When Roy Weber first moved into his Ridgewood Colonial, the recently divorced father of two couldn't have told you what his design preferences were. "I'd never really thought much about decorating," admits Weber, 66, a lecturer at Rutgers Business School.
When Roy Weber first moved into his Ridgewood Colonial, the recently divorced father of two couldn't have told you what his design preferences were.
"I'd never really thought much about decorating," admits Weber, 66, a lecturer at Rutgers Business School.
He did know that the lovely 1,700 square-foot house he'd bought had potential-and that its green, pink and bright yellow walls had to go.
Weber wanted to create a good-looking, cheerful home to enjoy with his teenage son and daughter, who would be living with him part-time. But where to start?
Weber turned to designer Neela Woodard of Neela Woodard Design in West Orange, who was embarking on a new chapter of her own.
She had recently opened her own business after working for interior design firms in Manhattan. "At first I had a hard time articulating what I wanted," Weber says, "but Neela listened, asked questions and showed me pictures to really draw me out."
"Roy was very involved in the design process and let me know what he liked and didn't like," says Woodard. "He eschewed typical manly chrome and giant TV screens in favor of a comfortable, transitional style with clean lines and a few modern touches. He didn't want anyone to walk in and think, 'Oh, this is a typical bachelor pad!'"
Step one was to replace the mish-mash of hues with a single soothing, neutral color: Oatmeal by Benjamin Moore. "It was really important to Roy for the walls to be cheery, and this color makes the rooms feel bright and open," says Woodard. "Keeping all of the rooms a uniform color also provides a sense of connectedness and makes the house seem larger."
As the project progressed, design choices flowed from the use Weber envisioned for each area.
Take, for instance, the airy, inviting living room. "The goal here main entrance, and we didn't want anything too bulky that would block the sight lines or the walkway," the designer says. So she and Weber selected a couch upholstered in pale red herringbone, two side chairs in a tone-on-tone stripe wool fabric from Q Collection, a Palecek floor lamp and a Crate and Barrel bookcase.
Though the room has a spare and uncluttered feel, it's not without the occasional flourish, such as homey was to make a really nice place to sit and chat," says Woodard. To create a peaceful focal point, Woodard revamped the room's brick fireplace, originally outfitted with a wooden mantel and painted an unsightly red, by substituting a new stone top and white paint.
When scouting out living room furniture, Woodard knew both comfort and practicality had to be considered. "The room is located right off the home's flower-print valances from Zoffany. For the sleek, dark-toned dining room, furniture was selected with family in mind.
"Because my children don't live here all the time, I wanted to have a place where we could eat together without sitting in front of the television," says Weber. A large, dark wooden table from Nichols & Stone, surrounded by Palecek chairs upholstered in Malabar cotton, fit the bill and the budget.
"You can really go crazy spending on dining-room furniture, but Neela was able to find great pieces for less than I thought I'd have to pay," says Weber. A sisal carpet from Meridian, a brushed-nickel chandelier with linen shades from Visual Comfort and vintage side tables provide elegant touches.
Simplicity reigns in the kitchen, where Weber enjoys whipping up meals for his children.
A few clever changes improved the room's functionality. For instance, Woodard used cabinetry from a corner nook to create the center island. Then the former nook was converted into a more useful "half coat closet, half pantry" with a sliding glass door. Well-chosen updates completed the space, including new stainless-steel appliances, granite countertops, a glass and brushed-nickel light fixture from Nulco Lighting and a gold tile backsplash with frosted glass accents from Artistic Tile.
For the cozy den, Weber wanted a room "comfortable enough for the children to hang out in with friends." A cushy microsuede couch from Room & Board and a wicker couch reupholstered in soft velvet are ideal spots for lounging, playing video games and watching movies. In the center, a glass-top coffee table with metal legs from Baker was chosen for its oval shape.
"This is not a big room, and I wanted people to be able to move around easily," Woodard explains.
Today Weber has nothing but raves for his home's handsome transformation. "It's comfortable but also attractive, and I really use every room," he says. "It just fits me perfectly." As for his kids? "They're excited and happy about it. When it was first completed, my son even brought all of his friends around and gave them a tour!