People say a good marriage is all about compromise, but this elegant home in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, shows that compromise doesn’t necessarily mean settling for less. Crafted by KNOF Design, the home merges the contrasting preferences of a recently married couple—combining her love for classic French furniture with his for the modern lines and geometry of art deco—to create a chic yet timeless living space.
For Susan Knof, founder and creative director of KNOF Design, this project was personal, as one of the clients also happens to be a longtime friend. “It was inspiring and special to know how significant the new home was for my friend, representing, as it does, the creation of a solid base for her new life chapter,” Knof said.
The house was designed not only with the couple in mind, but with consideration for the couple’s collective six children from their first marriages, as well as their newborn baby son. While several of the older children are fully grown and likely to visit only during holidays, key spaces—such as the dining and family rooms—had to be furnished for the possibility of all nine family members being present at the same time.
Satisfying the couple’s differing tastes may at first appear to be a daunting task. For Knof, the solution was to “treat both influences with a light touch.” In order to ensure cohesion throughout the home, it was essential to avoid clashes in style and obviously themed looks. Instead, the two preferences are present in material choices, from slick mirrored furniture, to strong geometric shapes, to distressed timber finishes.
The house is arranged so that it opens immediately into two formal rooms; upon entry, one faces the living room on the right, and the dining room on the left. As the two rooms are clearly visible from one another, Knof chose a palette of similar colors and materials to maintain flow and harmony. The rooms are tied together by strong blue tones, textured finishes and layering, as well as furniture with a distinctly luxurious feel. Stunning silk wallcoverings from Phillip Jeffries, metallic finishes in gold and brass, and dramatic chandelier lighting add touches of glamour without overwhelming the viewer.
In addition to the two formal living spaces, a more casual and intimate family room looks out onto the back lawn. Designed to accommodate the entire family during leisure times, the room is centered around the impressive Poliform Bristol sofa designed by Jean-Marie Massaud. Tonal grays and creamy off-whites create a muted, neutral scheme.
“The slightly rustic flavor to this room was a conscious decision,” Knof explained, “so that it would work with the stone-framed fireplace, which was inherited and deemed too costly to replace.”
Playful accessories, such as the light-up marquee letter M (for the family surname), contribute to the room’s lively atmosphere. A movie-style standing light is a subtle nod to a family of film fanatics, offering a glimpse into their personality.
In the master bedroom, mirrored accent furniture, like the chic bedside tables from Z Gallerie, give the room a distinct deco feel. However, Knof made sure to incorporate more classic pieces too, such as a vintage French side chair upholstered in velvet and a vintage metal chandelier. Similar to the family room, the master bedroom employs a neutral color scheme, creating an intimate and homey ambience.
A charming pink and purple colorway, combined with vintage French furniture, makes the young daughter’s room every little girl’s dream. Several sophisticated pieces embellish the room, such as the four-arm pewter chandelier with glass beads and faceted crystal. Nevertheless, perky touches, such as the flamingo-patterned wallpaper, keep the atmosphere childlike and playful. A zebra-patterned rug in light lavender and bright purple further accentuates the animal theme, and a quirky faux fur polar bear bean bag chair completes the look.
When it comes to the younger son’s room, Knof didn’t shy away from bright colors, playful layers, and fun patterns. The Spiderman-themed bedding accompanies the vintage superhero posters adorning the walls. The room contains a study nook, with custom bookshelves set into the recess. Colorful books complement the scheme of the room, serving both a decorative and practical purpose.
For Knof, this project initially presented a logistical challenge, as she typically splits her work life between London and Miami. With additional ongoing projects in the U.K., Bulgaria, and West Africa, finding a balance and combating time zones proved difficult. Nevertheless, her experience and persistence prevailed. The final product is an impeccable combination of two entirely different concepts, giving her friend a magnificent start to a beautiful new chapter of her life.