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Intimate & Inviting
11/01/2007 - By By Michael Berman & Photography by Al Kruper

Intimate & Inviting

The home of Richard and Jennifer Abrams

The Abrams show their take on modern antiquity

Richard and Jennifer Abrams had what can only be described as divergent senses of style as they began their new home project. Richards sensibility tended toward the contemporary, while Jennifer preferred the antique, lived-in warmth of a more classical approach. Ultimately, Richard took care of the television and audio, including surround-sound systems, and Jennifer agreed to the 10-foot ceilings Richard insisted upon for the first floor. The rest of the design choices were a negotiation, with Jennifer offering up two or three options. The end result a magnificent home that expresses the Abrams' love of family, intimate spaces, and classically inspired interior design. Richard and Jennifer met on a blind date in Manhattan. Jennifer grew up on Long Island and had been teaching in New York City. Richards roots were in Marlboro, and he thought a return to his old stomping grounds would be a great place to raise a family. He moved his travel business to Matawan and Jennifer left her teaching job in the city as they planned their move. The Abrams quickly found a lot with a home to be built that had the new home with old world charm they were looking for. Their 5,000-square-foot home is situated on a 13⁄4-acre lot; it took more than 1 year to build. Jennifer documented each step of the construction and created a photo album as a visual timeline of the process. Jennifers design inspirations came from many sources, such as the Ralph Lauren store in New York City, various design-oriented magazines, old movies, and various boutiques in New York and New Jersey. Initially she worked with a designer, but later began to take on challenges herself. She feels strongly that a home should be just that a home; spaces should be used and enjoyed. The Abrams' two children have the full run of the house and are not afraid to enjoy their family home. She is pleased with the results of her 61⁄2-year design adventure, but believes her home is still a work in progress. Jennifer is always looking for a new design challenge and says with a mischievous glint in her eye that there is still room for refinement and new design explorations. Picture Notes: 1. The Abrams' lavish dining room is elegant and inviting. The window seat, with antique petite chandelier and fringed drapery, gives the room a charming personality. The large, unique dining room table is made from massive cast iron urns that were custom-painted and cleverly form the base on which the large, glass top rests. The color palette is soft and classic, with blues and greens coexisting in a delicately pleasing balance. Wallpaper, a personal favorite of Jennifers, and featured tastefully throughout the Abrams' home, is used for color as well as pattern to create intimacy and warmth in this formal yet comfortable space. 2. The often-used family room adjoining the kitchen has a bit of old English style. Once again, wallpaper makes a bold yet unifying statement as a wide vertical stripe pattern complements the antique white mantel and custom oak wall unit. The large leather sofa and antique reproduction furniture pieces cohabitate quite comfortably, creating a lived-in feeling. Below: The kitchen features cherry cabinetry with a mahogany stain and granite countertops. A large center island with seating is a favorite morning hangout for family and friends. The multi-colored crystal chandeliers add just the right sparkle to the kitchen. The foyer is defined by an elegant curved staircase, under which is a comfortable banquette sofa that invites weary travelers to curl up with a good book. The use of wallpaper is once again part of the overall design plan. It was used here to define the interior spaces created by applied millwork. Jennifers goal was to give the expansive foyer a cozy ambiance. The carefully chosen furniture pieces achieve that goal with style and panache, inviting visitors to explore further. 3. The bedrooms in the Abrams' home reflect the same attention to detail and overall warmth that the rest of the house exhibits. The master bedroom is awash in color and pattern. Jennifer was surprised that Richard went for the gold and wedgwood blue toile wallpaper pattern. She has said that throughout 8 years of marriage both their tastes have changed, and the antique bedroom set that now so beautifully forms the centerpiece of their bedroom might not have been appealing to either of them just 10 years ago. The master bedroom also features a workspace/sitting room that has become quite functional. The built-in cabinets and computer station can be a restful space in which to catch up on e-mails or record-keeping. The master bath features his-and-her sinks, marble floors, and a large walk-in shower. A window above the sunken tub allows natural light in and illuminates the soft gold and blue color scheme.


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