Shore Showhouse Makes Elegant Seaside Statement

VENTNOR, NJ — Ocean views are a mainstay of Casa Dorado, a landmark home in Ventnor, NJ that was the site for the 14th Anniversary RNS Show House at the Shore. The 7,500-sq.-ft. Moorish/Italianate house that boasts 25 rooms showcases many of the styles distinctive to that style home – ornamental motifs, mosaic tiles, wrought iron pieces and windows with brightly colored leaded glass. Blending Styles

When the designers from Design Studio Interiors, in Linwood, NJ, took on the kitchen project in this 1927 home, they were actually tackling three rooms: the main kitchen, a butler’s pantry and a powder room.

The butler’s pantry, which connects the dining room with the kitchen, was designed as a combination bar/pantry. Upon entering from the dining room, the right side of the pantry features a 48" Sub-Zero refrigerator with wood panel doors flanked by two 96"-high pantry closets. On the opposite wall, a bar set-up showcases a fully integrated stainless steel sink and countertop, finished with faucets in oil-rubbed bronze from California Faucets.

Cabinets with glass doors and interior lighting hang on the wall above the sink, providing a space to display glassware, adding to the room’s upscale barroom feel. Either side of the sink features tall cabinets with Ionian reeded pilasters that rise from floor to ceiling. The backsplash behind the sink features a tumbled marble centerpiece surrounded by a metal tile design.

“The cabinetry itself has a very simple face [with] a frame with a beadboard inset” for a Nantucket sort of aesthetic, notes Robert McCarty, managing member for Design Studio Interiors. The cabinetry, from Elmwood, is cherry with a high sheen finish over a burgundy shade, enhancing the room’s rich appeal.

The 21"x21" porcelain floor tiles simulate stone, and were used throughout the butler’s pantry, kitchen and powder room, tying the rooms together. In the pantry, tiles from Walker Zanger were added near the outside border of the floor, “creating a carpet design,” says Suzanne Lacroix, interior designer and member partner of Design Studio Interiors.

The room’s rich, elegant design is actually enhanced by its lack of natural light, according to the designers. While there are no windows in the room, “there is a very funky, low-voltage lighting system with little bulbs on dimmers,” remarks McCarty.

From the warm dark tones of the bar/pantry, an arched doorway leads to an L-shaped kitchen with cabinets from Elmwood finished in Limestone, an off-white base with a glaze. The kitchen cabinets have the same beadboard look inset as the cabinets in the butler’s pantry.

“We used a raised-panel cabinet in MDF in the kitchen, because there is so much moisture down at the shore,” reports McCarty. The cabinets were topped with granite countertops in a brown/cream combination that had “phenomenal movement,” he adds.

Along the wall, a tall cabinet houses a stainless steel three-in-one microwave/oven/warming drawer from Wolf, followed by a base cabinet, a freestanding stainless steel commercial 36" Wolf range and then another base cabinet. Above the range is a 54" mantle-type hood in the limestone finish, which is flanked by cabinets on both sides.

Ceramic tile from Sonoma Tilemakers in Cognac, a maize color, was used in the kitchen backsplash.

A stainless steel sink from KWC with faucets from Grohe, as well as a dishwasher, are tucked into the space on the adjacent wall. “The return is very simplistic,” notes McCarty. “We had to work with the walls that were there, and the wall above the sink and dishwasher was all windows.”

The island acts as a sit-down area, with seating featured on three sides. Storage is also incorporated into its design. In addition to the high hats featured throughout the room, an ornate chandelier in a maize tone adds light to the island area.

The porcelain floor tiles from the butler’s pantry continue through the kitchen, and are peppered with random inserts of the Walker Zanger tile from the pantry. The large porcelain tiles also make quite a statement in the adjoining powder room. “I took the floor tiles and went up the walls of the powder room with them,” comments Lacroix. “This is the powder room that is off the back entrance and through which people will be coming in from the beach. So, I wanted the powder room to be as elegant as the kitchen and the butler’s pantry, but I also wanted it to be almost indestructible.”

While the Toto toilet fits this ideal, Lacroix admits to adding an element that was not indestructible – the vessel sink from Alchemy. “It’s sort of a blown glass, but it’s not as delicate,” she says. “It was painted to look like flames within the glass, in reds and greens.” The sink sits on a wrought iron stand that is finished in oil-rubbed bronze. Wall mounted faucets in an oil-rubbed bronze finish from California Faucets complement the stand.

Wall tiles that match the sink, also from Alchemy, were used to create a mirror surround for above the vessel. The same 4"x4" wall tiles were also inserted as decos into the porcelain wall tiles for added effect. “So, my 21"x21" wall tile wasn’t quite as boring as it might sound,” offers Lacroix.

Shared Ideas
The recreation of two bathrooms on the main floor was the assignment for Chaz Scholtz, owner, CSZ Designs of Williamstown, NJ. The baths were located around the corner from each other, and shared a common wall.

Drawing from the client’s penchant for the Tuscan look, and in keeping with the style of the house – with its broken tile and textured walls – Scholtz chose a look that was warm and not too heavy for the front bathroom.

“We used a square accent tile in a putty color with a rose tone around the room. The border tile features cobalt blue veining,” comments Scholtz, “which gives it the look of something you would expect to see in a terracotta floor.” A matching 6"x6" square tile in the same pattern was also used on a diagonal in the tub/shower area.

The tub/shower with door, from Maax, was tucked away in an alcove. It featured acrylic walls on the short end and built-in shelves halfway down on the long end. In keeping with the color of the tub/shower and Toto toilet, biscuit-colored tiles that featured a mottled effect were used on the walls, capped by the blue-veined tiles from the sink area.

The faucets on the tub, provided by California Faucets, were finished in an oil-rubbed copper that featured bronze tones.

The custom-built cabinets in the bath included wood medicine cabinets and a wood vanity with two bottom drawers that could each hold a full set of towels. The cabinets were finished in an orange/brown stain reminiscent of terracotta.

The concrete countertop featured a terracotta-colored vein through it, and sported a hammered copper sink. Finishing the sink area were oil-rubbed copper faucets from California Faucets in an Old World style.

“We found a porcelain tile for the floor that resembled terracotta that was available in squares and rectangles, and also used a broken tile border, which lends itself to the foyer floor and the walkways going up to the front of the house,” Scholtz details. The rectangular tiles were used to create a herringbone pattern in the center of the floor, with full tiles going out to the walls.

Though the client wanted both baths to be done in similar styles, the second bathroom got a slightly different treatment. “I wanted to do something a little more fun with a little more color, because it’s a small bathroom and there’s no window,” Scholtz comments.

The first order of business was to reconfigure the room because, “when you looked through the doorway from the hall, you were looking at the toilet,” states Scholtz.”

For his design, Scholtz flipped the vanity and shower placements, and the door was moved. “Now, when you look in through the door, you see a beautiful mirror and large satin nickel wall sconces with milky white globes mounted on stone that matches the floor tile,” he reports.

A sink-type vanity with legs was replaced with a cabinet in a teak finish that goes all the way across the wall, adding visual length to the room and providing needed storage. “We used a countertop made from EOS solid surface and paired it with a satin nickel undermount sink and faucets from California Faucets in satin nickel,” notes Scholtz.

A frameless glass shower enclosure featured a stationary side panel that sat on the half-wall next to the white Toto toilet. The shower seat and base for shower shelves were also fashioned from Eos solid surface. Scholtz then used stone thresholds to make the shelves in the alcove and the corner shelves in the shower.

The railway brick-sized tile used in the room had small square tiles in different pastel colors at each end that resembled a mosaic, he describes. In the center of the tile, there was a seal – a round circle with a star in the center that resembled a flower. In between the tiles, a piece of field tile was inserted “so that we didn’t have all of these dots together,” he explains.

In the shower, Scholtz used an eye-level band of square tile that matched the dots featured in the room tiles. “We did one of those every three or four tiles around the shower,” he notes. The remainder of the tile in the shower was mosaic size, in a pattern that resembled flamed granite, he adds.

Finishing the room was a paintable wall covering that resembled stucco with a trowel fan-like pattern. Pastel tones were then painted into the trowel marks.

“The second bathroom had a softer feeling than the first, and it was just more fun,” states Scholtz. “It was a small bathroom, and it had a nice life about it.”