Located in the estate section of Montclair, a New Jersey suburb about 15 miles west of New York City, is this sprawling 1928 English Tudor manor. It once served as the family home of a US Senator, and had undergone many renovations over the years. It needed some general updates and an overall sense of cohesion.

Along with RTH Building Company, Ali Qualy and Kasey Hodgson of Roost Interiors were tasked with restoring the home to its former glory and bringing it up to speed for modern life. The pair wanted to create something beautiful and livable. The end result is formal yet functional, offering a sense of relaxed luxury with plenty of fun pieces of art and special details. In a recent chat, the designers told us more about the project. (Don’t miss the slideshow for a look inside!)

Tell us a bit about your clients and the start of this project.
When our clients first contacted us more than two and a half years ago, we knew we needed to be a part of the team to transform the house into their forever home. After previously living abroad with their two children, the family had already been living in the neighborhood and were able to watch the renovation process closely. The house was outdated with some original features intact, and some undesirable renovations done in its history. This well sized property would accommodate a rear addition to the original structure. The architect and builder would completely reimagine the floorplan and all but gut the home, with the exception of the living room.

The integrity of the Tudor exterior was maintained while the inside was given a complete renovation along with an addition off the back to update and modernize the once dark, small rooms. Keeping the limestone and Tudor exterior facade was very important in keeping with the neighborhood’s older, established style. The rear exterior was pushed out to create a new kitchen and family room with floor to ceiling glass windows and doors that allow you to look out to the pool, tennis court and yard.
From an interior design standpoint, what was your vision for the space?
The vision for the space was to create something beautiful yet livable. Our design plan was very clean with a neutral palette, allowing the architect’s unique, modern trim details to shine.  We selected warm wood tones, shades of cream, taupe and bits of black in most rooms which also showcased our client’s eclectic art collection. Light white oak floors and creamy walls (in Benjamin Moore Cloud White) immediately brightened the entire house. Interesting wallpapers added texture fun backdrops. 

The house is quite large. Could you “walk us” through the space and share a bit about the layout and design?
The original woodwork and limestone fireplace in the living room were preserved and simple yet modern lined furniture updated the room’s look.  The homeowners wanted this space to be not-so-formal and include a TV for entertaining friends and family. This textured space, one of our favorites, reminds us of a classic California home. Next, the family room adjoins a sleek kitchen with white and wood veneer cabinetry and a huge marble waterfall island, which also adjoins the butler’s pantry. The dining room has an offset, limestone fireplace and burlap paneled wall detail, custom designed table and chandelier for dinner parties and holidays galore. A mudroom, office, and east and west powder rooms round out the first floor.

On the second floor, we used lots of blues and fun patterns in designing the two boys’ bedrooms and a “boys lounge.” We wanted their spaces to be sophisticated like the rest of the house, but youthful for these sporty kids. We mounted coordinating vintage blue and brown leather footballs in a seating area in one of their bedrooms. We got creative using lots of Ann Sacks tile and modern light fixtures in their masculine en-suite bathrooms.  In the master suite, we again chose loads of neutral textures, with custom herringbone fabric wrapped dresser drawer fronts and leather hardware. Pale tones of raked limestone tile in the spacious bathroom and slabs of travertine on shower walls give a spa-like feel, complete with a soaking tub.  We love the way the area rug and furniture pieces give this bath a living room feel.

A third floor now houses two guest suites, a common TV living room area, and the homeowner’s secondary office and gift wrap space.

The home’s lower level can entertain all ages. Adults can schmooze in the wine cellar with a bluestone fireplace and two-tone wet bar while the young folks play in the billiard room. Grasscloth walls are the backdrop for the homeowner’s Formula 1 photographs. Here, friends can play a game of pool or shuffleboard on the gray stained Blatt tables or watch from the barstools while having a drink. There’s an impressive gym too.

As designers, what do you love most about the finished home?  
We think the entry is swoon worthy.  When you enter, the striking white chandelier, re-imagined curved staircase and clear view to the rear yard almost take your breath away.

When did your team complete the project? 
We managed to get 95% of our installations done just in time for the homeowners to move in early March, just as the pandemic was starting to explode.  Everyone was so relieved to settle into their dream home during quarantine.

Multiple Art pieces from Gold/Scopophilia Gallery, Montclair NJ
Lighting: Urban Electric, 1st Dibs, Gordon Auchincloss, Matthew Fairbank Design, M2C Studio, FAIR
Fixtures: Waterworks, THG Paris, Samuel Heath
Huggins Hardwood Flooring
Blatt Billiards