There's nothing like decorating your first apartment. You finally have a place to call your own and you can design it however you like (assuming it falls within your budget, of course). But when you're ready to build your forever home, it's time to talk to the pros.
Julie Kantrowitz of JK Interior Living designed this stunning home in Ridgewood, New Jersey, for a soon-to-be family of four who moved from Hoboken to raise their children in the suburbs.
The six bedroom, five-and-a-half bathroom home is approximately 4,500 square feet and a completely new build, giving Kantrowitz the freedom to customize her design for the growing family.
"When designing a home for a young family, it’s important to take into account the need for durability as well as functionality," Kantrowitz tells MyDomaine. "This can be easily achieved through mindful selections of fabrics and materials, as well as addressing the most efficient floor plans and layouts upfront."
While the home is warm and family friendly, it doesn't lack sophistication, a delicate balance Kantrowitz strived for in the design process.
I love to bring the outside in through neutral tones and more literally surrounding myself with greenery and flowers indoors.
"I wanted my clients to come home and feel relaxed," Kantrowitz explains. "I feel the best way to achieve this welcoming environment is by using light neutrals throughout. By mixing up textures and layering tone on tone, I created a serene home for my clients full of warmth and character."
Keep scrolling to see the rest of this gorgeous dream home.
When designing the home, Kantrowitz found inspiration everywhere.
"I love to bring the outside in through neutral tones and more literally surrounding myself with greenery and flowers indoors," Kantrowitz says. "I also find inspiration ranging from minimalist avant-garde interiors to maximalist and challenge myself to create livable variations somewhere in between."
Kantrowitz emphasized high-performance fabrics and soft surfaces when designing for a growing family.
"In going back to the mindful choices when designing a home with young children, it was important my selections were safe and reliable," Kantrowitz says. "High performance fabrics are crucial as they can withstand nearly any tough spills or messes. These aren’t just baby proof, they are practically life proof!
When small children are around, don't forget to consider other elements besides fabric.
"Appropriate selection of materials for tabletops is paramount when it comes to safety, which is why I selected a leather ottoman for the living room, and refrained from any sharp edged or glass furnishings," Kantrowitz says.
Though the family was originally based in Hoboken, New Jersey, they were drawn to property in Ridgewood to raise their growing family.
"As their family grew, they became more aware of the space they needed outside the walls of an apartment and decided to buy land to build their dream home in a nearby suburb of New York City," Kantrowitz explains.
While the style of the home is Dutch Colonial, the family was able to customize the design to their specifications.
"My clients were acutely aware of the style home they desired, however being this was a new and custom build, we had the luxury to deviate from specific and historical architectural details not ideal for the modern home," Kantrowitz explains. "For example, ceiling height was of top priority, allowing us 10 feet on the first floor and nine feet on the second."
As Kantrowitz was brought on to the project before the house was even built, she became an integral part of the entire process.
"By working closely with the architect from the very early stages of development, we were able to assess those needs with an open floor plan and incorporate a playroom adjacent to the kitchen," Kantrowitz says. "While these decisions are important at this early stage of their family life, it is also a layout which they can easily grow into by reassigning the purpose of the playroom space. Home offices, sitting areas, and studies are just a few of the endless possibilities of how a playroom can convert."
Even places that some homeowners like to hide are well-decorated and thoughtfully designed in this home.
"Tossing in lots of pillows as well as incorporating inviting knit area rugs helped us create a comfortable, casual, and incredibly sophisticated style," Kantrowitz says, even in sometimes overlooked areas like the mudroom.
In one of the children's bedrooms, a soft pink bed anchors the room while a sweet canopy makes the perfect playing area.
A custom bar and cozy leather furniture in this room makes for a great place to entertain.
One of the first buys for the home was this area rug in the client's studio, Kantrowitz recalls.
"I do remember sourcing that gorgeous area rug for my client’s studio and building the entire room off of that find," Kantrowitz says. "I knew she would absolutely love it and that it was going to be the statement piece of her own dedicated space in the home."
This gorgeous primary bathroom is en suite, a necessity for the homeowners.
The term "Primary Bathroom" is now widely used to describe the largest bathroom in the home, as it better reflects the space’s purpose. Many realtors, architects, interior designers, and the Real Estate Standards Association have recognized the potentially discriminatory connotations in the term "Master." Read more about our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge.
"One of the more notable luxuries in this home were the en-suite baths pairing to each and every bedroom," Kantrowitz says. "Second floor laundry is also atypical in an older home, but a frequent must when renovating or building new."
The primary bath includes a standalone tub, custom shelving, and plenty of greenery.
The primary bedroom includes a tufted headboard, matching nightstands, and plenty of texture.
This spare bedroom is ready for guests with a reading nook and plenty of light.
Kantrowitz's favorite part of the home is the entryway, though she admits it's a "very close call."
"The custom designed newel posts, gorgeous Ralph Lauren inspired custom staircase runner, and the jaw-dropping floor to ceiling custom millwork are just a few of my favorite features," Kantrowitz says. "I specifically designed the millwork around the sizing of my sconce selections, my console height, as well as the artwork over the built in bench. I even designed a decorative technique of routing lines within the millwork itself."
Throughout the entire project, Kantrowitz kept her favorite decorating advice in mind, when designing this stunning forever home: "Editing is the most important part of the design process." Now that's advice we can all get behind.