Inside the Maplewood Home of a Designer Who Despises Clutter

Alexa Ralff uses pattern and color—not tchotchkes—to enliven her 100-year-old residence.

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Designer Alexa Ralff's Maplewood neutral sunroom is adorned with colorful accessories

Designer Alexa Ralff added hits of color to her neutral sunroom with vibrant throw pillows and artwork. Photo: Christine Gatti


“I love a good project,” says Alexa Ralff, owner of AHR Designs in Millburn. That’s why the designer was thrilled with the idea of purchasing a 100-year-old residence and renovating it to meet her family’s needs. “It’s a typical center-hall Colonial in Maplewood,” Ralff says of the home she shares with her husband, Steve, and two children, Wyatt and Avery. “I love quirks and a traditional home; honoring the 1920s history of this house was my pleasure.”

Ralff’s aesthetic combines a variety of styles. “I am a classicist, a bit boho and a tad traditional—but in the most casual way; I love all things pretty.” She also loves all things orderly. “I can lean into more is more with decor in terms of my love of color and pattern,” she explains. “But I was raised by a professional organizer mom, so I like a lot of pattern but not a lot of ‘stuff.’ I like a clean counter, I don’t like a lot of tchotchkes; the eye needs a place to land.”

In this case the eye very often lands on the walls. The home is furnished in a palette of blues, greens, peaches and pops of pink. “That’s driven by all of our favorite colors,” the designer says. And much of that color comes from the wall coverings, which are one of Ralff’s favorite ways to elevate a room’s decor. “I’d wallpaper everything if I could,” she says. “I love things layered. Wallpaper acts as one of those layers.”

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