NEW VERNON, NJ - Aside from music concerts and your favorite restaurants, there are other reasons to escape the confines of your home during a pandemic, while still respecting social distancing standards. Community members are invited to attend the house tour of Tyvan Hill Mansion, located at 579 Ban Beuren Road. 

Splendor in September, which was renamed from Mansion in May due to the pandemic, will begin September 8th through October 4. The tour beneifts the Women’s Association of Morristown Medical Center, a non-profit organization that provides financial support to the Morristown Medical Center.

Established in 1893, the Women’s Association has held many community events and projects to help benefit the medical center’s staff and patients.

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“I’m thrilled to be a member of the association and be a part of their events,” said Barbara Gallo, co-chair of the publicity committee. “We’re glad that we have this lovely mansion. The volunteers in our community surpass exception even during the COVID-19 crisis.”

The Women’s Association’s biggest fundraiser is the Mansion in May Showhouse and Gardens, held every two or three years, where local design firms are invited to a large mansion to fix up and customize a room or landscape. Since its inception, Mansion in May has helped collect $11.5 million for the Morristown Medical Center. This year, the collected funds will all go to benefit the Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute at the Morristown Medical Center.

It also serves as a platform to help advertise the buildings that are up for sale, seeing as much as 30,000 visitors. The last fundraiser was held in 2017, at The Abbey, also known as Alnwick Hall, in Morristown.

Originally this year’s Mansion in May was meant to occur in May, but due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the fundraiser was moved to September, thus renaming the occasion as “Splendor in September.” Despite this setback, the Women’s Association was able to push and invite over 30 design firms to view the space and choose which rooms to decorate and showcase their firm’s style.

“The fact that we can have this showcase, it seems New Jersey is going well,” said designer Abby Jochnowitz, or DesignAnts. “People are excited to come outside and see new ideas for their homes, instead of being stuck inside their own house.”

Jochnowitz helped to design a tranquility area in the backyard of Tyvan Hill. Other designers were given bedrooms, private studies, kitchens, bathroom, a pool house, curved staircase, and gardens.

“There are few opportunities for a landscape designer to give back to charity with the talents and skills you use as a professional,” said Tom Salaki, of Square Acre Studio, who acted as the landscape master plan designer of Tyvan Hill. “This is an opportunity to showcase your work, but in a way, the end product goal is not to make money, but to raise money for a good cause.”

Tyvan Hill itself is a 10,000-square foot U-shaped brick and stone mansion that dates back to 1928, designed by the prominent New York architectural firm of Peabody, Wilson & Brown for John Wesley Castles Jr. and his wife, Dorothea Bradford Smith, and built between 1928. With its curved staircase, paneling and elegant moldings, and outdoor pool and pool house, the Architectural League of New York awarded its silver medal to Peabody, Wilson & Brown for the firm's designs of a group of country residences, including Tyvan Hill, in 1931.

The designers and their firms were excited to be part of Splendor in September showcase their firm’s design style and be part of the mansion’s history, such as Broadfoot & Broadfoot, LLC.

“This is out fourth time doing Mansion in May and this is fantastic,” said Scott Broadfoot, who helped to design a hallway in Tyvan Hill. “The Women’s Association is a great organization to work with and their fundraisers are a lot of fun!”

Recently, the Women’s Association started off their fundraiser with a Media Preview Day on September 3rd. Various newspaper reporters, wearing face masks and staying six feet part from others, were given tours around the mansion, taking pictures and videos, meeting the designers and treated to a luncheon.

Yet, as September 8th approaches, association members cannot wait to open the mansion doors and showcase the rich architecture of Tyvan Hill, and the styles of this year’s design firms.

“Our motto is to contribute with passion,” said Katie Nolle, president of the Women’s Association, and has been a member for 12 years. “We are extremely passionate to produce a spectacular showhouse. We’re thrilled to have the media coming through and I hope that they help promote Tyvan Hill so more visitors can come. It has been a struggle since we shut down in March and when we were allowed to open, we felt strongly that we could open the doors. And we will!”

The open house tours of Tyvan Hill begins September 8th through October 4th. Tickets are $40 online and are sold in time slots from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors are advised to wear face masks, carrying hand sanitizers and keep six feet apart.

For tickets and more information about safety protocols, as well as more about Mansion in May, visit www.mansioninmay.org.

The design firms that were recruited to create spectacular rooms and hallways within Tyan Hill included CD Interiors, from Manalapan; Accents by Design Bedminster, from Bedminster; C.R. Interior Designs, from Tewksbury; Broadfoot & Broadfoot, LLC, from Boonton; JUDITH LUKE, from New York; Swati Goorha Designs, from New Providence; Portfauxlio Inc., from Chatham; Artistic Design Studio, from North Caldwell; Papyrus Home Design, from Boonton; Custom Steel Ltd., from Riverdale; Samuel Robert Signature Spaces, from Millburn; Cabri Inc., from Summit; Jaeger Kitchens, a division of Jaeger Lumber & Supply Co., from Stirling; Teggy French, New Vernon; Studio K LLC Decorative Painting & Murals, from Princeton; Deborah Macy, from Brookside; Callie Bruen Interiors, LLC, from New Vernon; SSS Custom Closets, from Bridgewater Township; Jennifer Muirhead Interiors, from Los Angeles; Susan Farcy Interior Design, from Wyckoff; Chatham Interiors, from Chatham; Summit Rug, from Benardsville; Valerie Verona, from Chester; John Puglionisi, from Morristown; Interior Decisions, Inc., from Florham Park; Kristin Ashley Interiors, from Bernardsville; Diane Durocher Interiors, Inc., from Ramsey; The Paint Diva of NJ, from Short Hills; Wyndecrest Homes, from Beach Haven; Monk’s Kitchen & Bath Design Studio, from Morristown; Interchange Technologies, from Stewartsville; Jane Danielle Interior Design, from Lebanon; Alexandria Como Design, from Morristown; Fun House Furnishings & Design, from Mendham; CWI.DESIGN, from New Providence; Mierop Design, from Montclair; and Terra Graphics, LLC, from Montclair; Curren Design Associates, Inc., from Mendham; Plumberry Designs Inc., from Florham Park; and Garden Cottage, from Fairfield.

The design firms who contributed to landscapes around Tyvan Hill included Square Acres Studio, from Madison; Split Rock Design, from Maplewood; Broadfoot & Broadfoot LLC, from Boonton; Nature’s Apprentice, from Somerville; NatureScape Lighting, from Millington; Classic Home & Garden, from Far Hills; Foerester Landscape Inc., from Mendham; Mierop Design, from Montclair; DesignAnts, from Bernardsville; Terra Graphics, LLC, from Montclair; JR Landscaping and Management, from Warren; LEAF+LINE, from ; and M. ERDS Fine gardens, from Denville.

For more information on the Women’s Association for Morristown Medical Center, visit their website at https://www.wammc.org/.