From a 1990s-style foyer to garish bathroom hardware, everything inside this Upper Saddle River home begged for a renovation—and the project was tops on Glen Lumia’s to-do list. Though the homeowners needed a little convincing that a total redo was in order, says Lumia, president and CEO of Northvale-based Creative Design, “they’re thrilled with the outcome and couldn’t imagine their home any other way.”
“The existing foyer wasn’t only outdated, it didn’t allow for open flow or open line of sight,” he recalls. Several obstacles, namely walls, hid the view of the rear yard and the nearby river.
It wasn’t a complete tear-down-this-wall scenario, but Lumia and his team still tinkered with the home’s original layout to create the open floor plan. It was a welcome change, particularly for anyone walking through the front door: upon entry, one’s eyes take in the kitchen and the backyard oasis with just a single glance. To add to the design, extra millwork and wainscoting were installed in the foyer and along the staircase, a feature that Lumia says adds a sense of warmth and directs foot traffic to other areas of the home. A relocated first-floor powder room and reorganized kitchen also improve navigation and sight lines.
The great room was also revamped to live up to its name. Wide-plank white oak flooring—which is found throughout the home—was installed in a diagonal pattern to “create a visual interest without being overpowering,” Lumia says. Detailing along the doors and fireplace “helps bring the eye up” by connecting the floor to the ceiling, he adds, while large windows and two pairs of French glass doors serve multiple purposes.
“The windows give maximum exposure to the landscape outside, and the dual doors give symmetry and a second entrance when hosting large gatherings,” he says.
The second-floor master bedroom also includes a pair of glass doors, which open to a backyard balcony overlooking the yard, an infinity pool and the river. Balcony railings incorporate clear glass panels, giving unobstructed views of the landscape and hardscape below.
Inside, each window is dressed with Roman blackout shades, allowing the homeowners to drift off to sleep at any time of the day. Angles come into play in the master, from the floorboards to the ceiling, which is accented with variations of crown molding.
“We love to take advantage of the ceiling line and add details whenever possible to create a unique look,” Lumia says.
A reconfigured en suite bathroom gave the design team ample space to install his-and-hers walk-in closets, which were much-desired by the homeowner. Silver wood natural stone tiles were used for the bathroom floor and create a soothing “driftwood-type feel” around the soaking tub. The shower stall features the same tile along with a vertical stone/glass mosaic.
“A good trick to give the illusion of height is to install the decorative tiles on a vertical,” Lumia says. “This makes you look up toward the ceiling and doesn’t define the perimeter.”
The low placement of the front window presented one of the biggest challenges, he says. To counter its position, they added a custom design at the top of the window to “give additional height” and complete the renovation.