Mountain Lakes Residence

Interior Architecture & Design: KNOF Design
Location: Mountain Lakes, NJ
Photography: Sean Litchfield

KNOF Design has created an elegant, colorful and layered interiors scheme for a private family home that merges a recently married couple’s tastes, in the form of classic French interiors and the geometry of the Art Deco period. The new scheme is for a six-bed, 6,500-square-foot property in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, which is part of a 4,000-strong lakeside community located within the Manhattan commuter belt.


The project had an emotional aspect for Susan Knof, Founder and Creative Director of KNOF Design, as one half of the client couple is a long-time friend. “It was inspiring and special to know how significant the new home was for my friend, representing, as it does, the creation of a solid base for her new life chapter,” Knof commented. The scheme wasn’t just an interior for the couple, however, but also for their collective six children from their first marriages, as well their newborn baby son. “Several of the older children are full-grown and were only likely to be visiting at weekends or during holidays,” Knof added. “Nevertheless, key spaces, such as the dining and family rooms, had to be furnished for the possibility of all nine family members being present at the same time.”

The interior’s brief was fairly minimal, with the couple entrusting Knof with the creation of a scheme that would work with the property’s scale and dimensions, the family’s logistical requirements and their personal tastes, including her preference for French furniture and his for the lines and geometry of Art Deco.

Sitting Room

Mountain LakesThe house is arranged so that it opens up immediately on entry into two formal rooms, with the formal living room to the right and the formal dining room to the left, both are clearly visible one from the other. The spaces were designed with a similar, linking palette of color and materials, including strong blue tones, textured finishes and layering, as well as furniture with a distinctly luxurious feel. Subtle added glamour comes from dynamic, large-scale floral wallcoverings, metallic finishes in gold and brass and standout chandelier lighting.

A striking circular coffee table with a polished-brass frame and black marble top is the Camilla by OKL, whilst a narrow, Margo Scalloped Console against the back wall is in hand-forged steel with a gold leaf coating and mirrored glass top—manufactured to bespoke dimensions to fit the wall recess perfectly. A white globe Flos light sits on top. The third table in the room is a striking lily pad “Justina” incidental table, with a gold finish and an artfully bent base.

Two Theo drum stools by Kelly Wearstler sit alongside the console table and are made up of a burnished brass base and custom bouclé fabric with subtle blue flecking, whilst a two-part nest of tables alongside the sofa is in contrasting shades of faux shagreen in white and charcoal on an antique brass frame. Behind, a Visual Comfort Studio Aspen floor lamp has a natural paper shade and a gold-leafed organic tree-shaped base, continuing the natural references, interesting shapes and metallic finish themes in the room.

“For the walls, I was given access to artwork that already belonged to the clients,” Knof explained. “Luckily, the portrait of the reclining lady above the console couldn’t have been a better choice. Her green and blue outfit fits perfectly with the scheme and the antique frame adds contrast to the room’s contemporary furnishings.”

A grand piano already belonging to the couple is positioned to the rear left side of the room, whilst the final striking piece of furniture is a stunning hand-painted screen in silvered leaves. This floor-standing screen, from Argento, features four panels and is decorated sans traverse with Japanese flying cranes, inspired by a Japanese original. The decoration includes crushed eggshell inlays and was hand-tooled with gold leaf.

Dining Room

The formal dining room has, at its center, a Torano marble rectangular dining table with a white marble top and burnished brass base from Restoration Hardware. The eight accompanying dining chairs are Wexler Square chairs in indigo velvet with matching burnished brass bases, with two additional Wexler Barrelback chairs at the table ends. The blue not only works with the vintage rug in the room, but also references the blue velvet sofa in the formal living room. Blue is picked up again in the new carpet up the stair to the first floor, which has a steel grey-blue pattern with leather edging, sourced from Stark Carpets.

The eye is also drawn to the back of the formal dining room and its standout piece of furniture: a backlit, gold-leafed Preview-A gilt display cabinet, with an LED-lit, ivory painted interior and four framed and glass-inset adjustable shelves, plus a striking scalloped gold pattern to the front of the glass doors, used to display the couple’s wedding crystal.

Mountain LakesLighting in the room is glamorous and dramatic and includes an overhead Soscik chandelier, made up of swoops of interlacing metal chain over a nickel-plated frame. Stream wall lights by Christian Lava for Terzani to either side were handmade in Florence and Sicily and feature a metal chain that appears to float down from an undulating nickel-plated frame in cascading tiers.

To ensure the room could encompass both the gold leaf and brass finishes of the furniture and the silver metal of the chandelier, Knof’s final choice was an original, Art Deco, verre églomisé silvered and gilt wall mirror with a bevelled edge plate that uses and unifies both colours of metal. Below it is a washed dark blue console with gold accents (the Curiosity Crendenza by HFH), whilst white lacquer tray tables with antique natural brass accents alongside, by Jonathan Adler, add a more contemporary note.

Family Room

The third major living space is a more informal and intimate family room, which looks out onto the back lawns and where a quieter and more neutral scheme can be seen. The plan here had to be very functional to encompass all the family at leisure time and is centred around an enormous sofa: the Poliform Bristol Sofa designed by Jean-Marie Massaud and upholstered in Paris Avorio with integrated table in Cenere oak.

Mountain LakesThere are lots of tonal grays in this room, including light linen curtains; Phillip Jeffries Canvas Linen wall coverings in Silver Mink and matching painted recessed panels in the ceiling. Furniture includes a Chandelier Longue Chair by Cierre Imbottiti, purchased through DDC in New York, which is a feature piece, handmade with capitonné upholstery cushions on a supporting metal frame and designed Stefano Conficconi.

Behind the bar is a full-height photo wall, featuring professional black and white family photos, with all 32 frames custom-made for the scheme in distressed cream washed timber with a heather gray Belgian linen matte or surround. Fun accessories include the letter M (for the family surname), lit up in lights over one fireside cupboard area, which is used for keeping toys out of sight in the evening, and a movie-style standing light, which is a subtle nod to a family of film fanatics.


Mountain LakesThe master bedroom has a distinct Deco feel, with mirrored-accent furniture including an Amelie Mirrored Console in hardwood with mirrored veneers, as well as mirrored bedside tables from Z Galleries. These feature hand-applied silver leaf and silver beaded trim whilst the drawers are accented with brushed silver hardware. Two glass bedside Abacus lights are from Mercury and feature a fluted glass body and a lustre-finish iron base with an antique bronze finish and white linen shades.

The room features light linen curtains and Brian Yates Back to Nature natural linen wallpaper. A coffee table is the RH Emelia Round side table, mirrored with an antique-cream finish and silvery accents, extending the glamorous feel of the room. The diamond-patterned rug in the room, over the polished timber flooring, was custom-made by Stark Carpets, whilst the linen-upholstered Bed Blanka has an antique white-washed finish and a grey velvet RH Lous Bench ottoman at its foot. The bedroom overhead light is a vintage, distressed and whitewashed six-light Salento metal chandelier from Horchow and a floor lamp, also from Horchow is the Arwen Crystal floor lamp.

The young daughter’s room features a highly textured purple and pink colourway, which includes a large-print, zebra-patterned rug from Stark Carpets in Custom Wild with a spot pattern in light lavender and bright purple. The animal print theme finds further expression in the wall treatment; Cole & Son’s “Folie” wallpaper: a playful take on a French toile with a tropical feel and illustrations of flamingos and palm trees.

The furniture in the room all has a vintage, French feel and includes a French Empire Play Table and Madeleine Play Chair from Restoration Hardware, plus a Blythe Desk by Pottery Barn Kids in a vintage “simply white” finish, with a mini vintage French desk chair in pink linen. The Colette bed features a kiln-dried hardwood frame from Restoration Hardware, with a headboard in antique ivory Belgian linen and generous bedding in soft lilac cotton, dressed with a custom-made satin bolster cushion and co-ordinating decorative piped purple velvet cushions. A zingy table lamp has a pink zigzag chevron ceramic base with a linen shade and sits on a whitewashed timber bedside table.

*Project via v2com.