Maybe another designer would have been cowed by the prospect of turning a builder’s own home into a jewel guests would find dazzling. But Jaclyn Isaac, principal at Shrewsbury-based Doni Douglas Design, took it in stride. The result is an edgy modern gem with a South Florida flavor—think cream-colored seating with pops of color—reined in to reflect the Hudson’s Gold Coast.
This cliffside retreat with an elevator features four tiers, from a ground-floor garage to what Isaac calls the “bachelor’s patio,” with NYC views guests can savor from the hot tub.
“Doni Douglas nailed the creative brief,” says the owner, Lou Iovino of Teaneck’s IP Builders, applauding the design completed in 2019. “Although we build for others all the time, I wanted my home to have a few special touches and feel like a true showpiece.” Isaac’s team delivered, he says, with “an elegantly designed, modern, masculine space that made me feel welcomed the second I walked in theBecause Iovino also spends time at his Florida home, lifestyle demanded “relatively low-maintenance,” Isaac says. So, although this is a bachelor’s home free from kids slopping ice cream on the couch, Isaac turned to easy-care performance fabrics. She also avoided high-maintenance marble for living-area floors, imitating stone with large-format porcelain tile in cream.
Creating a Miami vibe in New Jersey was a challenge Isaac met by steering clear of the bright oranges and pinks that might have been over-the-top. Instead, the living room draws from natural influences, with blue-green swivel chairs and velvet pillows in olive and taupe, reflected in Loloi’s Dreamscape rug.
Although Iovino initially wanted white couches, his designer saw that as “a bit harsh,” so the custom sofa is a cream that contrasts well with the bountiful black. The art and accessories add an earthy touch, as do the plants.
Of course, the biggest shoutout to nature is the view, which the low-profile chairs help preserve. As though working in tandem with generous windows, a mirrored coffee table bounces light around the room.
In the dining area, a taupe pattern accent wall by Heather Jozak Studios leads the eye toward a simple wood table with modern chairs of black leather and curved chrome by Safavieh opposite a banquette with a geometric twist on contrasts. Etched-glass pendants by YLighting satisfy the client’s penchant for black fixtures.
Designed for a man who loves to cook, the kitchen is a balancing act of masculine and softer elements such as the black-and-white oak cabinets by Imperial Kitchen & Bath. Isaac used black for cohesiveness within the open plan and painted the back wall identically to make the cabinets “kind of visually float away,” she explains. For a sleek effect, the cabinetry is sans hardware. Completing the style, slabs of Calacatta-image quartz deliver smooth elegance to backsplash and countertops, while woven black stools by CB2 play up contrasts.
Born to party, the fourth-floor bachelor patio is an indoor-outdoor haven for good times that wows with an inlaid “rug” of cement tile by Cemento. “It’s a cool floor inlay, almost like an art piece, that we built the room’s color scheme around,” says Isaac. Edgewater-based Imperial did the cabinetry for a bar/workstation that features a beverage fridge and brass shelving by CB2. Although there’s plenty of comfy seating inside and a Samsung TV that doubles as zebra art, guests won’t want to miss the view from the patio. For a resort-like experience, this scenic epicenter boasts low-maintenance outdoor furniture in bright white and teal, concrete planters, a hot tub and a grill.
Another highlight of the home’s fun, modern design is the master bathroom, where a cracked-effect tile by Faber is emphasized with black grout above the espresso-finish vanity.
In the end, the builder known for modern, high-end style got exactly what he was looking for: a showpiece. And though not on the design team, Edgewater’s famous cliffs turned it all up a notch with nature’s contribution: a wondrous view.
TEXT by MICHELLE JONES
DESIGN by JACLYN ISAAC
PHOTOGRAPHY by MIKE VAN TASSELL