ’TIL YOU DROP These five featured New Jersey shopping destinations offer everything you need to refresh your wardrobe, redecorate your home — and relax in between. BY LEE LUSARDI CONNOR

MONTCLAIR In the Bloomfield Avenue area of downtown Montclair, shoppers are greeted by a pleasant blend of upscale, everyday, and familyoriented establishments. Church Street, Valley Road, and South Fullerton Avenue, clustered just off of Bloomfield Avenue, offer a treasure trove of eclectic and quirky shops. Five minutes away, the village-like Upper Montclair section mixes national chains with independent stores. LOOKING GOOD: For whimsical women’s

wear, Dobbs Ltd. (20 Church St.) has two rooms of artisan jewelry and small boutique designers, with an emphasis on natural, breathable fabrics. You’ll have to guard your credit cards when your preteen peeks inside Hip Chic (533 Bloomfield Ave.), with its sparkly selection of jewelry, shoes, and more. Complete your look with stylish shoes from Piazza Della Sole (54 Fairfield St.) or Tory Janes (94 Walnut St.) and top it off, literally, at Dan’s Hats and Caps (404 Bloomfield). Make any outfit unique with a vintage accessory from My Inheritance (202 Bellevue Ave). DECOR AND MORE: Devotees of

Arts and Crafts–inspired home goods travel from all over the East Coast to visit Nest &

Company (15 S. Fullerton Ave.). Serious antiques aficionados need to check out the Montclair Antique Center (34 Church), a group shop of more than 50 dealers, carrying everything from jewelry to art and sports memorabilia to crystal. The Ivory Bird (555 Bloomfield) hosts three floors of mostly Victorianera treasures, including an impressive collection of crystal chandeliers and sunburst mirrors. ColorStoryHome (31 Valley Rd.) is an eye-popping home goods and accessories store based on the premise that one should design according to a favorite color. Semplice (465 Bloomfield), a frequent resource for HGTV shows, specializes in modern home furnishings and gifts. Also featuring the work of top local artists — as well as gifts and framing services — is the Essex Fine Arts Gallery (13 S. Fullerton). Anchoring the downtown retail area for more than six decades, the sturdy Hampton House (467 Bloomfield) showcases traditional and classic furniture on four spacious floors. In Upper Montclair, the Banyan Tree (208 Bellevue Ave.) has a well-chosen selection of upscale furniture and home accessories, and Jafajems (622 Valley) is a marketplace of globally sourced home goods and accessories. AND DON’T MISS: You can get lost for hours in the floor-to-ceiling stacks at Montclair Book Center (221 Glenridge Ave.). Parcel (559 Bloomfield) is a vintage paper and packaging store that will make

you feel as though you’ve stumbled into a Martha Stewart Living layout. EATING AND DRINKING: For a lunch like you wish you could cook at home, visit The Stockpot (20 Church) for homemade quiches, sandwiches, soups, and desserts. The contemporary Italian cuisine at Fascino (331 Bloomfield) and the bites at Cuban Pete’s (428 Bloomfield) are worth the reservation. Mediterranea (578 Bloomfield) is inspired by dishes from villages in Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, and more.

CHESTER Chester is a popular day-trip destination for New Yorkers in search of fresh country air. Indeed, you can easily pick apples and/or berries at one of the local farms and still have time for shopping in the quaint historic downtown district. There you’ll find not only country crafts (including one of the state’s largest spring craft shows; this year, it’ll be held on June 4–5 at the Municipal Field) and decor, as you might expect, but also much more; over the years, Chester retailers have catered to an increasingly sophisticated audience. NEWJERSEYLIFE.COM

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shopping from brands like Three Dots, Kensie, Nougat, and more. If you’re into glamorous vintage wear, the Soho Flair consignment shop at 87 Main St. is definitely worth a look. Ladyfingers (76 Main) features top-drawer accessories — bags, jewelry, shoes — for every generation of female in your family, from infants on up. You’re Not in Kansas Anymore (35 Perry) is a smart and sophisticated clothing and accessories boutique.

LOOKING GOOD: Designer-minded

ladies will want to stop in at Whimsy Boutique (58 Main St.), which offers chic apparel

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DECOR AND MORE: The Whistling Elk (44 Main) specializes in casual elegance with an Old World feel, in the form of reproduction furniture, wall decor, and lighting fixtures. Custom cabinetry and design services are also available. You can find antiques at Better with Tyme (15 Perry), but it’s also the place to commission custom solid-wood furniture made by Amish craftsmen. Do housewarming or wedding-gift shopping at Lynn’s Home Décor and Gifts (76 Main), where

offerings include works in Murano glass, handmade metal ware by Beatriz Ball, and Franz Collection porcelain sculptures that reproduce images from van Gogh masterpieces. Is wood your material of choice? Boehs Cabinet Shop (85 Main) no longer makes cabinets, but instead purveys a wide variety of wooden gifts and ready-to-finish furniture. Passaic Stair and Molding (9 Main) is a destination for custom molding, staircases, turnings, and other wonders of the woodworking art. Once Upon a Table (105 Main) specializes in Old World luxury furnishings, while Philosophy (58 Main) offers home accessories with a French accent, including goods from Comptoir de Famille. Bountiful Gardens (54 Main) produces beautiful and unusual floral designs and offers a variety of striking indoor and outdoor garden decor. Landscape and garden design services are also available. For just the right art to grace your home or office, check out the emerging artists

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shopping at the Art Chateau Gallery and the Highlands Art Gallery, both at Chester Village Square (52–54 Main St.). EATING AND DRINKING: Feel

like you just teleported to England while visiting Sally Lunn’s Tea Room (15 Perry) for lunch or afternoon tea. The Publick House (111 Main) offers well-prepared American fare in a historic building. The Once Upon a Table (105 Main) home furnishings store also houses a very special café for lunch or brunch. The old-timey Taylor’s Ice Cream Parlor (18 Main) has 48 flavors of homemade ice cream and frozen yogurt. Pick organic strawberries at Alstede Farms (80 Route 513), then indulge in a sweet treat: The farm offers more than 30 flavors of homemade ice cream.

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the proprietor bakes artisan breads; she sells out early, but will hold goods aside for you if you call ahead. Academy (35 Main) has an extensive and impressive selection of sterling silver and stone jewelry. Even if an avian acquisition is not on your shopping list, it’s worth a stop at the cheery World of Birds (15 Perry) to see the hand-raised baby birds cavorting in the store’s “playpen.”

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SUMMIT Summit’s Springfield Avenue and the surrounding side streets are reminiscent of a stylish neighborhood in a big city. Upscale stores live in harmony with homey shops that purvey the everyday necessities of life (office supplies, haircuts, and manicures). Adding to the urban-like experience, the stores are all an easy walk from the Summit train station, and restaurants represent a global menu of cuisines.

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shopping whose tastes run to Southeast Asian artistry and clean-lined European design, there’s the unique Batavia Home (356 Springfield). Spruce up your kitchen with experts from Cabri Inc (355 Springfield), which offers custom cabinetry and design services, or your bathroom at GlassWorks of Summit (7 Bank St.). If you’re yearning for a better night’s rest, the Swedish manufacturer Duxiana has an outpost in Summit (354 Springfield), where you can get a feel for its justly famed DUX beds as well as luxuriously comfortable DUXIANA linens. Locals are devoted to the cluster of charming home design stores housed under the rubric Trouvaille at 12 Beechwood Road: Bonny Neiman Stylish Antiques, A. Home fine linens and bedding, and Donna Donaldson Interiors.

LOOKING GOOD: Update your wardrobe at the contemporary clothing boutique Bella Ro (380 Springfield Ave.). Then, finish the look at Nee Dell’s (386 Springfield), a venerable family-owned shoe store that features top brands for both men and women. Parents and grandparents find it hard to stay away from Seal & Co. (410 Springfield), an upscale children’s gift and room boutique that’s an offshoot of the much-missed Sealfons department store. For jewelry, check out the familyowned Gradone & Keefe Jewelers (419 Springfield) or visit Henry’s Fine Jewelry (447 Springfield) to consider its wide range of designer jewelry or order a custom piece. DECOR AND MORE: Summit’s wide selection of home decor shops offers everything you need to help design or refine your home. Start with The Summit Sampler (374 Springfield) featuring room after room of what its motto calls “the finishing touches that make a house a home.” For those

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AND DON’T MISS: For smaller home goods or a gift for a special friend (or for yourself), pop into the charming gift and gourmet shop The Teapot (450 Springfield) with its full wall of tea sets and eye-catching decorative items. Craving a bit of bling? Step into BeadLuxe (319 Springfield), a stylish boutique and studio where you can purchase pretty pieces by artists or make your own.

it comes to edibles, you can pretty much find it all in Summit — from steak to sushi to pasta to pastries. Get your Jersey on at The Summit Diner (1 Union Place), a vintage chrome-sheathed eatery with hearty food served at cozy red leather booths. Winberie’s Restaurant & Bar (2 Kent Place Blvd.), located in the old Summit Opera House, has inventive American fare, a good bar and wine menu, and outdoor seating. Italian-food lovers will say “that’s amore” at one of the three Italian restaurants Summit has to offer: La Pastaria (327 Springfield), Fiorino (38 Maple St.), and Bona Vita Osteria (37 Maple). Bona Vita’s owners (you may have seen Chef Adele

Dibiase on the Food Network’s Chopped) also recently opened Honey Browns (7 Union), which specializes in Southern and comfort foods. Speaking of comfort food, fans of lobster mac-and-cheese or other contemporary American creations can check out Food. (339 Springfield). For an ethnic selection, try Summit Thai Cuisine (34 Maple).

PRINCETON Downtown Princeton has a prosperous, contented air. The tiny shops on Nassau Street face the Gothic buildings of the university, which are also visible from many places in the shopping mecca Palmer Square. Though built in the 1930s, Palmer Square (once a stagecoach stop) and its side streets have a Colonial feel, with low buildings, big-windowed storefronts, and an intriguing range of goods, both imported and homemade. You can find the mainstay stores of swanky malls — Ralph Lauren, Talbots, Lilly Pulitzer, Kate Spade — nearby, too.

EATING AND DRINKING: When

LOOKING GOOD: The

women’s and men’s apparel store Zoe (11 Hulfish St.) occupies a spare industrial space — the better to view its chic collection of designer wear. Also visit Jane (7 Spring St.), a consignment store where you could easily stumble across Stuart Weitzman shoes, vintage Chanel earrings, or a knockout vintage gown. The young and sassy are drawn to the fresh and stylin’ clothes and accessories at Rosana Boutique (39 Palmer Sq. W.). Viewing the gems and sculpture at Hamilton Jewelers (92 Nassau St.), a third-generation family business, is like a trip to the Smithsonian. Equally fascinating is Tomorrow’s

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shopping Heirlooms (2 Chambers St.), with hundreds of one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry created by its owner, a lapidary who travels to mines around the world to find his raw materials. Sporty folks can get their fashionable-but-functional fix at Blue Ridge Mountain Sports (301 N. Harrison Street), and pet lovers can give their four-legged family member a makeover at Utopia for Pets (1225 State Rd.), which offers luxury pet accessories.

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Bucks County Dry Goods (51 Palmer Sq. W.) sells a bit of everything — clothing, home goods, jewelry, and mid-century furniture and prints. Green Design, an “eco-goods” store at 42 Witherspoon St., offers a range of home goods, bedding, and baby clothes that are as appealing and useful as they are environmentally friendly. Spruce (45 Palmer Sq. W.) embraces the “green” theme in its own way, offering botanicalinspired furniture, both vintage and new, and sustainable greenery (e.g., terrariums). The elegant little Silver Shop (59 Palmer Sq. W.), the oldest shop in the square, offers one-of-a-kind antique and new works of silver. Luxe Home (126 Village Blvd.) offers a wide selection of furniture and accents. Kitchen Kapers (23 Hulfish) is locally owned and growing nationally; the store is chock-full of gadgets, goodies, and small accessories for food-lovers. Minutes away, at the Princeton

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shopping Shopping Center (301 N. Harrison St.), The Light Gallery offers design services as well as hard-to-find European styles, including enormous chandeliers. Across the way is an outpost of Ten Thousand Villages, a source for home decor, art, and serving ware, all handmade by artisans around the world. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s start with dessert first: The Bent Spoon (35 Palmer Sq. W.) is famous for locally sourced, gelato-like ice cream in inventive flavors (pear-and-Prosecco, anyone?) that is to die for. The Nassau Inn Hotel (10 Palmer Square E.) has five stories and more than 200 rooms, but still manages to look quaint â&#x20AC;&#x201D; aided and abetted by the first-floor Yankee Doodle Tap Room Restaurant, with its Norman Rockwell portrait and wooden booths carved with the initials of countless visitors. Equally atmospheric

EATING AND DRINKING:

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is The Alchemist and Barrister (28 Witherspoon), a favorite gathering place for locals who enjoy pub food with an international twist. Lovers of Italian food will enjoy Tre Piani (120 Rockingham Row) or the more casual Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Angelo Italian Market (35 Spring St.). Elements at 163 Bayard Lane, with its focus on local and sustainable foods, gets rave reviews as does the contemporary American food at The Salt Creek Grille (1 Rockingham).

ENGLEWOOD Within a few blocksâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; radius of the intersection of Palisade Avenue and Dean Street, one can find not only national retailers, but also a mini-Soho of fashion boutiques, art galleries, and jewelry stores. Hostesses at an international assortment of restaurants will be pleased to seat you in time to catch a show at the within-walking-distance Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenpac.org). LOOKING GOOD: The sleek and airy Apollo Signature boutique (30 W. Palisade Ave.) is the place to go for European couture for both men and women. The ANIK NY chain of highend contemporary womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s apparel has two stores in Manhattan, three in Israel and, conveniently, one at 51â&#x20AC;&#x201C;53 E. Palisade Ave. Closet 07631 For Her (2 S. Dean St.), Gito (16 S. Dean), and Erez (25 N. Dean) are sophisticated boutiques, each with its own unique point of view. Men who appreciate fine Italian materials and tailoring must visit Vero Uomo (26 E. Palisade). Big Buddha (24 N. Dean) is the first stand-alone store for this fashion-forward line of handbags (and now, shoes), which are vegan and never

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shopping cost more than $100. The Timepiece Collection (58 E. Palisade) showcases a dazzling selection of prestigious, beautiful, and technologically advanced watches from top makers. At Euphoria New York (36 N. Dean), you may indeed feel giddy when surrounded by the hand-crafted designs created by the company’s New York jewelry studio. Family-owned LaViano Jewelers (28 S. Dean) offers high-quality jewelry, watches, and giftware along with its signature gracious service. DECOR AND MORE: In search of fine oriental and Tibetan carpets? The man to see is Shahram Nazar, who owns Starr Oriental Rugs at 1 Grand Avenue and the adjacent TibeTano. If your focus is more on walls than floors at the moment, stop in at Midday Gallery (8 N. Dean). This Englewood fixture for four decades,

offers contemporary art, framing, and consultations. Admirers of modern and French post-Impressionist art won’t want to miss Saddle River Gallery at 10 Grand Ave. If you fancy Art Nouveau objets d’art and works by Tiffany Studios, put Ophir Gallery (33 Park Place) on your agenda. It’s known as a leading national gallery of all things Tiffany. The Jewel Spiegel Gallery (30 N. Dean) showcases select artists and its collection of 19th- and 20th-century prints. The showroom at Wohners Inc. (23 N. Dean) has an inspiring array of architectural woodcarvings — corbels, chair rails, mantels, and hardwood doors. For an energy boost while shopping, stop in at the warm and welcoming Tea Fields Café (46 N. Dean) to try one of its 75 tea varieties or its gourmet coffees. Step through floor-to-

EATING AND DRINKING:

ceiling brown velvet curtains to enter the cozy jewel box that is Wild Nigiri (6 E. Palisade), and you’ll find excellent sushi, sashimi, and other Japanese dishes. Pintxo y Tapas (47 N. Dean) gets rave reviews from customers not only for its tapas, but also for its authentic Spanish entrées and sassy sangria. Nisi Estiatoria (90 Grand) offers exquisite, eclectic Greek cuisine. The original Baumgart’s Café (there are now four in New Jersey) is still here at 45 E. Palisade Ave. and is still serving its quirky but beloved combination of Asian and American food in a 1950s ice cream parlor ambiance. And, no trip to Englewood is complete without a visit to the little retail shop at Balthazar Bakery Wholesale Division (214 S. Dean), where breads and pastries for the area’s top restaurants are produced. Pause at the window, and we guarantee you’ll be drawn in. NJL

Shopping, pubs, restaurants, museums, theater, galleries, music, art, architecture, wineries, golf +

Princeton. Not just a town. An experience.

Princeton Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau Supported in part by New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism

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