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Writer Meg Fox  |  Photographer Meghan Balcom  |  Designer Rachel Stellar  |  Architect Anthony M. Condouris Architect Inc.  |  Builder Taylor Built LLC  |  Location Monmouth County, NJ

A family home expands its footprint in seamless style

As their family grew, a Monmouth County couple looked for ways to capture the space they needed in their existing home, built in 2012. Moving wasn’t an option they considered, mainly because they had already made significant improvements, including adding an inground pool, custom outdoor fireplace, barbecue and more. Plus it’s all on a prized lot that backs up to a wooded area with lots of privacy.

TOP | At approximately 400 square-feet, the great room has a refined, casual aesthetic with a clean-lined sectional, modern lighting and timeless touches. White walls and woodwork, paired with shades of blue, maintain the room’s light and airy feel. LEFT | An arched doorway defines the entrance to the great room addition, a motif repeated in the curved built-in niche with its striking tiled backsplash. RIGHT | Curves resurface in a brass-capped console made of bone inlay in a corner niche, while artwork captures calming coastal cues.

The answer lay in a two-story addition off the kitchen. This would increase the home’s footprint by about 1,500 square feet, allowing space for a great room, full bathroom, mudroom and laundry room. Most importantly, there would be space for a large upstairs playroom for the couple’s three young daughters.

Designer Rachel Stellar, principal of Fair Haven-based Rachel Stellar Interiors, joined the project during the opportune building phase. That allowed her to incorporate certain desired features, including an arched doorway that leads into the new great room, an element that was repeated in the design of the room’s curved built-in niche. “Donna Martin from Tiled Interiors and I worked together to design this built-in and based it off of the tile from Walker Zanger,” Stellar says.

LEFT | The built-in wet-bar — painted in “Black Pepper,” a cool dark gray with a dash of blue — has all the accoutrements needed to entertain in style with its undercounter refrigerator, prep sink, and ample countertop, storage and display space. RIGHT | An elegant marble mosaic backsplash and matte brass finishes keep things classic.

The couple first came upon Stellar’s work on her website and fell in love with it. Upon meeting with Stellar and viewing the design boards, they knew they shared the same vision. Later, they said, Stellar guided them through the process, spent a lot of time on site as the project developed and partnered with their builder, J.D. Taylor of Taylor Built, to ensure all design elements were captured in the construction process.

Having the addition “flow naturally from the current home,” was a top priority, Stellar notes. At the same time, the owners “wanted to update the style to be a little more beachy/modern than the rest of the house, which is slightly more traditional.”

At approximately 400 square feet, the new great room takes on a refined casual aesthetic with such features as a plush sectional for movie/family nights, a stylish built-in wet bar and a gas fireplace framed in tile and white oak. “We were initially going to stain the floors to match the rest of the home — a darker Jacobean shade — but once the homeowners saw the light, raw wood go down, they really wanted to keep it that more white oak shade,” Stellar says. Ultimately, it all worked, she says, because a long hallway laid with chevron gray tile bridges the addition with the existing space.

A full bathroom, located off the mudroom (not pictured) and within easy access to the outdoor pool, has a roomy shower where everyone can rinse off after a swim. White shiplap walls help provide the light and bright feel the homeowners wanted along with a white quartz countertop and reclaimed oak vanity. The floor’s concrete-like tiles have a little white flower pattern, Stellar says, a motif she carried out on the frame of the mirror and on the shower floor, which has a small petal pattern.

LEFT | In the full bathroom, the homeowners “really wanted something white and bright and asked for shiplap,” Stellar recalls. The gray concrete-like tile floors have a white flower pattern, a motif she carried through on the mirror frame and on the shower floor. The vanity is reclaimed oak. RIGHT | The petal-pattern floor tile reappears in the shower niche; its brass edging ties in with the shower fixtures. Wheel-shaped faucet handles echo the showerhead’s circular shape.

Matte brass fixtures and countertops made of white oak tie in with the adjacent laundry room, well-appointed with floor-to-ceiling cabinetry for storing brooms, cleaning products and the like. A fluid wallpaper patten reminiscent of rolling hills or waves covers the walls in seafoam green, a tone that blends with the subway tile’s watercolor finish in the niche behind the sink.

Tall storage cabinets keep cleaning supplies out of sight in the hardworking and equally stylish laundry room equipped with a brass hanging rack, a white oak countertop for sorting clothes and timeless marble hexagon flooring. Elongated subway tile along the sink niche has a complementary watercolor finish.

Above the great room on the second floor is a sizable playroom where the daughters can hang out together or with friends. Says Stellar: “They ended up having a lot of extra storage up there in the rafters, most of which we closed off with doors so they can hide toys.” The exception is one open nook, which became a kids hideaway space, outfitted with a tent and enveloped in wallpaper that captures the feel of a starry night.

TOP | Above the great room is a spacious playroom where the kids can kick back or corral with their friends. Space between the rafters is used to store toys behind closed doors. A long table and chairs facilitate arts and crafts and maybe even homework. LEFT | Timeout in this little hideaway — carved from space in the rafters — would actually be fun! RIGHT | Wallpaper has the feel of a starry, starry night.

Most pleased with the addition, completed in August 2022, the couple say they finally have the space they need in a design scheme that is both elegant and timeless. It’s not easy to do a large addition and not have it look like an afterthought, they say, adding they were fortunate in their choice of architect, builder and designer and in Stellar’s ability to ensure their investment was well spent.

Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for coverage of the home’s mudroom addition in an upcoming issue of Design NJ.