As an interior designer, you encounter three types of people: the hands-off client who wants you to work your magic and then hand over the keys; the kind who has a lot of ideas (but usually not great ones); and then the homeowner (or renter) with stellar ideas who wants to collaborate. For New York–based interior designer Brad Sherman, his client Hadley Peterson, a talented landscape designer in Summit, New Jersey, fell into the latter camp. “She has great taste and cares deeply about design,” he tells us. “She understands shape and composition, and she flooded me with inspiration photos.” It was Sherman’s task to interpret her ideas and bring them to fruition, “giving her a space that is colorful, bright, hip and happy, but also authentic and personal.”
Peterson discovered Sherman’s work in a blog post on the first kitchen he designed for Food52. “She really wanted the same look/feel in her kitchen, and she contacted me. We instantly hit it off,” he shares. All of the kitchen inspiration photos Peterson shared had a theme: unlacquered brass and stainless steel. “She wanted the kitchen to feel like it like a modern version of what was there—drawing inspiration from certain elements of old English kitchens, Gosford Park in particular,” Sherman says. “I pushed her to use white oak for the island to bring in a bit of warmth and suggested the transom detail as a transition to the mudroom and family room to help the addition feel like it was connected and part of the original house.”
Though Sherman was hired to design Peterson’s kitchen, before he knew it, he was tackling her family of five’s entire five-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath English-cottage-style home. Soon “the whole inside of the house was ripped down to the studs, and she was adding a family room, mudroom on the first floor, a bedroom and bathroom on the second floor, and a new detached garage. Practically “every inch of the house,” received an update, including all new windows and floors.
“Hadley is vibrant, energetic, curious, and fun. I wanted the mix in her home to reflect that,” Sherman tells us. For Peterson, the goal was for her space to feel lived-in, not fussy or overdecorated. “She loves and appreciates so many different styles,” Sherman says. “I helped pull elements of things she really loves into a space that feels more collected than decorated.”
Originally, the space had dark floors and a traditional color palette, and Peterson hoped to steer her home in an entirely new directly. Thus, the duo tried to “interject vibrant color while still maintaining a certain degree of sophistication,” Sherman says. Anchoring the house are two rich, deeply colored rooms: a blue mudroom with blue tiles and a green living room. “Once she saw the mudroom go blue, and geometric tiles go down, it was an easy sell to take the living room green,” Sherman says. The rest of the rooms were kept light and bright.
I couldn’t help but ask Sherman about the beautiful wallpaper in the home’s dining room—one of my favorite moments—and was delighted to learn it’s a custom design. “I had the wallpaper made from a vintage postcard of the Amazon I found at a flea market in Lambertville, New Jersey. I scanned the postcard and repeated/mirrored the image to look seamless,” the designer tells us.
A testament to how in sync Sherman and Peterson seem to be, the designer tells us his greatest find for the space—the green suede and chrome Milo Baughman–style loveseat in the sun room—was actually intended for his own home. “I originally bought that piece for myself but caved when I saw how perfect it was for that space,” he says.