Inside the Homes of 4 Interior Designers

Ginny Padula

Personal Style Kitchen

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Ginny Padula, designer for and owner of Town & Country Kitchen and Bath, applied her skills and expertise toward a project slightly closer to home – her own!

It all began five years ago, when Padula and her builder husband, Lou, undertook an entire house renovation project; they gutted their small ranch, which took over nine months, and added a second and third floor.

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My husband and I both cook and entertain often, so we wanted the kitchen to be functional first and foremost,” Padula explains. “We also wanted a large open space for family and friends to enjoy. When our two boys are home, we always have their friends over, so the open floor plan really works for us.” In the end, this kitchen proved to be perfect for guests and family alike.

When it came to renovating the kitchen, it’s no surprise that Padula – with her eye for kitchen and bath fixtures and hardware – and her husband, found that they had the upper hand. “As a designer and a builder, we have access to so many manufacturers.”

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The 500-square-foot kitchen now features a Guy Chaddock kitchen table and chairs, lighting fixtures from Hudson Valley Lighting, and DeWils Fine Custom Cabinetry with Top Knobs Hardware. The counters are covered with Winter Cloud Marble and Distressed Walnut Wood. The Rohl faucets and Franke sinks complement the entire space, especially the Wolf 48-inch range top and Dacor double ovens.

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Lakshmi Sheth

Personal Style | Serene Sophistication

Recognized for her work in kitchen and bath design, business owner Lakshmi Sheth creates a welcoming environment for her own family, blending cultural roots with a careful mix of color.

“I wanted to create a home that takes me away from the stresses of everyday life,” says Lakshmi Sheth, owner of and designer for Cabri Inc. in Summit, NJ. She notes that the soft color palette used for the walls and the neutrals seen in the furniture were selected to create a calming environment.

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Throughout the home, however, those soft neutrals are highlighted by pops of brighter, more saturated hues and accessories – a practice that renders it simple and less costly to switch out the colorful aspects of a room when the designer inevitably tires of a particular color.

“Every year I have a new favorite color, so I kept that in mind when I was designing my house,” Sheth explains. “I wanted the wall color and main pieces of upholstered furniture to be neutral and serene, allowing for the bold accents of the pillows, lighting and accessories to stand out.”

Of Indian heritage, Sheth shares that her culture had a significant influence on designing many of the rooms in the nearly 4,000-square-foot home. In the dining room, for example, a quieter take on traditional textiles adds texture and a subtle glamour to the room.

“I wanted to incorporate Indian-inspired textiles but to keep in mind that anyone of any culture could live with the space,” she states. “I did this by softening the color palette with tone-on-tone grays and silvers and adding wallpaper that reflects an Indian-inspired motif without being too heavy.”

Her cultural roots are seen in the metallic tones of the curtains, lighting and accessories found throughout the living room as well. “I decorated this room in stages and used a lot of different sources to pull the room together,” Sheth recalls. “I’ll often find one piece or accessory and design the room around it. In this space, it happens to be the plum vase that’s sitting on the coffee table.”

Our daily life is centered around our kitchen,” Sheth shares. “It has become the heart of our house, where all our meals are eaten, homework is done, and, when we entertain, everyone is gathered around the island.

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That notion of providing a welcoming environment for all is evident at every turn within the home, as well as the outside, where everything was considered from space for the kids to run around in to lighting that offers the perfect ambiance when entertaining in the evening. This is a home that was designed to be lived in, not simply to be looked at. Cabinets and Design | Cabri Inc. Countertops | Artistic Marble Designs Backsplash | Short Hills Tile and Marble Stools | One Kings Lane

A kitchen designer by trade, Sheth says that both function and aesthetics were top priorities when it came time to designing the kitchen: “I tend to be more modern in my taste, but because I live in a traditional center hall colonial, I didn’t want to divert too far from the style of the house.” Sheth paired clean and simple cabinets with a touch of glamour and tradition in the lighting, molding details and backsplash. The dark, rich wood of the large center island serves as a focal point for the room.

“When we bought our house, the kitchen felt dark and closed in,” the designer recollects. “I wanted to open up the space so it would feel light and spacious.”

This was accomplished by removing the walls that separated the kitchen, library and family room. The decision opened up the entire rear portion of the house and paved the way for the kitchen that exists today. The white cabinets, light countertops, backsplash and wall color reflect the overall goals of brightness and openness.

Rachel Kapner

Personal Kitchen Style

Ten years ago, interior designer Rachel Kapner, owner of Creative Wallcoverings & Interiors, was determined to try her hand at a project close to her heart, so she plied her trade in her own kitchen.

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With 135 sq. ft. to work with, the challenge was to get as much storage space as possible within the kitchen’s small footprint.

The footprint of the kitchen is 135 square feet (although it increases to 155 square feet when counting the bar area that wraps around into the hall to the family room). So, the designer realized a plan to adapt more work space with a John Boos & Co. butcher block complete with black base and butcher block top. The custom cabinetry, from Brooks Custom Cabinetry Inc. in Union, NJ, extends to the ceiling, giving the illusion of more height and space.

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Kapner’s skill with colors, materials and patterns has turned this small space into a cozy, functional kitchen. The backdrop of the Schumacher mural by Mary McDonald lends a rosy blush to the other materials in the kitchen, such as the tumbled travertine floor. The backsplash above the counters is made of the same material, with an additional accent frame in Noce Travertine above the oven range. Natural light spills in through the natural woven window shade, which can be adjusted from the top-down and the bottom-up.

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Robert Legere and Steve Troy

Personal Style Kitchen

When Robert Legere and Steve Troy, owners of Robert Legere Design in Asbury Park, NJ, set out to design their own kitchen, years of experience creating kitchens for clients paid off. Legere, creative director for the firm, admits that the process of designing their own kitchen was, in fact, very similar to the process they go through in working with their design clients.

The wall tile is a custom design by Robert Legere with tile by Susan Jablon Mosaics | ET 2 Larmes 9-Light Pendant and in ceiling lighting trimless fixtures from WAC Lighting provide decorative and task lighting | Sleek and non fussy cabinetry by Irpinia | Countertops are Caesarstone, #4141 Misty Carrera (Perimeter), # 4040 Dusty Stones (Island) | Appliances are Miele | Floor tile by Emil America, the Bamboo pattern | Bar stools are by PALECEK
The wall tile is a custom design by Robert Legere with tile by Susan Jablon Mosaics | ET 2 Larmes 9-Light Pendant and in ceiling lighting trimless fixtures from WAC Lighting provide decorative and task lighting | Sleek and non fussy cabinetry by Irpinia | Countertops are Caesarstone, #4141 Misty Carrera (Perimeter), # 4040 Dusty Stones (Island) | Appliances are Miele | Floor tile by Emil America, the Bamboo pattern | Bar stools are by PALECEK

“We had a budget and we needed it to function well,” Legere says, adding that they had a list of demands just like any homeowner would. The difference, of course, was in their ability to satisfy those demands without having to hire a designer.

The plan was to positively maximize the total square footage available to them for the kitchen/dining area of their newly constructed, two-story condo. As with any kitchen design, there were specific needs the 360-square-foot area would need to accommodate; chief among them was the homeowners’/designers’ desire for a 72-inch round table that would seat at least eight.

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The decision to place their island on an angle would set their plans in motion. The unique placement allows for plenty of workspace and also serves as a barrier between guests and the prep area.

“The angled counter created the space we needed to have the table we wanted without closing up the space,” Legere notes. “We’ve had as many as 14 people seated for dinner at the table.”

Throughout the space, lighting plays a major role in illuminating workspaces, as well as in allowing every inch of the design to shine. “I’m a very strong believer in lighting’s ability to transform a space,” states Troy, CEO for Robert Legere Design. “The right lighting allows you to bring out the vibrancy of design elements and architecture. It sets the mood and brings a space and a design together.”

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For a very personalized effect, Legere created a custom tile pattern with tile design company Susan Jablon Mosaics, LLC. “It was kind of a fluid process,” Legere recalls of the experience. “I liked a particular mosaic tile Susan had and asked if she could create a custom blend for us by adding some beach glass and stainless steel tiles to the mix.”

For the tiles’ placement, the designer decided on a graded color scale that would create a dramatic, ombre-like effect. The tiles were set by hand into 12-by-12 sections and installed for what is literally a one-of-a-kind effect.

Living with the design, Legere and Troy say they are constantly reminded of how it has more than met their expectations.

Text by: Jennifer Quail, Ellie Sywak
Photography by: Andy Mills, Evan Sklar, Lauren Hagerstrom

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