The Charm of the Stately Homes By-The-Sea Designer House

May 3, 2013
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By Patti Martin

LITTLE SILVER – Benefit­ting the Visiting Nurse Associa­tion Health Group, this year’s event has transformed The Hartshorne Man­sion, a majestic registered historic home nestled on the banks of the Shrewsbury River.

More than 50 of the tristate area’s leading interior designers, decorators and landscape artists have revitalized the 11,000-square-foot Tudor, bringing their creative visions to the storied estate’s classic beauty.

Internationally acclaimed designer Mario Buatta is serving as honorary design chair of the event, which continues through June 9.

“Celebrate Home” is the perfect theme for this edition of Stately Homes-By-The-Sea,” said Karen Puma, who is co-chairing the event with Jodi Navitsky, Alice DiFiglia and Cheryl Morris. “The Hartshorne Mansion stands as a testament to the rich history of our beloved Jersey Shore and the many generations of families who have this area as their home.”

The beautiful brick mansion, built in 1929 by Olympic medalist and world champion figure skater Harold Hartshorne, has been a familiar sight for generations of area residents, Navitsky pointed out. “We now have this wonderful opportunity to open its doors for all to come and appreciate the estate’s magnificent historical elements enhanced by the artistry and innovation of the designers.”

Although Super Storm Sandy caused some damage to the home and grounds last year, Morris said, the mansion – with its brick façade, slate roof and 217 leaded glass windows, many with stained glass images of historical or allegorical figures – withstood the ravages of the storm.

That the designers have deftly brought their contemporary visions to the storied estate’s classic beauty is immediately felt walking through the magnificent front door. Red Bank interior designer Amy Manor of Amy Manor Interior Design has created a smart, inviting and elegant foyer (along with the upstairs hallway) reminiscent of a time gone by – with a decidedly fresh twist. It’s a striking start to a home that provides design inspiration at every turn.

The Hartshorne Mansion living room, called “The Chapel,” by designer Pat Mills, Byford & Mills.

The Hartshorne Mansion living room, called “The Chapel,” by designer Pat Mills, Byford & Mills.

Interior designer Pat Mills of Byford & Mills in Little Silver took full advantage of the formal living room’s expansive size to create different areas. She also installed lighting on the exposed wood beams, imported from Germany’s Black Forest, in the cathedral ceiling.

A monochromatic color palette was specifically chosen for the space with pops of color adding visual interest at every turn. Contem­por­ary sculpture plays off the historical beauty of the space. Although not accessible for the tour, the room boasts a wonderful secret – a secret door next to the oversize fireplace (one of 10 fireplaces in the house) leads to a hidden passageway.

When is a sunroom a showstopper? When the sunroom is designed by Linda Benson of Linda Benson Interiors in Lebanon. Named “Something’s Gotta Give,” the space offers great design ideas – from the grass cloth on the ceiling to the latticework covering the orange brick to the linen draperies that lighten the room. Benson mixes color and texture and traditional with modern to create a space that feels collected, not decorated. It’s a place to curl up, even on the cloudiest of days.

West Coast meets East Coast in the library, designed by Joe Lucas and Parrish Chilcoat of Lucas Studio in West Hollywood, Calif. Trans­formed into an oh-not-so-ordinary space, there’s an eclectic feel to the room – this is decidedly not your grandfather’s library. Con­temporary art hangs on the walls, the designers’ way of helping to bring the space into the 21st century. A hand-carved unicorn desk is strategically positioned to look out the window. An oversize mirror is positioned on the desk to bring more light into the space.

Stasia Pearson of Interior Design by Stasia and Jacquie Capanelli of Jacquie Capanelli Interior Design, both in Middletown, joined forces to create a powder room that is big on texture from the metallic wallpaper to the fixtures. This is a soothing retreat that has a wealth of ideas for your own space.

With 30 years of design experience, Mark Polo of Polo M.A., Inc., in Boonton, knows how to take risks. And, he did so perfectly in the dining room, taking tradition and turning it upside down. While he retained the sculptured plaster ceiling that graces the banquet-style dining room, he opted to pickle the dark wood in place to create a lighter look. Where does a chandelier go in a Polo room? On the glass dining table, of course. Polo also opts to replace traditional chairs with benches on either side of the table. The only chairs found at the table are sleek, high-back options at either end of the table – just perfect for the heads of the household.

Hartshorne Woods Park To Expand

In designing “The Master Bedroom,” Elizabeth Hum­phry of Chatham Interiors in Chatham, needed to look no farther than her own parents for design inspiration. “I was asked to design something close to my heart, so I used parents – my father was Italian, my mother, English – to guide me,” she explained. “I imagined them in their 40s, the man and woman of the manor.”

The key was to design a space that was neither too masculine nor too feminine, but a sanctuary for the couple. Design details are abundant, including the faux bookcase and the Armani sketches. “I just wanted this to be a serene place; a place that a couple would want to spend all their time.”

The feeling of serenity carries over into the master bathroom, designed by Ginny Padula of Town & Country, Kitchen and Bath in Red Bank. Wanting to create a sense of space, Padula opted for light colors, including light blues, reflective of the Shrewsbury River, which is visible from the windows. A volcanic lime tub is the perfect contrast to the modern glass shower. Using available spaces in interesting ways, Padula tucked a bookcase in an angular space.

Adjacent to the master bath is the master bedroom closet or what Jacki Melchior and Wendy Scott of Sophisti­cated Storage Solu­tions, Cus­tom Closets in Bound Brook call the “Goddess’ Chamber.” Once upon a time a choir room for Hartshorne, the space has been converted into a fashionista’s dream – a place for everything and everything in its place. The open closet system allows for an unobstructed view of everything from clothes to shoes and jewelry. A skylight adds warmth and natural light. What woman wouldn’t want to choose her outfits here?

“The La Dolce Vita Media Room” by designer Anna Maria Mannarino, Mannarino Designs, Inc.

“The La Dolce Vita Media Room” by designer Anna Maria Mannarino, Mannarino Designs, Inc.

There was no question that “The Loft” needed a little TLC, explained Anna Maria Mannarino of Mannarino Designs in Holmdel. Origin­ally a cluster of several rooms and a hallway, the space also had chair rails that, combined with the angles of the walls and recessed window alcoves, made the large space feel small, choppy and closed in.

If that wasn’t enough, Mannarino had to deal with unevenness on the walls and ceiling lines.

“My goal was to create a modern living area that celebrates Italian design,” she said. “I wanted a clean, minimalistic space that combined form and function.”

To create that goal, the chair rails were removed and the main walls were painted in a single color from floor to ceiling. Wallpapered panels, mimicking the pattern of the windows, were attached under the windows and molding was added to the ceiling, installed several inches from the edge, allowing for an alternative color to be used on the ceiling.

It was also important to Mannarino that a room celebrating Italian design was filled with products that were Italian, Italian-designed or Italian-inspired. So there’s a Leonardo collection rug, inspired by an old Italian fresco on the floor, Pero Fornasetti “Faces” mounted on the angled walls and a reclining Italian leather sofa for watching television.

“It’s a great space to spend time,” Mannarino said.

While many spaces in The Hartshorne Mansion are large, the show house also points out that great design can be achieved in small spaces.

The gift-wrap closet at the top of the third floor is a unique use of a small space. Designed by The Papery in Shrewsbury, the space is little more than a short closet, but packs a punch with its unique storage of wrapping, bows and last-minute gifts.

And a trunk closet has been transformed into an adorable and inspirational playroom by Eileen Buriani of Kidegories in Shrewsbury. Scale is the key in the angled room, which features playful murals on the wall and nostalgic toys. It’s a delight for children of all ages.

With room after room of inspiring design – not to mention a beautifully landscaped exterior – it’s hard to choose a favorite space. Every space large and small, inside and out, will provide an opportunity to design or dream in one’s own space.

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Even more importantly, the event is on track to be another winner for Visiting Nurse Association Health Group.

“I continue to be overwhelmed by the generous support of this community,” said Steven H. Landers, VNA Health Group president and CEO. “We are extremely grateful for the many board members, volunteers, contributors and designers who give so much of their time and effort to create this spectacular event in support of VNA’s mission to care for our community and keep people healthy at home.”



Show House Special Events

“The Westminster Retreat Game Room“ by designer Barbara Ostrom, Barbara Ostrom Associates.

“The Westminster Retreat Game Room“ by designer Barbara Ostrom, Barbara Ostrom Associates.

LITTLE SILVER – The Stately Homes By-The-Sea Designer House, benefitting the Visiting Nurse Association Health Group, has scheduled a variety of special events at the show house, being held this year at the Hartshorne Mansion at 80 Oakes Road.

They are:

May 8, 11 a.m. – Noon: Morning at the Mansion
Todd Thompson of Guar­anteed Plants, Locust, will help you plant your summer containers that will provide you with beautiful flowers and color all season. Bring your own container (containers also available for purchase) and choose from a wide variety of annuals that Thompson has chosen to be the best for this area. Admission is free with purchase of show house ticket plus the cost of any flowers purchased.

May 12, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Mother’s Day at the Mansion
Treat your mom to a delicious brunch or bring a friend to a wonderful day out. First, enjoy a tour of the show house, shop in the wonderful boutique shops and savor brunch. Or, sleep in, enjoy brunch and then tour the beautifully decorated home. Et Al, the official show house caterer is planning a special menu just for mom. Each mom will receive a special surprise. Admission is $60 and includes show house admission and brunch.

May 15, 11 a.m. – Noon: Morning at the Mansion
Sandy Henning of Sandy Henning Gardens and Landscape Design, Rumson, will share photos of gardens before and after. Henning will share her inspiration for transforming gardens into attractive and serene retreats. Admission is free with the purchase of a show house ticket.

May 15, 11 a.m. – Noon: Morning at the Mansion Designing Small Gardens
Join Diane Guidone, an award-winning landscape designer, for her presentation on designing smaller garden spaces. Initially, the concepts of design and how they relate to small gardens will be reviewed. In particular plot assessment, the use of line and shape, illusion, definition and pattern, proportions, sweeping curves, strong straight lines and, finally, focal points will be examined. Guidone received her formal training in horticulture and garden design from The English Gardening School at the Chelsea Physic Garden in London. Admission is free with the purchase of a show house ticket.

May 22, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.: Meet the Editors of Design NJ magazine
Whether you want to learn how to get published, find out about the design trends in New Jersey or have questions about how to turn your decorating and landscaping dreams into reality, the Design NJ staff will be on hand all day to meet you and answer your questions. In addition to great information, there will be giveaways including a directory of local resources, tote bags, subscription specials and more. Show house attendees can enter to win a Beatriz Ball Ice Bucket, similar to one featured in the magazine.

May 28, 3 – 5 p.m.: Tea with author Mary Randolph Carter
Mary Randolph Carter, or “Carter” as she is known, is an author, photographer and longtime creative director for Ralph Lauren. Carter will discuss ways that you can make your house a home filled with comfort, ambience, informality and welcoming spirit – while living beautifully with all the things you love. Admission is $60. Sponsored by the Scout Guide.

May 29, 11 a.m. – Noon: Morning at the Mansion
Did you always want to learn to arrange flowers like a pro? Well now is your chance. Well-known flower designs and event planners Flower Arranging with Craig Kiely and Darryn Murphy will give you an overview of putting together your own gorgeous arrangement. They will help you choose the right flowers and the right containers for different centerpieces. Please bring your own container. Admission is free with the purchase of a show house ticket plus $40 for flowers.


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