From the April/May 2021 Issue  

Playing to Strengths

Writer Marirose Krall  |  Photographer Wing Wong  |  Designer Karla Trincanello, NJCID, Allied ASID  |  Location New Vernon, NJ

Transforming a challenging space at The Splendor in September show house

Because the sloped walls did not have wallboard, they wouldn’t hold the tented fabric. “We had to devise a way to add wood at the top and center to hold the fabric covering,” designer Karla Trincanello explains.

The space was not ideal — and that’s being kind. Designer Karla Trincanello says the attic room at Tyvan Hill in New Vernon (part of the Mansion in May Presents Splendor in September show house) was “as unappealing as possible.” In addition to steeply sloped walls, the room had a long, narrow entry flanked on one side by a pitched ceiling and on the other by a curved concrete wall. But Trincanello, owner of Florham Park-based Interior Decisions, was undaunted. “I studied the space and thought it would be a great ‘Chic Shed.’ I’ve long wanted to do a room for a woman as her own space.”

Trincanello, a state-certified interior designer and allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers, used the unique bones of the room to her advantage. “The sloped walls reminded me of a tent,” she says, “which led to the concept of draping the walls with a beautiful soft-pink, sheer fabric to create that illusion in a luxurious way.” Though the tenting made the room seem larger, the designer “was careful to scale the furnishings so the room wouldn’t appear crowded.”

Faced with a rough concrete wall, Aliya Riaz of Portfauxlio Inc. painted the top portion and then applied a shell-and-glitter-glue composition to the bottom with a trowel. “It was a lot of work,” Trincanello says, “but it was amazing, and visitors loved it.”

Custom built-ins maximize the narrow space. Striking hard­ware completes the look. “We added glitzy knobs for sparkling glamour,” designer Karla Trincanello says. “A small refriger­ator stores wine for when girlfriends visit.”

Custom built-ins line the sloped wall, creating useful space in the tight entry hall. Trincanello designed a long desk/giftwrap center flanked by two tall cabinets, one of which includes a wine refrigerator. The other features a display case for a wedding gown. “People [on the tour] loved the idea of displaying their own gowns rather than storing them away.”

The curved concrete wall was a particularly challenging aspect of the project. “It was rough and bumpy; wall covering wouldn’t adhere,” Trincanello says. “If we painted a mural on the rough texture, it wouldn’t work because we couldn’t control the line formatting.” What did work was a hybrid solution featuring paint and glaze on the top portion and a composition of shells, glitter and glue applied with a trowel to the bottom portion.

To add atmosphere during the tour, Trincanello played background music by Rod Stewart. “It gave the space a fun vibe. So many women related to this space and said they wished they had a room like this. It was a fantasy, yes, but all in fun during a dramatically sober year.”