With most people spending a great deal more time at home during the COVID crisis, home design, functionality and creature comforts are more important than ever. One homeowner in Colts Neck, New Jersey decided to enlist the services of Interior Designer Beth Insabella, Founder and Principal of INSABELLADESIGN to create a custom home perfectly suited for relaxation, enjoyment, and entertainment. Insabella, whose impressive resume includes a degree in Interior Design from Drexel University, 12 years as Director of Interiors for a large architectural firm, numerous awards for both high-end residential and commercial projects, as well as Fortune 500 clients, began with essentially a blank canvas and a clear mission.
“I start with an important concept” explains Insabella. “I want my clients to be able to express themselves through the design and function of their homes, that way they feel at home. If you’re in a space that doesn’t mean anything to you personally, you’re far less likely to be comfortable in it. And this concept is more important than ever because people are now spending so much time at home. In this case we were able to redesign – and redefine the entire home.”
The client, a busy executive and part-time musician, previously hired Insabella, whose certifications include ASID, IIDA, and CID, to design interiors for his company’s headquarters. So when he purchased a house with traditional design and finishes which just didn’t fit his lifestyle or personality, he knew right away who to turn to. “The client wanted a fun, functional place where he could entertain friends and family, but at the same time have low maintenance with his lifestyle in mind. The living room sofa is a great example of how we met that objective” explained Insabella. “First of all, it’s enormous so it makes for a fun hangout space. It’s also upholstered with a beautiful fabric that’s rated for indoor or outdoor use so it’s durable, stain-resistant and easy to clean. To match that, the ottoman is upholstered in tufted, faux snake skin vinyl which looks great but is also low maintenance.” Across from the sofa, Insabella chose a mid-20th century modern chair to provide a vantage point to enjoy the two-story stone fireplace and the view outside for quieter moments. The living room was then painted white to contrast with the furniture and the cascading wood staircase.
“It’s a very large space with great energy. A grand piano will be added, which is elegant, fun for entertaining, and engages with the client’s musical side. The two-story architectural windows provide more energy, plenty of sunlight and a view of the property. Then we added motorized shades for privacy at night.” The kitchen dining area was the next space Insabella focused on.
“For the kitchen I wanted a classic and timeless look. To accomplish that there’s a marble Saarinen table, designed during the 50s, which has bleach-cleanable, white faux leather and classic Tulip seating. We chose a ribbon chandelier because it just works so well, and custom white lacquer accent tables to showcase family photos. And for an overall color we also went with white because it’s light, feels clean, and again it’s timeless.” Next, what was once an under-utilized pool room was transformed into a full-service bar.
“This was the most exciting area of the house to work on and the most transformational. The client told me he wanted a high impact space with a ‘hip nightclub’ atmosphere. To achieve
this we specified abalone shell motif wallpaper which is full of accents and allows light to interplay with other reflective surfaces. Undermount LED lighting adds a full spectrum of color – yellows, reds, blues, greens. The effect is quite dramatic when you want it to be, cool or mellow when you don’t.” Insabella also chose acrylic shelves that appear to be floating, then backlit them to make the client’s collection of fine spirits glow. To complete the effect, she implemented swivel chairs covered with stain-protected velvet, more motorized blackout shades, and a slideshow of favorite bands and photos on the flatscreen. To keep with the low maintenance theme, smudge- free acrylic laminate cabinetry with touch latch hardware was installed behind the bar to replicate back painted glass. The net effect truly is nightclub-like. In fact, it’s a jaw- dropper.
Installation was also arranged through Insabella’s firm, which offers project management services in addition to interior design and has relationships with trusted architects to collaborate with when the need arises. “My team and I really, really enjoyed this project. The bar in particular was incredibly fun to design and turned out to be a reference point for where things are going. As I said, more than ever people want their homes to really work for them and be truly enjoyable. A kitchen that feels and works perfectly from every angle. Really comfortable living spaces to enjoy with family and friends. ‘Don’t need to travel or go out to have fun’ spaces like a bar or outdoor living room.” Insabella paused, reflected for a moment, then concluded “There’s no doubt COVID is a game changer for our industry like many others. More than ever you have to be in touch with your client’s needs, and those needs are evolving quickly. I love that challenge, and I love what I do.” Judging by how this project turned out we can only imagine her clients completely agree.