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Flight OF Fancy - The Berbers
08/24/2009 - By A.J. PERNA
PHOTOGRAPHY BY AL KRUPER
Flight OF Fancy
THE PERFECT LOCATION...
DISCOVERED FROM ABOVE
Norman and Gail Berger were not going to be the typical empty-nesters. In 1998, after their two children had grown and moved on and out of their family home in Old Bridge, Norman and Gail decided it was time for them to move on as well. Unlike many couples in a similar position, they had no desire to scale down the Bergers wanted a bigger house with plenty of room for the children to come for extended visits. They also needed enough space to pursue their individual hobbies. Gail wanted her own room for her crafts, and a full basement was required for Normans extensive, hand-made working model airplane collection and more than 800 square-feet of Lionel train sets.
After months of searching for the perfect place, the Bergers had all but given up until Normans friend suggested that they visit Marlboro; he just happened to be a pilot who had been flying over the town and, from up above, noticed many large homes being constructed on private wooded lots. Norman jumped in his car and quickly found their new location on a premier cul-de-sac in the Morganville section of town. The Bergers chose a 4,500-square-foot home under construction on nearly two acres of property, with wooded areas on three sides and a stream running through the backyard. The normal prerequisites for most potential home buyers were not factors; although Marlboro was a highly desirable community, the Bergers were not overly concerned with the quality of the school system, the easy commute, or the proximity to little league fields. It was all about the house and the property.
Norman and Gail had the opportunity to customize the original plans and design their new home around their lifestyle. They opted for an open floor plan and added a sunroom to the back of the house. A hot tub on the multi-tiered deck overlooking the private backyard was their idea as well. Gail feels that they ended up with a home that is perfect for entertaining, and just last November they comfortably hosted Thanksgiving dinner for 45 guests. Now, both retired, the Bergers enjoy their home more than ever, and their respective hobbies keep them busier than they have ever been.
A stamped concrete walkway winds past lush, naturally formed landscaping, leading to the two story brick front home that has a distinctive, Ivy League, collegiate feel.
French doors open from the breakfast area into the skylighted sunroom, where large picture windows, trimmed with custom-painted designs, allow a wonderful view of the tranquil setting of the wooded backyard property.
Gleaming hardwood floors stretch through the great room and nicely complement the custom brick fireplace that can switch back and forth from gas to wood-burning. Cherry was the wood of choice for the furniture, as seen by the adjustable entertainment center and apothecary-style buffet.
The centerpiece of the Bergers gourmet, kosher-ready kitchen is the granite-topped island with a built-in vegetable sink. Not to be overlooked are the Brookhaven cherry wood cabinets, double wall ovens, and gas cooktop with an indoor grill.
Gails hobby room was originally intended as maids quarters by the builder. Now it is a space for all of her creative ventures, which include sewing, painting, and building doll houses.
The expansive basement is Normans man cave. This is where he spends a majority of his free time, setting up and running his Lionel trains and building intricate, working model airplanes that he flies in the air fields of Allaire State Park.
The large dining room features an impressive oak table. For dinner parties, Gail mismatches and sets each seat with a different place setting of china that she has collected over the years from her world travels. It is her feeling that, when traveling, you dont need to bring home another T-shirt. Instead, she has collected full place settings from places such as Japan, Germany, France, and Ireland.
Although, they have never lived in their parents new home, each of Normans and Gails children has their own room. Norman likes to point out that they may be out of the house, but their mother still takes care of them.
The open master bath features a Kohler walk-in shower and tiled Kohler jetted tub, nestled between his and hers vanity sinks.
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