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A Big House That Lives Small - Garofolo
08/23/2010 - By A.J. Perna
Photography by AK Photo / Al Kruper
The Garofolo Family Enjoys Life On The Hill
During the very beginning of the 1990s, Brooklyn native Nick Garofolo searched throughout northern Monmouth County for the perfect escape. He was looking to get away from the crowded, close-quarters of neighborhood life to a more secluded, private area, but still with easy access to neighborhood amenities. After 18 months, Nick was invited to view a property nestled high on a hill in Holmdel that was described as a two and one quarter acre private enclave. After feasting his eyes on the lush greenery and amazing views of the New York City skyline, Nick was sure that he had “found his spot.”
The existing 1800-square-foot home on the property was much too small for the Garofolos, but it was just too interesting to tear down. The original owner of the property had spent years splitting his time between the U.S. and Sorrento, Italy and had constructed a replica of his Italian villa, right in Holmdel. Even before the papers had been signed, Nick had hatched a plan to expand it. The Garofolos had a few goals that they wanted to achieve in the expansion of their newly acquired home. Nick wanted to match, as closely as possible, the architectural style of the original home, along with finding matching brick for the outside to create a seamless look between the old and new sections of the house. Taking ease of everyday living into account, a rambling, split-level layout would be in order, to avoid having to climb up and down too many stairs every day. But primarily, the bulk of the planning would focus on maximizing all of the spectacular views provided by the locale. Upon completion, on a clear day the family would be able to see Coney Island, Sandy Hook, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge or the Empire State Building depending upon which room they were looking out from.
In the final plans, three separate wings were added; a kitchen wing, a master bedroom wing, and a great room - each extending at a different angle from the original structure. The result, after two full years of planning and construction, was a stunning 7,400 square foot, five bedroom, six bath estate. By keeping the villa as the center hub of the home, Nick and his wife, Diane are now able to have everything in the home within a reasonable distance from every other room and achieved their goal of living “small” in a large home.
A two-story wood-burning, marble fireplace towers above the living room – sometimes referred to as the “Tea & Crumpet Room” by Nick and Diane. This area is located in the original villa and has a visually interesting “crooked” column separating this space from the foyer.
A long, sweeping driveway leads up from the main road and into the trees, arriving at the Garofolo’s private enclave where guests ascend rounded, terra-cotta steps and are greeted by massive, custom bronze doors.
The great room is Nick’s place. A spiral staircase leads from a built-in bar area up to a loft with a seating area specifically designed for drinking wine and smoking cigars.
The Garofolos like to keep things “casual,” and with that in mind, do not have a formal dining room. Between the granite bar and eat-in area of the kitchen, as many as 18 guests can sit and eat comfortably. Customizable lighting systems, capable of creating different moods and schemes have been installed in every room. But none more evident than in the kitchen wing. Infinite combinations illuminate the granite countertops, Gaggenau® ovens, Viking® cook top, Sub-Zero® refrigerator of the gourmet kitchen.
The master suite wing was designed for easy living. With a separate seating and T.V. area, gas fireplace and full morning bar, Nick and Diane could go for days without ever venturing to other areas of the house if they were so inclined!
Under a majestic, vaulted barrel ceiling, highlighted by natural light through glass blocks, the master bath features a Kohler® soaking tub and walk-in shower, and granite topped custom mahogany cabinetry.
Two all-weather lounge chairs are pointed toward the New York City skyline on the main balcony, right off of the master suite. As summer turns to autumn, and the trees begin to thin out, this location has a perfect view of the Chrysler Building.
Colorful sculptures, paintings and prints are found in every room. Nick adds, with a chuckle, “It’s obvious that I like to collect a little bit of art!”
Just for fun, a one of a kind “tree house” stands in the corner of the lushly-landscaped backyard. A Canadian artisan designed this stand alone structure, complete with heat and cable television. He delivered his creation by flatbed and stayed in the Garofolo’s guest room for three days during assembly and finish work.
The curved, undulating ceiling in the family room is a contemporary element of the Garofolos’ “transitional” design style, combining contemporary and traditional to arrive at a happy medium.
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