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Full Circle - The Gamzas
10/31/2010 - By A.J. Perna
Photography by AK Photo / Al Kruper
Marlboro Natives Make Their Way Back Home
Not all that long ago, Jon and Debra Gamza were high school sweethearts roaming the halls of Marlboro High. As it is with just about everyone though, life moves on after graduation – and Jon and Deb's lives were no exception. The years brought college, marriage, a move to the big city, a son and a daughter. In fact, other than visiting family, their old stomping grounds in northern Monmouth County were not much more than pleasant memories. But, of course, having a family changes things. After a stint in West Orange, the Gamzas eventually started longing for home – and the search was on.
In 1999, John and Deb found a brand new neighborhood, under construction, in the Morganville section of their old hometown. Getting in on the ground floor, they were able to choose a nice piece of property and, taking their needs, tastes and lifestyle into account, completely customize the plans of their favorite model of the homes available in the new development. They were thrilled with the plans for their stately 4,300 square-foot, five bedroom, three full and two half bath center-hall colonial that would sit back on more than an acre of land. Best of all, they would be able to raise their children near family, just a stone's throw from where they had grown up.
Before ever moving in to their new home in 2000, Deb began working with a professional interior designer to establish the overall look and feel of the home – but, after completing the designs for only two rooms, the designer became unexpectedly unavailable. During the process, Deb began to realize that she had a knack for designing; and instead of hiring a new consultant, decided to tackle the remainder of the home herself, enlisting the help of a different friend or family member for each room. Interestingly, as a result of this plan, every room in the Gamza home has an individual and distinct “feel.” However, with Deb and her taste for traditional design at the helm, the entire interior design scheme still remains cohesive.
All in all, the work that has gone into making the Gamza home what it is has been a community effort and a family affair – and that seems fitting for a new home in the old community, among friends and family.
A curved driveway splits the immaculately manicured front landscaping and leads friends and family past the light brick facade to the large, double doors with iron, scroll-work window insets.
Large trees and hedges create a fence around the entire pool area, separating it from the neighbors as well as the rest of the extensively landscaped, multi-level backyard.
In the sunken family room, an enormous mirror hangs above the wood-burning fireplace with stone surround and is flanked by two towering picture windows. Deep, rich, mahogany floors, oversized seating and a massive custom-built entertainment center complete Deb's desired California traditional feel for this room.
Originally intended as a formal living room, the Gamza's opted instead to bring in a pool table. There's no reason that the fun has to end in the backyard!
Granite counters top the center island and distressed maple cabinets in the spacious, open kitchen. The double wall ovens, gas stove, dishwasher and refrigerator are all stainless steel Jenn-Air® appliances.
Jon's home office is distinctly masculine, with a sturdy oak desk, built-in shelves, navy blue carpet and fox-hunt inspired wall paper.
The large, white breakfront and hutch sits in dramatic contrast to the dining room table and its thick, richly upholstered chairs.
The master suite has been completely remodeled in the past few years to give it a more modern feel. Earth tones and a deep tray ceiling with decorative moldings in the sleeping area keep things warm, while black and beige, toile wallpaper and a hip, black chandelier liven up the master bath. The amber hues of the tumbled, marble tiles of the walk-in shower and deep soaking tub are also echoed in the wallpaper.
Upon arriving home after sleep-away camp this past summer, Jon and Deb's daughter discovered an updated bedroom waiting for her. A cool middle-school girl's dream in hot pink and black.
In the basement, what was once an arts and crafts area is now a fashion design studio, thanks to the Gamza's daughter's love of the television show, “Project Runway.”
The chandelier hanging over the vanity in the kid's shared bathroom was recently purchased in an open-air market in Istanbul while the family vacationed in Turkey.
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