From the October/November 2019 Issue  

Designer Vanessa DeLeon Goes Bold to Complement Her Motif

Writer Marirose Krall  |  Photographer Dan Muro  |  Designer Vanessa Deleon  |  Location Edgewater, NJ

Floor-to-ceiling windows and a bold teal wall define the living room. Low-profile furniture in neutral tones is stylish and practical while maintaining the drama of the walls. The teal “love wall” as DeLeon calls it, “is a collection of all my memories that have a lot of meaning in my life.”

In Edgewater, New Jersey, open spaces and bold accents complement a linear motif

Interior designer Vanessa DeLeon is the president and owner of Vanessa DeLeon Associates, an interior design firm with offices in Edgewater, New Jersey and New York City. A while back, DeLeon gave us a tour of her Edgewater home, an airy, contemporary residence infused with sleek lines accentuated by hits of color and texture. Though she and her husband, chef Bobby Bournias, have since moved from the property, the modern design of the home offers a classic aesthetic that stands the test of time.

DeLeon wanted to create “an easy transitioning home.” The kitchen’s central location between the dining room and the back patio allows guests (and the chef) to move freely from one space to another.

The strong linear quality of DeLeon’s design is apparent throughout the home. From the kitchen’s sleek, flat cabinetry to the end tables in the master bedroom, no item is too large, no detail too small to benefit from a linear look.

The dark tones of the floor tile and the cabinetry are offset by the lighter countertop. Stainless steel appliances contribute to the contemporary feel.

In the kitchen, the range vent drops from the ceiling at the center of the room, becoming a focal point in all its perpendicular glory. Vertical handles on the refrigerator are juxtaposed with the horizontal shelves in the wine coolers that flank it.

In the dining room, a shade is the sole window treatment, its lines reflecting those in the table, carpet and tray ceiling. Two diagonal stair rails bordering the room add new angles to the space.

The furnishings in the dining room are quietly substantial. They have ample presence to fill the sizable space, but their sleek profiles and neutral tones allow them to complement rather than overwhelm it.

The linear theme continues out to the backyard, where a terraced wall surrounds a rectangular table and squared-off chairs. The geometric effect is tempered by the presence of various types of shrubbery planted within the stone walls.

DeLeon moderates the angular décor inside as well with a smattering of rounded accents. Globe-shaped pendant light fixtures hang from the dining room ceiling. Counter stools in the kitchen are composed of gently arced seats and circular bases. And in a guest bathroom, a spherical vessel sink breaks up the linear design.

The horizontal lines of the table and chairs are repeated in the terraced stone wall surrounding the patio. A Philippe Starck Ghost Chair (clear, at left) adds ethereal curves to the space. Plants in the garden include azaleas, ferns, rhododendrons and euonymus.

DeLeon, an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers, felt that this home was particularly suited to get-togethers with friends and family. “The space is very open,” she notes, “making it great for entertaining.”

Indeed, the large open spaces on the home’s main level merge smoothly. For example, the dining room meets the kitchen, which leads outdoors to the backyard patio. These are the areas where guests tend to congregate, DeLeon says. Clear glass banisters on the stairwells visually expand the entertaining space further by allowing sight lines to flow uninterrupted between the living room and the dining room. The see-through banisters also enable everyone sitting at the dining room table to engage with guests in the adjacent rooms and to enjoy the views from the windows.

Deleon took an unused bedroom and transformed it into her closet. This is one of the more feminine spaces in the home, a fact that’s underscored by the painting by Jenna Caldwell at the entrance. The room features a crystal chandelier, makeup table and a precisely ordered shelving system. The ceiling is covered in patterned wallpaper to contrast with the cubist-inspired area rug.

A full wall of glass in the living room brings natural light into the space and adds drama. Sheer curtains help to control glare while maintaining a light, airy feeling. Another glass wall—this one consisting of windows and doors—blurs the border between the kitchen and the backyard patio.

The master bedroom offers comfort and luxury as far as the eye can see. Low-slung furniture makes the large room appear even more spacious. Glass panels rather than walls at the entrance to the bathroom further open up the space. The unadorned stone wall behind the bed makes a statement all on its own.

The same is true in the home’s private sanctuaries. Low-profile furniture in the master bedroom helps reinforce the feeling of wide-open space. A freestanding fireplace surrounded by glass occupies the center of the room without inhibiting the expansive feeling. The glass surrounding the fireplace is repeated in the glass walls between the sleeping area and the bathroom. The transparent walls offer a distinction between the rooms without closing off either space.

The clear glass sink and vanity top allow earth tones to prevail in a bathroom. The rough-hewn stone tiles envelop the room with texture.


These spaces make a strong statement about DeLeon’s passion for sleek, modern design and her equal delight in comfort, luxury and hospitality. They reflect her unique style, combining sophistication, warmth and a sense of fun.