Diamonds are forever
In her design for a Tenafly, NJ home, Jessica Gersten combines James Bond elegance with earthy allure.
This moody man cave was created as a gathering place for the gents. While its dark walls and rug set it apart from the rest of the home, pale chairs from Profiles NY and chunky brass-clad coffee tables shaped like tree trunks connect it to an overall emphasis on things both neutral and natural.
“My client is inspired by James Bond.” —Jessica Gersten
Designer Jessica Gersten aims to juxtapose modern sleekness with the charm of antiques. However, in the Tenafly, New Jersey home of Danielle and Troy Gregory, antiques take a backseat to something older still: the earth itself.
“It’s got very clean lines,” Gersten explains. “But we wanted to create a warm environment, one that had a little bit of earth reflected in every room.” The designer points this out in design elements from rock-shaped tables to stand-out stone. However, to fully realize the design, Gersten needed a golden eye. “My client is inspired by James Bond,” Gersten explains, “but also they’re very much nature lovers and have lots of animals in the house.” It was important that both elements came through: a challenge that would leave some designers shaken, not stirred.
“We knew that the exterior was going to be box-like,” Gersten says. She calls the stark stone of Utah’s Amangiri resort a point of reference for the building by architect Anthony Minichetti. “Then you move into an interior layer, which hopefully reflects who the clients are.”
For example, the home’s “man cave” channels a masculine mood darker than the rest of the light-filled home. Gersten felt the man of the house wanted “a place to invite his buddies over to hang out, smoke cigars, have drinks and watch a movie.” In addition, Gersten notes: “I love having a dark room in every home.”
There’s also a touch of shadow in the midst of the taupe tones of the kitchen: a striking leathered marble that transitions through a gradient of grays as it moves up the wall. “Selecting the stones for this home was a labor of love,” Gersten admits. The room also offers some 1970s James Bond flair in the form of chrome-and-leather Arete bucket chairs.
STRIKING LEATHERED MARBLE TRANSITIONS THROUGH A GRADIENT OF GRAYS.
Contrast in scale is at play in the living room, where tall windows and outsized art reach heavenward while furnishings cling more closely to the ground—spaced to accommodate the flow of guests. “We took these Minotti sofas, and we split them up to create a gap so that it really is a free flowing lounge space,” says Gersten. “That’s what also led to the smattering of the small tables.”
Meanwhile on the second floor, a sitting room occupies an area at the intersection of multiple bedrooms. “This is sort of a congregating room where everyone can come out and lounge together,” Gersten says. “The intention was to create a spa-type feeling here, so there are yummy textures and colors.” These include ultrasuede walls and inviting poufs shaped like scattered stones. There’s a nod to Agent 007 here, too—a light sculpture on the wall that marries Bond zing with organic shapes.
Ultimate serenity awaits nearby. “The idea was a cozy bedroom with this play on shape,” explains Gersten, noting how rich upholstery gives the room a “pillowy” feeling. Meanwhile, the master bath revolves around a soaking tub set on shining slab stone.
Another way the earth finds its way into the home is its distinct mix of metals —a nod to Danielle Gregory’s work designing and curating jewelry collections. The result is mix of finishes and colors that reflect the earth’s treasures in their near-infinite variety. According to Gersten, all this connection to the earth makes Gregory feel “that the house is breathing.” Thus, Gersten continues, “there is a lot of heart and soul in that house”—not to mention a bit of Bond.
“The idea was a cozy bedroom with this play on shape.” —Jessica Gersten