The Blausteins

Mr. and Mrs. Mark Blaustein Residence-West Orange, NJ


The Blaustein’s had recently married and they wanted to purchase a townhouse in West Orange, NJ as their home. We accompanied them on their second walk through of the home, tested the water pressure, looked at the roof, windows, basement, and came up with a figure for the renovation they had in mind. The design and renovation started out as a full gut to the kitchen, paint job, powder room wallpaper and some furnishings.


The project quickly escalated to ripping up all the floors, a full gut renovation of the master bath as well as the powder room (which needed to be completed in 3 weeks as it was decided towards the end of the project), new fireplace surround, crown mouldings, new doors, hardware, marble floors, door hardware, carpeting, light fixtures, etc. all to be completed within 2 months time (as their apartment lease was expiring).


Mr. and Mrs. Blaustein had a great deal of input regarding style and finishes. At times they went on their own and selected carpet and tiles, which we later purchased for installation. They knew what they wanted and we steered them in the direction they needed to select the rest of the finishes. Our hunt for the perfect kitchen and bath counters took us to 5 marble yards. Since our philosophy is creating the client’s vision, their need to be involved was critical to the design process as well as their own well being. Maybe we’re more of interior therapists than designers with many residential clients.


Drawings were created and since there were no structural changes being made to the home, we did not have to wait for permits. Once the contracts were signed, and the townhouse was theirs, we started demo.


We suggested white glasso tiles for the kitchen floor which is a very cost effective material if you want a white floor. The alternative is Thassos marble at nearly 3 times the price. After weeks of looking at the right color green for the kitchen counters, we purchased Cosa Esmeralda, the hardest marble surface and equals granite in its strength, and it’s gorgeous. We had custom colored and glazed inserts made for the floor to match the marble and the custom backsplash.


The marble floors in the living and dining rooms were chosen by the Blausteins. It is done in a harlequin pattern alternating honey and white marble. It is a bold statement and works well. The paint is a very neutral light maize color and gives life to the already bright rooms.Within each room we installed crown moulding. The majority of the moulding was painted in a semi-gloss white, one office was painted black, and 2 rooms were painted gold. They do not have to all be the same.


The chandeliers were for the most part stocked or floor models for expediency. There are manufacturers that can take 6 months to deliver, we had no time for that!

The kitchen cabinets took 4 weeks to get and were installed immediately after the floor installation. We always need the appliances on site for the kitchen installation, that way the cabinets are installed correctly for the sizes of the appliances. A tight fit is optimal. The ceiling downlights were installed at the same time. It’s always better to check and double check before you cut into the ceiling. We raised all the electrical outlets to be within the recess of the wall cabinets. In this way, the backsplash is not broken up by outlets. Switches are normally on the side walls. Under cabinet lighting was installed as well, hiding transformers within the cabinets. The design called for moving the refrigerator next to the pantry, thereby optimizing the counter space rather than breaking it up with a refrigerator in the middle as was existing. Because of the narrowness of the kitchen we opted for an island/breakfast bar off to the side rather than in the middle. This works out beautifully and it’s not in the way of anything. The stone on top of the island is Covelano White Emerald, which is a white marble with a green vein-the opposite of the other counters in the kitchen. The slab was hand chosen for color and vein placement.


Doors and doorknobs were ordered. We created swing doors where there were sliders. It’s a more upscale look, and the hardware looks great on them. It’s not necessary to always use a mortise handle, many times a large pull and a magnet catch work well, and it takes less time to install.


The master bath was a challenge. First we only had 3 weeks to gut and complete it. Second we were removing a Jacuzzi and installing a shower. A bathtub has a 1 ½ inch drain, a shower has a 2 inch drain. The larger drain is necessary so that water goes down quickly. You don’t want it to collect or it will spill onto your floor and potentially damage you wood cabinets and leak into the space below the bath.


We purchased 3” X 6” white subway tiles and purple iridescent Sici tile as an accent on the wall and for the floor. Small tiles are necessary on the shower floor so that a gradual slope can be created towards the drain. We built a niche for shampoo products.


I recommended glass block instead of a shower door and we created a seat out of white glasso slab and used the same slab on the counter. We were fortunate that the semi-custom vanity and 2 sinks were available within 2 ½ weeks.


We used a purple pebble wall covering on the rest of the walls as per the client’s request and fashioned the toilet behind a knee wall also fabricated of glass block and glasso.


We painted the entire townhouse and installed the new hardware on the doors, and hung the light fixtures.


After a good cleaning and window washing the home was ready for move-in.

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