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 Kathryn Platt to learn more about her creative process in designing the Guest Bedroom and Bath in residence 201 for this project.
aspire design and home: How much time did you have to complete this room, start to finish?
Kathryn Platt: Due to construction delays with the building, I had 3 months to complete my spaces. At the onset we were told one month, so much of the planning and arrangements were complete early on in the process.
aspire: What was your biggest challenge?
Kathryn: I was intent on creating a space that was fresh, current, restful, and contemplative, but that harkened visually towards traditional roots, because of the part of NJ where the show house took place and its traditional influences.
aspire: Did you have a Eureka moment during the process?
Kathryn: I had Two eureka moments: The Hodsol Mackenzie toile was presented to me just as I started to consider the space, as was this concept image my friend posted on Instagram:
aspire: Did you step out of your comfort zone for this project, and if so, why?
Kathryn: No, but I needed to exert some pressure and convince the owners that black was a good neutral and would be very contemporary and calming.
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?
Kathryn: We did not have a lot of collaboration on this unit, except for the Master Suite and the guest suite. The floor color, molding, and hardware finishes were agreed upon by the designers.
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?
Kathryn: I prefer a more intimate space. I think there is great opportunity to connect with the viewer in an intimate way through texture, artwork, and color.
aspire: Describe the town of Bernardsville in one sentence.
Kathryn: Three words: Cosmopolitan countryside retreat.
This or That?
aspire: Paint or wallpaper?
Kathryn: Both! I am currently working on a project where my muralist is adding ombre to a figured metallic grasscloth!
aspire: Hardwood or rug?
aspire: Beach or Mountains?
aspire: Saturated Color or Black and White?
Kathryn: Color, please
aspire: Brunch or Dinner?
Kathryn: Cocktails and dinner!
aspire: Midcentury or 18th Century?
Kathryn: Why not both!
aspire: Draperies, shades, or nothing?
Kathryn: Tough one, each room is different! Drapery unless the view is stunning
aspire: 2001: A Space Odyssey or The English Patient?
Kathryn: The English patient
aspire: Week at the spa or Week of Broadway shows?
Kathryn: Spa, please
Photography by Lisa Russman.
Click Here to view more interviews with our High Point designers.
Like what you see? Get it first with a subscription to aspire design and home magazine.