In the Gothic-style former Parish House of Saint Bernard’s Church on Claremont Road in Bernardsville, 12 nationally- and regionally-known designers were invited by ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME, to create the interiors of a 100-year-old historic building. The property—which contains 20 residences—includes the original historic structure designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh in 1912.
Steve Mandel, ASPIRE’S founder and CEO points out that Heritage at Claremont is the caliber of showhouse that is usually reserved for a major city, but the architectural importance of the original building made it a perfect choice for a designer showhouse.
In our recently released ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME Showhouse Issue, we sat down with Samantha Gore, Jennifer Levy, and Courtney McLeod—who joined forces as “Atelier 20″—to learn more about their creative process in designing Residence 202 for this project.
Inside the Showhouse with Atelier 20
ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME: How much time did you have to complete this room, start to finish?
Atelier 20: Two months on site, and planning prior during construction
ASPIRE: What was your biggest challenge? Did you have a “Eureka!” moment during the process?
Atelier 20: The interior room was the biggest challenge with no windows and very vertical proportions. We added a picture moulding to lower the sightline and then painted the ceiling and walls contrasting, bold colors. We opted to go for rich, deep hues to create an intimate, inviting reading den.
ASPIRE: What did you and your team accomplish that you thought would not happen in time?
Atelier 20: We were unsure how we would accomplish a layered, livable quality in such a large space. In addition to adding thoughtful accents we had the pleasure collaborating with local gallery J. Cacciola for artwork throughout our space.
Seeking Inspiration and Finding Cohesiveness
ASPIRE: What was your inspiration for this room?
Atelier 20: Our vision was inspired by the mission of the Heritage at Claremont development, which references the history and materials of the original Parish House structure. We chose to bring elements of the outside environment in our palette and material choices.
ASPIRE: Did you step out of your comfort zone for this project, and if so, why?
Atelier 20: A collaboration between three designers is an unusual arrangement for a showhouse, and we were curious how our differences in style would play out. Happily, we found the experience of working as a team to be energizing and a great opportunity to combine our different approaches.
ASPIRE: Despite the fact that there were so many designers involved, there is an inherent cohesiveness to the home. Did you all converse/collaborate? Or was this a completely individual process?
Atelier 20: We collaborated in creating a natural flow between the spaces and part of our shared vision was to create a space that felt like a home, not a series of disconnected moments.
ASPIRE: Is your preference for a showhouse a small space or a large space? Does one or the other provide a better opportunity to stretch your creativity?
Atelier 20: Any challenges created by the scale of a space are always an opportunity to get creative!
ASPIRE: Describe the town of Bernardsville in one sentence.
Atelier 20: Bernardsville is an historic, vibrant enclave with a great walkable main street and small-town charm with a cosmopolitan air.
“This or That?” with the Designers
ASPIRE: Paint or wallpaper?
Atelier 20: Wallpaper.
ASPIRE: Hardwood or rug?
Atelier 20: Rug.
ASPIRE: Beach or Mountains?
Atelier 20: Both!
ASPIRE: Saturated color or black and white?
Atelier 20: Saturated color.
ASPIRE: Brunch or Dinner?
Atelier 20: Dinner.
ASPIRE: Mid-century or 18th Century?
Atelier 20: Mid-century – or a mix of both.
ASPIRE: Draperies, shades, or nothing?
Atelier 20: Draperies.
ASPIRE: 2001: A Space Odyssey or The English Patient?
Atelier 20: The English Patient.
ASPIRE: Week at the spa or week of Broadway shows?
Atelier 20: First the shows, then the spa.
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Photography by Lisa Russman.
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