Sasha Bikoff Let Cherry Blossoms Inspire This New Jersey Home

If you had to guess where the East Coast’s largest collection of cherry blossom trees resides, Newark, New Jersey, probably wouldn’t be the frontrunner. However, that unlikely distinction belongs to the city’s Branch Brook Park, an urban oasis with more than 4,000 of springtime’s favorite flower bearer across 20 different varieties. So when a young couple enlisted Sasha Bikoff to enliven their 1927 Georgian manor, sitting pretty just across the street from the Frederick Law Olmsted–designed park, the maximalist designer had plenty of visual stimulation.

“We wanted to pay homage to the Georgian architecture and also have fun with floral- and nature-inspired motifs as all of the street-facing windows have views of the park,” says Bikoff, the New York–based designer known for her color-drenched mash-ups and psychedelic interiors. For this 5,850-square-foot brick stunner, bold chromatic pairings were used to “highlight the blossoming of spring and the foliage of fall,” she says, but also to give the house a sense of youthful energy and bring its period elegance into the 21st century.

Take the living room, where Bikoff accentuated the original molding and scalloped built ins with a palette of mint and pink that feels fresher than your average garden party. Botanical-themed wall coverings and window treatments help soften the preppy contrast. “We really had fun with mixing and matching prints,” she says. And in the kitchen, lacquered Kelly green panels offer a playful interpretation on classic cabinetry. Keep reading for more details that make this home feel like a walk in the park.


Stair Landing

hallway

Brittany Ambridge

“We kept this area pretty neutral and had fun with found antiques and vintage pieces to create visual interest without detracting from the bolder bedrooms,” Bikoff says. Shade and bench fabric: Scalamandré. Chandelier: antique.


Living Room

living room

Brittany Ambridge

cabinetry in the living room

Brittany Ambridge

“My client had a hard time parting with a lot of his chairs, which he found so comfortable,” Bikoff says, “so we repurposed a lot of existing furniture by reupholstering with new fabrics and hiding ugly legs with trim.” Bikoff punched up the muted greens, yellows, and pinks in the clients’ antique rug with feminine florals and a pastel-forward palette of variegated pinks and greens. Paint: Desert Rose (walls) and Kittery Point Green (trim), Benjamin Moore. Bookshelf wallpaper: House of Hackney. Shade fabric: Schumacher. Coffee table: vintage ostrich Karl Springer. Chair: Schumacher fabric with Samuel & Sons trim. Tapestry and rocking chair: antique.


Sun Room

house

Brittany Ambridge

To reference the dining room’s cornflower blue walls in a glass-enclosed sitting room, Bikoff installed gauzy, ripple-fold sheer linen drapery that adds color without blocking out natural light. Coffee table: vintage, by Frederico Armijo. Rug: antique.


Kitchen

a kitchen with green cabinets

Brittany Ambridge

“We decided to do custom lacquered green cabinetry in an effort to bring the outside backyard greenery inside,” Bikoff says of the kitchen, which she gutted and combined with the laundry room to create a more modern eat-in kitchen and desk area. To maintain the clean aesthetic the client preferred, she added quartz countertops and a tile backsplash in crisp white. “The fabric on the shades is what marries these two elements together,” she says. Paint: custom. Window shade fabric: Clarence House. Pendants: Circa Lighting. Counter stools: antique. Rugs: ABC Carpet & Home. Backsplash: Artistic Tile.


Pantry

house

Brittany Ambridge

Bikoff continued the kitchen finishes—green lacquered cabinetry, a white quartz counter, and white tile—in this drinks nook. An undercounter beverage fridge has racks for wine bottles and shelves for other drinks. Paint: custom. Backsplash: Artistic Tile.


Breakfast Nook

breakfast nook

Brittany Ambridge

Rattan bistro-style dining chairs maintain the indoor-outdoor feeling. Banquette fabric: Schumacher. Table: custom.


Dining Room

dining room

Brittany Ambridge

dining room

Brittany Ambridge

Bikoff’s favorite room in the house, the dining room updates traditional furnishings that were already well-loved by the homeowner with a dreamy cornflower blue hue. “It all started with the wallpaper, which has a traditional English feel and lots of movement, but the color palette feels fresh,” she says. “The family entertains a lot over holidays, and they wanted something comfortable and inviting.” Wallpaper: Liberty of London for Fabricut. Paint (trim): Riviera Azure, Benjamin Moore. Furniture and rug: antique. Chandelier: vintage Murano.


Primary Bedroom

a bedroom with a bed and a mirror

Brittany Ambridge

The subdued green grasscloth wallpaper, which was installed prior to Bikoff joining the project, was the basis for the serene primary bedroom. She broke up the palette by introducing a classic toile hunting scene that recalls the house’s leafy surroundings. Wallpaper and shade and bench fabric: Vervaine. Bedding: Matouk. Chandelier: vintage, from ABC Carpet & Home. Vanity and stool: vintage.


Girl’s Bedroom

a bed with a pink and white bed spread

Brittany Ambridge

Using input from the rooms’ intended denizens, Bikoff chose coordinating wallpapers by Clarke & Clarke with whimsical animal themes for the kids’ bedrooms. Bedding: Matouk. Bed: custom. Lamps: vintage.


Girl’s Bathroom

bathroom

Brittany Ambridge

Perhaps no room channels nearby cherry blossoms better than the daughter’s ensuite bath, where lustrous pink mosaic tiles and gilded details bounce light around and the floating vanity adds an airy sense of scale in the small, windowless space. Paint: Peach Kiss, Benjamin Moore. Tile: Nemo.


Office

office

Brittany Ambridge

A departure from the rest of the house, the office feels moody and dramatic. “My client wanted his office to feel very luxe, so I felt like a ’70s vibe would lend a bit of a darker and more masculine ambience,” says Bikoff, who added hits of tangerine for unexpected brightness. Anchoring the space is an antique Chinese rug, the client’s existing desk, and a vintage Milo Baughman coffee table. Wall paint: Hidden Sapphire, Benjamin Moore. Shade fabric: Pierre Frey. Armoire: antique.


Mudroom

mudroom

Brittany Ambridge

“As the main source of entry to the house, I wanted the mudroom to offer a palette cleanser experience, where you have a multitude of colors in one space that foreshadow what you are about to walk into,” Bikoff says. Wallpaper and bench fabric: Schumacher.


Q&A

House Beautiful: Did you encounter any memorable hiccups, challenges, or surprises during the project? How did you pivot?

Sasha Bikoff: We encountered challenges with construction of dealing with an old house that was somewhat left in disarray. The biggest part of the construction was opening up the kitchen in an effort to create a more modern lifestyle of how we live today but also to have more of a view into the backyard. Prior to this renovation the kitchen, laundry, and breakfast area was small and compartmentalized. This new floor plan was ultimately a much more gracious layout.

HB: Where did the majority of the budget go?

SB: Apart from construction, most of the budget went to fabric and wallpaper. We really had fun with mixing and matching prints.


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