When cwi.design of New Providence (908-379-9781) was invited to participate in the 2017 Mansion in May Designer Showhouse and Garden, nobody was surprised. After winning the “people’s choice” Tulip Award twice in the past, for a stunning bedroom in 2014 and for a posh baby nursery in 2006, it’s no wonder that the interior design firm was assigned one of the largest and most dramatic spaces in the manse.
The venue for this spring’s showhouse is Alnwick Hall, a 20,000-square-foot Morris County landmark. Known by locals as the Abbey, Alnwick Hall is a circa-1903 brick mansion modeled after centuries-old homes such as Alnwick Castle in England. It resides on the stately stretch of Madison Avenue between Morristown and Madison that, during the Gilded Age, was lined with similarly opulent estates.
The cwi.design team has reimagined the stately, first-floor reception room as a gorgeous gathering room. Although the Mansion in May committee insisted that all participating designers retain the original architectural elements, decorators were free to paint, wallpaper and add window treatments and furnishings. For the gathering room, this meant that cwi.design’s decorating divas Rachel Kapner, Lois Darling, Mary La Vecchia and Ann Campbell had to embrace the built-in bookcases, stained-glass windows, massive fireplace and detailed ceiling moldings, which they did, happily.
Rachel Kapner, cwi.design co-owner, says, “One of the inspirations of the room was the carved, detailed ceiling that already existed. We wanted to bring that to life with a deep, contrasting color to make it pop. The room was used as a library at one point, so the combination of cobalt and gold was born through a fabric that was reminiscent of the interior end papers used back in the day. I decided to knit-back it and apply it to the walls rather than use a paper wallcovering to give the walls a softer finish.
The home’s architecture is inspired by a bygone golden era, so lending an art-deco flare to the glamorous, elegant details of the furniture seemed quite appropriate.”
Here are a few teaser images to whet your design appetite…a stunning rendering of the gathering room by artist Boris Reyt, as well as several photos of furnishings. Come see this grand space for yourself. View a full list of participating Mansion in May designers and landscapers.
The mansion is open for tours May 1 through May 31 from 10 am to 3 pm. Tickets are available at mansioninmay.org for $40 before May 1 and $50 at the door. The website also provides parking instructions and shuttle bus information. Gift shops and lunch will be available to guests. Weekday visits are strongly encouraged because lines tend to be much longer on weekends (especially near Mother’s Day). The event, which rallies 1,300 volunteers, is sponsored by the Women’s Association of Morristown Medical Center and proceeds will help establish a Center for Nursing Innovation and Research at the hospital.
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