Long before George Oliphant became a contractor on NBC’s popular home-renovation show George to the Rescue, he and his wife, Zoe, happily resided in Brooklyn–until his father persuaded them to pull up stakes in 2010 and move to George’s grandparents’ former home in Montclair.
“We knew it might be too much house for us,” he says, “but Dad threatened to sell the 1912 home that had been in our family since 1942, so we agreed.”
“It’s really lovely that we were able to start our suburban adventure here in Montclair,” says Zoe, who hails from Vermont. “We’ve made it our own over the years by mixing old with new. The result is an antique English Tudor, reimagined in a flirty, New England way.”
George adds, “I have fond memories of spending every holiday and summer here as a kid. We especially like knowing that our four kids go to the same school that their grandfather attended.”
The couple’s most recent reno project is a pristine but cozy kitchen with hand-brushed cabinetry, Statuario marble surfaces, a red-knobbed Wolf stove, a Peruvian walnut island, and custom triple-crown molding.
“Our challenge was to update the kitchen in a traditional way so it wouldn’t feel disjointed from the rest of the house,” George says. “My general contractor, RTH Building Company, and cabinetmaker, Stephen Fanuka, really came through for us.”
The dining room, an homage to George’s grandparents, features their heirloom table and chairs, original millwork, and leaded-glass doors. A portrait of Scottish grandfather George Booth Oliphant keeps a watchful eye over holiday dinners.
“There’s been an Oliphant in this house for 80 years,” George says. “We’ve done a lot of upgrading, but we were careful to keep the good bones of this residence. I think my ancestors would approve.”
Parents and kids, ages 5-15, hang out in the inviting living room that sports a relaxed, Ralph Lauren-esque vibe, with Restoration Hardware leather sofas and an inherited coffee table. George’s Emmy awards occupy an antique bookcase, and Zoe’s cheery Romo wallpaper packs a punch in a bold cherry-blossom pattern.
George says, “Zoe doesn’t love the camera, but I get her to perform once in a while. She has a great eye and can stand toe to toe with top designers. Her style is more modern, and I’m more traditional, so we’re truly the definition of transitional design style.”
These days, Zoe’s focus is on her business as a Realtor with Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty in Montclair.
The couple’s big news is that this fall, George will launch Oliphant Construction. “Besides continuing to produce the show, it’s time to start my own business. It’s a natural progression since I’ve spent the last 20 years in a master class with the best contractors and designers. I’m licensed, insured and ready to go!” he says.
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