NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Mansions in May officially opens it doors today at Alnwick Hall, also known as The Abbey in Morristown and New Providence based design company Creative Wallcoverings and Interiors (CWI.Design) sat down with Tapinto New Providence to talk about how they got their inspiration for their Gilded Blues Gathering Room on display all month at Alnwick Hall.
The Women’s Association for Morristown Medical Center (WAMMC) is presenting its 18th Mansion in May Designer Showhouse and Gardens at Alnwick Hall located in Morristown, New Jersey. The Abbey is a survivor of “Millionaires Row,” a stretch of Madison Avenue that was lined with a series of very large estate houses. The 20,000 square foot, brick mansion, designed by architect Percy Griffin, was built between 1903 and 1904. It was modeled after various fifteenth- and sixteenth-century English prototypes, including Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, England.
Mansions in May once again selected New Providence design company, Creative Wallcoverings and Interiors (CWI.Design), to participate in their biennial designer showhouse. They designed The Gilded Blues Gathering Room, (Room #4), a cerulean tour de force on the first floor of Alnwick Hall. Rachel Kapner, President and senior designer, and her team got their inspiration from the space they were working in.
“We were working around the stained glass which was gold and it was a library in one of it’s former iterations, so the fabric on the walls has almost an end paper feel like you’d find in old books, so it has that sort of movement to it and agate, which was also an inspiration of it, and since agates tend to be in the blues that’s also how it jumped off.”
The team began with a few different floor plan ideas, but they settled on dividing the 20’ x 50’ space into three conversational sections. In separating it and defining the three areas of conversation, rugs were utilized to create definition. “You have to give it that wow factor, but one that can be translated into someone’s livable space,” said Gary Kapner, Vice-President of CWI.Design, “The room is ringed with cabinets and we had to work around the existing woodwork, and we have to adhere to the timeframe of the mansion.” In addition, they rebuilt radiator covers, they designed and built the three chandeliers and encountered issues along the way such as lack of electricity in the ceilings. But everything came together for the opening night.
The colors of blue and gold that inspired the design of their room symbolizes both the Gilded Age and design of the Modern Age. The colors can be appreciated in the upholstered wall panels, which are a blue and a gold velvet fabric by Jim Thompson. In addition, gold panels were added to the inside of the cabinet doors that outline the room. The striking fabric-covered walls with cobalt and Prussian blue reminded the guests of Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh. The Steinway player piano in the corner represents the Ragtime and Jazz music that lived in Alnwick Hall during the Gilded Age.
Even if you don’t have a mansion with a thousand square foot room to decorate, CWI.Design designers have some tips that can work in any home. Here are some from the designers behind the Mansions in May Gilded Room (Rachel Kapner, Lois Darling, Mary LaVecchia, Ann Campbell) “Think about painting your ceiling,” said Rachel Kapner, “don’t just leave it white, it will define the crown molding you have.” They also suggested applying wallpaper to the inside of bookcases to create a contrast and to always consider all six surfaces of your room whenever you begin your next makeover of any space in your home.
Creative Wallcoverings and Interiors was founded in 1975 by Dorothy Goldberg, the mother of Rachel Kapner, as a wallpaper business. Over 40 years later it is a very busy full service residential design firm offering a comprehensive portfolio of superior interior design services. CWI.Design was twice awarded the top honor, the Tulip Award, at New Jersey’s Mansion in May Showhouses (2006 and 2014). While Rachel and Gary Kapner are running the company’s daily operations, Dorothy Goldberg is still active in the company she began, she comes in several days a week and researches fabrics, wallcoverings and furniture.
For more information on Mansion in May visit their website.