After an addition nearly doubles the footprint of a 1915 Colonial Revival in New Jersey, designer Michael Maher steps in to skillfully unite past and present. With wallpapered ceilings, graphic painted floors, and a gutsy palette — check out that canary-yellow living room! — the results are seamless.
The painted floor’s geometric pattern “grounds the space and makes the floor more visually interesting,” Maher says. A banquette in a Kravet stripe transforms a corner into a sitting nook illuminated by 1940s French sconces. Walls, Farrow & Ball’s Parma Gray.
The ample foyer, just off the dining room, can accommodate an extra table that seats up to 16 guests during the holidays. “The foyer is much larger than your typical entry, so we filled the space with a banquette and a wing chair. You can come in, sit down, and not have to leave — it’s welcoming and functional beyond a quick hello," Maher says. The 19th-century English round table is from Balsamo, and the armchair is in a Colefax and Fowler print. Pendant, Charles Edwards.
Maher layered several neutral shades in the kitchen, where the walls are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Jute and the cabinets and trim are in Farrow & Ball’s Hardwick White. The custom Waterworks sink and the countertops are in Vermont Danby marble. The Hickory Chair stools have seats covered in a Larsen leather, and the Visual Comfort chandelier matches another one in the adjacent breakfast room. Floor tiles, Ann Sacks.
In the breakfast room, Maher installed a 19th-century English pine mantel from Chesney’s. A set of vintage Swedish chairs are painted in Hague Blue and the walls are in Old White, both by Farrow & Ball. Kilim rugs, Double Knot.
“My clients love color, pattern, and finishing details,” Maher says. The butler’s pantry, situated between the study and the kitchen, combines all three: The glossy cabinetry and millwork are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue, the Pomegranate wallpaper is by Galbraith & Paul, and the mahogany countertop is trimmed with brass banding and fitted with a copper sink. Faucet, Perrin & Rowe.
The study is dubbed the Dukes Room, after the homeowners’ favorite lounge at Dukes, a hotel in London. Maher intentionally left the windows bare so as not to distract from the original architecture. The ceiling is lined in a Thibaut wallpaper, and the walls are in Farrow & Ball’s Lichen. A vintage Italian sofa is covered in a Lee Jofa fabric. Pendant, Visual Comfort. Carpet, Stark.
An antique secretary displays a collection of British commemorative cups.
“A dining room needs good lighting, comfortable chairs, and a generously sized table. This one is five feet wide, so you can fit two people at each end," Maher says. Because the dining room is in the new wing of the house, Maher added elaborate dentil moldings in keeping with the original architecture.
Above a 19th-century Italian demilune table and a pair of foo dogs, the mural painted by Marylyn Modny features the clients’ daughter within a historic scene of New York Harbor. "We added the mural for a personalized touch. It’s a historic view, painted in grisaille, of New York Harbor as seen from New Jersey. A lot of research went into it, but we took some creative liberties, too — if you look closely, you’ll find the couple’s children and the family dog," Maher says.
“You’ve really got to sell your client on a yellow-lacquered living room,” Maher says with a smile. The custom paint job, by Stephen and Lisa Longworth, radiates warmth, setting off a palette of blue, coral, and ocher. “It looks beautiful at night,” he adds. Sofa, Ebanista. The pillows on the sofa and the curtains are in Lee Jofa fabrics. Cocktail table, Plexi-Craft.
“The master bedroom overlooks the woods. To warm it up, I wrapped the walls in a mushroom silk and covered the bed in a large-scale ikat in purple and pale blue," Maher says. A custom headboard in an ikat from Carleton V pops against the Amalfi Silk wallcovering from Phillip Jeffries in the master bedroom. The curtains are in a Pierre Frey linen. Sconce, Vaughan. Lamp, Christopher Spitzmiller.
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This story originally appeared in the December/ January 2018 issue of CQ.