Having it Both Ways

Must high ceilings and modern oversized windows rule out a comfortable, homey feeling? Not in this architect’s own Washington Township home.



Design by Dan D'Agostino

The property was simply too good to sell to someone else. Architect Dan D’Agostino had considered developing for sale a one-acre parcel of land in Washington Township with his contractor partner, Mike Elayan, who also happened to be his best friend. But after reflecting further on the attributes of the spot, it was no deal. D’Agostino and Elayan decided to divide the property and build on it for their own families.

The house D’Agostino set out to create—with ample input from his wife, Andrea—had to strike a balance between modern openness and cozy comfort. At the crest of a road lined with elegant homes, the leafy property was at the highest elevation in the area, affording unobstructed views of both sunrises and sunsets. Living in a house built to take advantage of those views, D’Agostino thought, would be like being on a permanent vacation. 

Soaring walls of glass on the front and back of the house make the most of celestial events and green vistas. D’Agostino installed  a floating steel stairway between the first and second stories to maximize outdoor views. “From the great room,” he says, “we can see the sun rising on our left in the morning and setting on our right at night.”

The great room also reflects the family’s desire to live communally. An open-concept layout allows them to be together even if they’re engaged in different activities. And while the spacious room encompasses living and dining areas and a kitchen, it’s still imbued with the cozy feeling the D’Agostinos loved in their previous, smaller home, thanks largely to clever design: While the ceiling is elevated in the entryway and over the dining alcove to take advantage of the glass walls, it’s deliberately lower over a large part of the great room. “I tried very hard to volley back and forth between closed and open,” D’Agostino says.

The coziest room in the house is probably the master bedroom. Its vaulted ceiling adds drama, but could also have made the room feel excessively stark had it not been for D’Agostino’s deft touches, such as a line of horizontal trim that leads the eye downward and, above it, the use of shiplap, which adds a series of shadow lines to break up the ceiling space. Adding to the warmth, quite literally, is a two-sided gas fireplace, one side facing the bedroom and the other the master bathroom, where it complements a clean, modern design featuring a floating vanity and mirrored wall. D’Agostino designed the bedroom’s east-facing window so that it would frame the sunrise, in keeping with the home’s “staycation” theme.

“We both wish we could stay in that area of the house forever,” he says. It’s a desire bolstered by the bedroom’s built-in coffee bar. 

Another intimate space is the playroom, which is literally hidden behind a  sliding barn door. The room’s playful elements include a hanging rattan chair, a lightboard, a chalk paint wall, a working pay phone and antique shutters to hold artwork. “We tried to make the room appealing enough so that the kids don’t necessarily need to rely on toys to play, but can play with the room itself,” says D’Agostino. That playfulness extends  to the mudroom, where “mailboxes” for stashing clutter are labeled with each family member’s birthday. 

As the mudroom indicates, the family draws a clear line between cozy and cluttered. “We’re neat freaks,” Andrea D’Agostino admits. So the design makes use of multiple built-ins, including a long cabinet adjacent to the floating stairway, to hide the detritus of daily living. D’Agostino tucked a large pantry area behind the kitchen wall to keep food-prep messes out of sight. “The downside of living in a house with an open-concept first floor,” says D’Agostino, “is that if you don’t plan for it, your house is going to look cluttered.”

The D’Agostinos’ house looks anything but. The built-ins, the glass walls and the sleek kitchen all give the home a distinctly modern feel, which is balanced by more traditional elements like a coffered ceiling in the great room, the shiplap in the master bedroom and an exterior that evokes New England by way of the Hamptons. In fact, says D’Agostino, from the floor plan, the house looks like something that was designed to sit on a cliff in California overlooking the ocean. But Washington Township isn’t Monterey, so D’Agostino designed a house that would make sense in its environment. On the exterior, the two-story glass walls are balanced by traditional touches, such as an oriel bay window—more commonly seen on Tudor Revival homes—and a roofline featuring three peaks, which, D’Agostino says, “ties everything together.”

In fact, what really ties the house together is joy: the joy of living next door to your best friend, in rooms specifically designed for the whole family, in a house by turns dramatic and homey—the perfect place, as it happens, for a vacation that never ends.

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May 2019

SATURDAY, June 8, 2019 9 AM - 1 PM  HASBROUCK HEIGHTS HILTON HOTEL  650 TERRACE AVENUE, HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ ON SITE REGISTRATION FOR ATTENDEES CLASSES DEALING WITH ...

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650 Terrace Avenue
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Call today to find out more about this program 201-744-2822

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Blue Dragon School of Martial Arts
53 South Washington Avenue
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Sponsor: Push To Change
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Join the Bergen County Historical Society as they celebrate Pinkster, a Jersey Dutch Celebration of Spring at Historic New Bridge Landing. The Tricorne Dance Ensemble under the direction of...

Cost: $12 adults, $7 students, BCHS members free

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Historic New Bridge Landing
1201 Main St
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Celebrate Memorial Day with a salute to the Americans who gave their lives in service.  The Waldwick Band is a volunteer music organization based in and supported by the borough of Waldwick,...

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Mahwah Public Library
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SATURDAY, June 8, 2019 9 AM - 1 PM  HASBROUCK HEIGHTS HILTON HOTEL  650 TERRACE AVENUE, HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ ON SITE REGISTRATION FOR ATTENDEES CLASSES DEALING WITH ...

Cost: free admission

Where:
Hasbrouck Heights Hilton Hotel
650 Terrace Avenue
Hasbrouck Heights, NJ  07604
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Sponsor: Bergen County Community Development
Telephone: 201 336-7206
Contact Name: Jacqui Atkins
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Call today to find out more about this program 201-744-2822

Cost: 197.00 - 397.00

Where:
Blue Dragon School of Martial Arts
53 South Washington Avenue
Bergenfield, NJ  07621
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Sponsor: Push To Change
Telephone: 201-744-2822
Contact Name: Nicolle A Ahles
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Brian Aberback of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority discusses the amazing natural beauty and wildlife of the Meadowlands and the remarkable story of its environmental renaissance. He...

Cost: Free

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Mahwah Public Library
100 Ridge Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
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Spring into a clutter free home even if you have trouble letting go. Come hear Jamie Novak's humorous take on how to part with the things you no longer use. Using the secret of 10&10...

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Bogota Public Library
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SATURDAY, June 8, 2019 9 AM - 1 PM  HASBROUCK HEIGHTS HILTON HOTEL  650 TERRACE AVENUE, HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ ON SITE REGISTRATION FOR ATTENDEES CLASSES DEALING WITH ...

Cost: free admission

Where:
Hasbrouck Heights Hilton Hotel
650 Terrace Avenue
Hasbrouck Heights, NJ  07604
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Sponsor: Bergen County Community Development
Telephone: 201 336-7206
Contact Name: Jacqui Atkins
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Call today to find out more about this program 201-744-2822

Cost: 197.00 - 397.00

Where:
Blue Dragon School of Martial Arts
53 South Washington Avenue
Bergenfield, NJ  07621
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Sponsor: Push To Change
Telephone: 201-744-2822
Contact Name: Nicolle A Ahles
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Join our distinguished panelists Joseph Chuman, Professor, Columbia University and Teacher, Ethical Culture Society; Charlotte Bennett Schoen, Global Activist; Cheryl Mallen, Educator; Brad Ruder,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Senior Source
Shops at Riverside
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Hackensack, NJ  07601
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SATURDAY, June 8, 2019 9 AM - 1 PM  HASBROUCK HEIGHTS HILTON HOTEL  650 TERRACE AVENUE, HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ ON SITE REGISTRATION FOR ATTENDEES CLASSES DEALING WITH ...

Cost: free admission

Where:
Hasbrouck Heights Hilton Hotel
650 Terrace Avenue
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View map »


Sponsor: Bergen County Community Development
Telephone: 201 336-7206
Contact Name: Jacqui Atkins
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Thinking about Spring, warmer temps, sunny skies and getting in shape? BEGINNERS RUNNING SPRING PROGRAM sponsored by the North Jersey Masters non profit running club is starting up it's next...

Cost: $90.00

Where:
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1133 East Ridgewood Avenue
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Sponsor: North Jersey Masters
Telephone: 201-540-9701
Contact Name: Linda Ferraro
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Call today to find out more about this program 201-744-2822

Cost: 197.00 - 397.00

Where:
Blue Dragon School of Martial Arts
53 South Washington Avenue
Bergenfield, NJ  07621
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Sponsor: Push To Change
Telephone: 201-744-2822
Contact Name: Nicolle A Ahles
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An Amazin’ year it was! Join us as we share memories of the 1960s Mets from their 1962 humble beginnings as the worst team in baseball to their triumphant 1969 season as World Champions....

Cost: Free

Where:
Mahwah Public Library
100 Ridge Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
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SATURDAY, June 8, 2019 9 AM - 1 PM  HASBROUCK HEIGHTS HILTON HOTEL  650 TERRACE AVENUE, HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ ON SITE REGISTRATION FOR ATTENDEES CLASSES DEALING WITH ...

Cost: free admission

Where:
Hasbrouck Heights Hilton Hotel
650 Terrace Avenue
Hasbrouck Heights, NJ  07604
View map »


Sponsor: Bergen County Community Development
Telephone: 201 336-7206
Contact Name: Jacqui Atkins
Website »

More information

Call today to find out more about this program 201-744-2822

Cost: 197.00 - 397.00

Where:
Blue Dragon School of Martial Arts
53 South Washington Avenue
Bergenfield, NJ  07621
View map »


Sponsor: Push To Change
Telephone: 201-744-2822
Contact Name: Nicolle A Ahles
Website »

More information

Show More...
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SATURDAY, June 8, 2019 9 AM - 1 PM  HASBROUCK HEIGHTS HILTON HOTEL  650 TERRACE AVENUE, HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ ON SITE REGISTRATION FOR ATTENDEES CLASSES DEALING WITH ...

Cost: free admission

Where:
Hasbrouck Heights Hilton Hotel
650 Terrace Avenue
Hasbrouck Heights, NJ  07604
View map »


Sponsor: Bergen County Community Development
Telephone: 201 336-7206
Contact Name: Jacqui Atkins
Website »

More information

Call today to find out more about this program 201-744-2822

Cost: 197.00 - 397.00

Where:
Blue Dragon School of Martial Arts
53 South Washington Avenue
Bergenfield, NJ  07621
View map »


Sponsor: Push To Change
Telephone: 201-744-2822
Contact Name: Nicolle A Ahles
Website »

More information

The Tea - Interview With The Stars Gospel Stageplay   Date(s) - May 24th at 7pm and May 25th at 6pm. Location - Hackensack Performing Arts Center (HACPAC) 102 State St,...

Cost: $25.00

Where:
Hackensack Performing Arts Center
102 State St
Hackensack, NJ  07601
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Sponsor: Get Write Entertainment LLC
Telephone: 979-217-1334
Contact Name: Tony Williams
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SATURDAY, June 8, 2019 9 AM - 1 PM  HASBROUCK HEIGHTS HILTON HOTEL  650 TERRACE AVENUE, HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ ON SITE REGISTRATION FOR ATTENDEES CLASSES DEALING WITH ...

Cost: free admission

Where:
Hasbrouck Heights Hilton Hotel
650 Terrace Avenue
Hasbrouck Heights, NJ  07604
View map »


Sponsor: Bergen County Community Development
Telephone: 201 336-7206
Contact Name: Jacqui Atkins
Website »

More information

Thinking about Spring, warmer temps, sunny skies and getting in shape? BEGINNERS RUNNING SPRING PROGRAM sponsored by the North Jersey Masters non profit running club is starting up it's next...

Cost: $90.00

Where:
Glen Rock Duck Pond
149 Alan Avenue
Glen Rock, NJ
View map »


Sponsor: North Jersey Masters
Telephone: 201-540-9701
Contact Name: Linda Ferraro
Website »

More information

Call today to find out more about this program 201-744-2822

Cost: 197.00 - 397.00

Where:
Blue Dragon School of Martial Arts
53 South Washington Avenue
Bergenfield, NJ  07621
View map »


Sponsor: Push To Change
Telephone: 201-744-2822
Contact Name: Nicolle A Ahles
Website »

More information

The Tea - Interview With The Stars Gospel Stageplay   Date(s) - May 24th at 7pm and May 25th at 6pm. Location - Hackensack Performing Arts Center (HACPAC) 102 State St,...

Cost: $25.00

Where:
Hackensack Performing Arts Center
102 State St
Hackensack, NJ  07601
View map »


Sponsor: Get Write Entertainment LLC
Telephone: 979-217-1334
Contact Name: Tony Williams
Website »

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Ocean Galleries welcomes renowned Canadian-Lebanese Impressionist, Samir Sammoun, over Memorial Day weekend for his first ever exhibition in Stone Harbor. Samir began painting oils at the young age...

Cost: Free to the Public; ALL Artwork Available for Acquisition

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Ocean Galleries
9618 Third Avenue
Stone Harbor, NJ  08247
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Telephone: 609-368-7777
Contact Name: Kim Miller
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