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A Diamond in the Rough - Habib
10/31/2010 - By Michael Berman
Photography by AK Photo / Al Kruper
The Habib estate undergoes a very personal renovation
Barry and Toni Habib met in 1991 when Toni was considering refinancing a mortgage. Barry, the founder of Certified Mortgage Associates (which he sold in 1999) was the go-to guy in the area and Toni hit it off with him right out of the batters box. (The Habibs are avid Yankee fans.)
Barry and Toni have been happily married since 1997 and have four children, three boys and one girl. Barry was already living in Colts Neck when he met Toni and they were not really looking for a new home when a real diamond in the rough, as they both described it, became available. The 12,000 square foot home, beautifully sited on five acres of gorgeous Colts Neck property, was built in 1989 and was in need of some tender loving Habib family-inspired care.
Barry and Toni enjoyed the challenge of redecorating and re-imagining their newly purchased home. The size of the house and the logistics of a large scale renovation made for a slow process, but now the family could not be more comfortable in this home. Barry gives Toni the credit for keeping it all together while living in a home undergoing some serious renovations. The work continues even today! Toni and Barry work very well together in life and in renovation, agreeing on style and color choices most of the time, they say.
At the beginning, the process started from the outside in. The grass and landscaping had been somewhat neglected when they purchased the home in 1998. But gradually, they began to make changes and renovations. And especially in recent years, withth e help of Federico Landscape Designs of Colts Neck, an overall outdoor landscape design was developed. This included additions around the pool area, flowering gardens and plantings, which all enhanced the home's exterior architecture.
The interior of the Habibs home underwent a major transformation, too. The flooring and interior doors, aswell as new kitchen countertops, cabinets, stair spindles and rails, have mostly all been replaced. The biggest change in the house was achieved through major molding enhancements and ornamentation. This created a classically-inspired style and added much visual interest to the home's original rather plain, contemporary look.
Toni and Barry are very happy with the results of their design vision and the years of work they have put into their family home. The town of Colts Neck has been a wonderful place to raise a family and allows them to be part of a community that still maintains a small town feel. They can finally state, without hesitation, that their diamond in the rough has been re-faceted and polished to a fine sparkle for friends and family to enjoy for years to come.
The Habibs first concern upon purchasing their new family home in 1998 was the yard and exterior landscaping which had been neglected and needed immediate refurbishing.Working with the talent of Federico Landscape Designs of ColtsNeck, Toni and Barry have created a virtual Shangri-La in their own backyard. A built-in pool is surrounded by a classic, tumbled marble patio and grilling space where Barry can take culinary center stage - and a bow! The plantings, when in full bloom, are exquisite and the sculptured shrubbery adds just the right amount of living structure to the exterior architecture to enhance the home's overall curb appeal.
The elegant double staircases have a GoneWithTheWind quality to them and create a dramatic entry into the living space.The dome ceiling sparkles and themarble,mosaic floor medallion create a strong sense of style from top to bottom.The Habib game room features a hand made BoccetteTable (a type of tabletop Bocce Ball game) that Barry fell in love with while on vacation in Italy. The table had to be assembled by a craftsman sent directly from Italy and is truly a work of art in and of itself.
The grand great room certainly makes a statement with soaring ceilings, magnificent ornamental box moldings and soft, cascading custom drapery.The wall colors are regal gold tones and the furnishings are comfortable and inviting.The floors were originally oak, but have been replaced with amuch richer Brazilian cherry.The exotic hardwood grounds this grand space with a rich lustrous finish. The fireplace surround and marble facade include a unique waterfall effect and decorative columns framing out the architecture. The floor to ceiling wind ows offer light and beautiful views of the manicured back yard.
The Habibs beautifully appointed dining room seats ten lavishly, but comfortably. Much of the custom trim and molding work has been artfully crafted by Daniel Lopez of Freehold and adds an enormous amount of architectural beauty throughout the Habib home.
The family kitchen features a completely new set of cabinetry from the original 1989 house.The painted cabinetry and granite countertops give any chef a tremendous amount of work space. A second kitchen, located off the first main kitchen, features a pizza oven and extra prep and storage area.
The Habibs television room features an ornamental arched entry finished in a rich mahogany finish.The circular oriental rug is a nice focal point and the furnishings are comfortable and plush.Toni and Barry tend to gravitate toward an eclectic mix of styles and finishes to create visual interest, though their taste runs traditional. Barry is an avid sports fan and the Habib home has over 20 televisions in various locations throughout the house, guaranteeing no pitch will go unwatched during the baseball playoffs!
The Habibs master bed room suite is as elegant and well thought out as the rest of this beautifully renovated home. A Mahogany wood finish invites you into the private sitting area, which provides plenty of space to curl up with a good book and relax.The bathing and dressing areas are fully equipped and softly lit by a chandelier and recessed lighting fixtures. A unique circular sitting sofa creates a nice central object for the rest of the room elements to wrap around .The bath fixtures include a large walk-in shower and spacious sunken tub.The master suite is also equipped with spacious walk-in closets, where Barry and Tonis extensive professional and casual wardrobes are well organized.
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