Designer Karen B. Wolf set out to make this Montclair, NJ home, built-in 1891, suitable for a busy family of five that includes three boys under 10. Her passion for designing spaces with “modern elegance” is evident throughout the open floor plan, from the color palette to her use of natural materials. “We wanted to bring a relaxed, warm, modern vibe with a touch of boho to space,” she says.
To achieve the homeowner’s desired look and feel, she mixed warm neutrals and soothing blue hues to accent the vintage home’s beautiful architecture.
Craft a breakfast nook that doubles as a home office.
This multipurpose eating area, which functions as a workspace while the owners (both lawyers) work from home, has a relaxed, rustic vibe. Large-scale shiplap creates a spot distinct from the sleek, modern kitchen. “Plus, it opens up space and adds farmhouse charm,” says Karen.
Create a “mudroom” in a kitchen corner.
This historic house didn’t have a natural area for stowing shoes, jackets, and sports equipment, so Karen added a large storage cabinet in the corner of the open kitchen-dining space. “I designed every nook and cranny to be functional,” she says. A wooden bench, along with floating wood shelves to display books and decorative objects, adheres to the layout’s farmhouse flair.
Use a rustic ladder as a towel rod.
The bathroom’s graphic floor tile in soft blue adds freshness to the design and complements the subway tile walls, which feature a hand-glazed texture with a subtle sheen. A decorative wood ladder for towels plays up the bohemian vibe. “The wall was a negative space and needed a focal element and height to bring your eye to the vanity area,” Karen says.
Embellish drawer knobs with tassels.
Rather than a traditional headboard and nightstand, Karen relied on hand-carved designs to give the space a globally inspired feel. She finished the look with simple cotton tassels.
Hang a nontraditional chandelier.
In the dining room, Karen chose a large candelabra-style light fixture to boost visual interest with rustic charm. Coral floral wallpaper, along with blue trim and wainscoting, pulls the room together. Benjamin Moore’s Smoke, a trendy blue-gray paint color, adds unexpected calm to the high-traffic space.