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Deep in the Woods - The Sneyers
08/25/2009 - By A.J. Perna
Photography by Al Kruper
The Sneyers Perfect Home is Away From it All...
Clifford and Leslie Sneyers don’t actually live on the street listed as their Holmdel mailing address; it just happens to be the only way they can arrive at their home. Approaching what seems to be a dead end, visitors must pass through a wide opening in a white picket fence and drive down a long, winding path that leads to the Sneyers’ home, which is tucked away at the base of a heavily wooded hillside in a truly park-like setting.
In 1994, the Sneyers made the decision to move south of their home in Riverdale, New Jersey. Cliff remembers years of driving over the Raritan Bridge in the summer and smelling the salt air. It was a wonderful feeling that he wanted his family to experience every day. Their two daughters were nearing high school age, so Cliff and Leslie chose Holmdel to begin their search for a new family home, specifically because of the town’s highly regarded school system. As they explored their possibilities, however, Leslie was becoming increasingly frustrated by their choices. The Sneyers are not the type of family that would live in a “cookie cutter” house. It wasn’t until they discovered a “for sale” sign at the end of a side street, overgrown and covered with leaves and weeds, that they had found a secluded 18-acre parcel of land. They immediately envisioned it as the perfect spot to build their new home.
Cliff and Leslie don’t take on small projects; it took more than a year of planning, designing, excavating, and building before they could finally move into their custom 4,000-square-foot, five-bedroom home. Preparing the lot was itself a massive undertaking. They wanted to take full advantage of the property and had to allow the multilevel landscape dictate the footprint of the house. As Leslie describes it, they “literally had to move a mountain” to place the house where they wanted.
The final result provided the Sneyers with a unique living experience. While most homeowners are content with a swimming pool in the backyard of a well-manicured acre of land, the Sneyers spend each day amidst tranquil, natural surroundings that rival many county parks. Large wooded areas on all sides of the property provide complete privacy; they can enjoy long peaceful walks around the grounds or just relax on a bench in the gardens – all unhindered by streetlights or traffic noise. And on a clear summer evening, if the wind is blowing just right, they can sit on their wraparound porch and listen to a free concert, courtesy of the nearby PNC Arts Center.
The Sneyers don’t like “flat land,” so they built numerous rock walls, planted hundreds of pine and birch trees, and placed thousands of shrubs around the property to enhance the natural rolling hills surrounding their home.
The handcrafted Corian® kitchen, complete with Thermador® and Viking® commercial appliances, is the heart of the home. Custom light maple cabinets add to the overall traditional country feel of the great room area, flowing naturally into the breakfast area and family room.
Growing up, Cliff and Leslie’s daughters would invite friends over during the summer to pitch tents around the gazebo and camp out in the family’s own private wilderness retreat. Then, during the winter months, they’d have everyone return for sledding.
Sets of French doors lead to a wraparound mahogany porch and an upstairs balcony, perfect for experiencing the pristine splendor of the surroundings.
The children’s rooms each have a window seat, and every bedroom was designed with its own bathroom and walk-in closet. Very convenient for a family with two daughters!!
Leslie claims that whenever Cliff would get bored, he would go out back and build a new slate walkway or patio. The fieldstone walkway winds toward the back of the grounds, leading to the koi pond, complete with waterfall and small walking bridge.
Skylights enhance the stylish warmth of the home, and each window was positioned with full views of the property in mind. Even the windows surrounding the Kohler® tub in the master bath have a stunning view.
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