When Jenny and Jason Hochberg traded city life for the suburbs of New Jersey, the two former attorneys with three young children sought a more family-friendly lifestyle, but also wanted a home that responded to their evolving design aesthetic. “Twenty years ago, our taste was more traditional, but in our last Manhattan apartment where we lived just before a short stint in Houston, we went almost too modern,” says Jenny, now a stay-at-home parent. “This time around, we wanted a combination of clean lines with some traditional elements.”
They got just what they were looking for—in the Short Hills community of New Jersey—when they came across a center-hall colonial originally designed by Thomas Baio. According to Baio, the cross section of American architectural styles including ranches and colonials already prevalent in the neighborhood served as inspiration for the home that the couple ultimately fell in love with. “The goal was to design a home which fit within the established vernacular, yet provided modern amenities and a more open floor plan. The interior reflects a transitional style which has less ornate moldings and a clean backdrop for the furnishings to play against,” he says.
Although the double-height foyer sets the architectural stage for the luxuriously scaled living and dining rooms that flank the entry, it was Houston-based interior designer Katie Scott’s playful pairing of a gilded Louis chair with an acrylic side table that established the tone for what lies within. “The big bold stripe of the chair makes the formal piece more youthful and fun,” says Scott, who seamlessly blended the couple’s penchant for tradition with their love of fashion.
“When it comes to my wardrobe, I’m a minimalist, but I love to update my look with hip, edgy pieces that no one else will have,” says Jenny, who proposed a similar concept for her house. “That’s part of the reason I picked Katie. Although the exterior of our home blends in with the rest of the neighborhood, the interior is completely unique to us.”
Proving her client’s point, Scott introduced a French daybed and an ebonized directoire chair in the living room and completed the look with an acrylic coffee table. “I really like mixing traditional and modern,” says Scott. The designer also enjoys including an element of surprise in her projects, seen in this case as an antique Portuguese stool upholstered with zebra hide. “I use textures to add a level of luxury and richness,” she says. Another carefully orchestrated merger occurs in the dining room where an oval walnut table grounds the space, yet the whimsical pink and gray magnolia wallpaper creates a showstopping mural-like effect on the wall.
Rosy splashes repeat on the pillows in the family room, where the linen-slipcovered sofa and chairs encourage lounging, and the mirrors set in painted wooden frames provide an elegant touch. “The mirrors are what I call a ‘hands-off antique’ because they are hanging on the wall and therefore less likely to be damaged,” quips Scott; she continued the color palette in the adjacent kitchen with pink and purple cubes that work as extra seating at the breakfast table.
The edginess of the first floor gives way to the more tranquil second-floor master suite where 19th-century Louis XV fauteuils, a tufted white-linen headboard, and mirrored side tables imbue the quiet space with a hint of glamour. According to Jenny, even though her husband has “his spaces,” such as a workout room and home theater, at the end of the day her cozy office alcove defined by a subtle geometric wallpaper is where they would both rather be. “I sometimes retreat here during the day, but at night it’s where Jason and I hang out and talk,” she says. “He loves my office, and I love the serenity of the entire master suite.”