Design by Stivale Graffam Home
Photography by Gieves Anderson
Text by Nayda Rondon
In 2016, when the current owners moved in, the 4,900-square-foot Summit colonial was already impressive enough. But after undergoing an extensive renovation/addition in 2021–2022, it became truly wow-worthy, increasing to 5,300 square feet. The home now boasts five bedrooms, five-and- a-half baths, a game room, a chef ’s kitchen, a wine cellar, a gym and a theater.
Recommended by a former client, John Stivale and Steven Graffam, of Wood-Ridge-based Stivale Graffam Home, were instrumental in the transformation. The homeowners, busy professionals, wanted inviting comfort on a grand scale. “With four almost-adult children and two dogs, we have a casual lifestyle and wanted function as much as form,” says the wife. “John and Steven helped us achieve that balance.”
The project started with a primary bedroom redesign. Two existing bedrooms were used to create a masterful bedroom featuring separate bedroom and lounge sections, an en-suite bath- room and a walk-in closet. Because it was important to maintain five bedrooms, an unfinished second-floor space was fashioned into a good-sized bedroom, which now doubles as a home office.
“A completely new space, this second-floor guest suite was a total gut renovation,” Graffam explains. “We worked hand in hand with the architect [Summit-based Rosen Kelly Conway Architecture & Design] and contractor [Basking Ridge-based The Final Cut] to integrate the bedroom and bath seamlessly into the home’s overall design concept and aesthetics.”
The design duo used color, layering and dramatic flair to create rooms—entry, primary bedroom suite, secondary guest suite, theater, wine cellar and basement guest bedroom/bathroom—of livable luxury. They also offered diplomacy.
“Sometimes my husband and I didn’t agree and they would say, ‘We’re Switzerland!’ and wouldn’t pick sides,” the wife says. “But they went further, often finding alternatives we could both agree on. They were amazing design partners.”
The designers’ vision for the entry set the tone for coming attractions. “We wanted the entry to feel moody and dramatic,” says Stivale of the Benjamin Moore Trout Gray walls, which serve as the rich backdrop for the foyer’s other visual standouts: the CB2 Babylon marble table, two vintage X-framed stools upholstered in ivory-and-brown pony-hair-on-hide and espresso-stained hardwood flooring.
Nowhere was balancing grand-scale luxury with inviting intimacy more essential than in the enlarged primary bedroom. “It’s very long, so we wanted to section the room into the bed area and a separate seating area with extra-large club chairs where our clients can relax,” Stivale explains.
“We hang out in this sitting area in the evenings,” says the homeowner. “The oversized chairs are big enough for both of us to sit in and each have a dog on our lap.”
Exploring color palettes, the designers layered textures and materials to create an artful interplay of opposites-attract pairings. The deep mauve wall color offers a sumptuous setting for some of the room’s lighter elements, such as the Frette bedding. The coffee table’s hand-hammered, metal-clad finish is juxtaposed with the velvet chair upholstery and the misty-hued rug. Around the bed area, Mongo- lian lamb pillows contrast the polished nickel table lamps.
As with the primary bedroom, the designers led with color in the upstairs guest bedroom/bathroom suite. Offset by Benjamin Moore Silver Satin walls, the accent wall behind the bed pops with the luxuriant emerald green of Benjamin Moore Martha’s Vineyard. The chrome-framed Williams Sonoma bench upholstered in emerald green velvet reinforces the color commitment. Also contributing to the boutique hotel chic vibe: a West Elm bed with linen headboard, Pratesi bedding and Baccarat crystal decanters.
The star of the show in the adjoining bathroom is Schumacher’s Chiang Mai Dragon wallpaper. To counterbalance its bold pattern, the designers selected white subway tiles and a white Carrara Italian marble sinktop. Playing off the print’s silver/gray metallic background, the charcoal gray of the Festival penny tiles and taupe gray shagreen of the RH Graydon vanity impart a grey-glam sophistication.
The designers partnered with Ruther- ford-based Mannino Cabinetry to create the custom wine cellar/lounge area. Featuring a walk-in fridge and relaxing lounge seating, the space—adjacent to the theater room—is as suited for entertaining guests as it is to couple-time chilling over a chardonnay.
“On Fridays we frequently open a bottle of wine, relax in the wine room and just reconnect after a busy week,” the wife says. “We both travel frequently, and when we arrive back home, we just want to spend time together and enjoy the different spaces that have been created.”