Don Tripp and Denise Jarvis lived down the street from the 1853 Victorian in historic Lambertville, New Jersey, when they heard it was going to be put up for sale and was in danger of becoming a parking lot. They jumped on buying the house. Initially they had been unsure how you can update it, but two decades later they replaced the back of the house using a two-story, 1,200-square-foot modular inclusion. A five-year labour of love changed the house into a modern space that pays tribute to many of its original information.
at a Glance
Who lives here: Don Tripp and Denise Jarvis
Where: Lambertville, New Jersey
Size: 2,600 square feet with 6 rooms, 2.5 bathrooms
Architect: E.I. Mills and Associates
Audrey Kerchner: What motivates your interior layout?
DT: The layout was inspired with the help of our architect, E.I. Mills and Associates. We were interested in a more modern look and feel for the interior. The focal point in the living area is the fireplace using a rolled-steel facade, inspired by a similar work in a ski lodge in Big Sky, Montana.
AK: Inform me about the renovation process and what you did to make your house your own.
Don Tripp: The house was in need of major renovations, and we included antique barn beams in the living room space along with a fitting fireplace mantel. The cold rolled-steel fireplace is the focal point. The bedroom has architectural detail in the ceiling. A steel banister and balustrades replaced the wooden one. The peekaboo glass on both sides of the kitchen cabinets between the dining area and kitchen adds light and a modern appearance.
AK: Where do you feel most at home in your house now?
DT: We believe most at home in our living area, particularly on a cold night with a hot fire going and chestnuts roasting on the hearth. The lizard art is by a local craftsman from when we lived in northern Arizona.
Rolled-steel-facade fireplace: steel from Trenton, New Jersey; blue rock from a local quarry
AK: Tell me about your kitchen remodel.
DT: We wanted a functional kitchen with some flair, interest and lots of natural light. High on our want list were quiet appliances, especially a powerful yet quiet exhaust fan along with a superquiet dishwasher. The kitchen and main living area are adjacent, and it was important that we not hear the dishwasher or the enthusiast when in use. The oversize kitchen island provides more than ample room for food prep and also functions as a tropical area for serving appetizers and drinks when entertaining. We love the kitchen cabinets with glass on both sides that provide a view into the dining area. We also take pleasure in the appearance and performance of this stainless steel toaster.
Kitchen layout: Susanne Kaslavage Olsen from Hunterdon Kitchens
AK: What is your best advice to get a first-time remodeler?
DT: Go slow down and examine plans and make changes without being overly hasty to proceed forward. It’s simple to go a wall or alter a window or door place when it is on paper. Once it is built, you are in for the long haul.
Original dining room space.
DT: Downstairs we moved with a fish motif inspired by Lambertville’s annual Shad Festival. In the dining area, two lithographs of fish hang on the walls, and at the kitchen, hand-carved wooden fish sculptures purchased on Block Island hang over the windows. And Denise assembled a”Fish on Wheels” art piece.
The original living area from the 1800s is now used as a workplace and a library.
The flooring is a yellow pine wood original to the house. The steel railing and banister were made by local craftsman Bret Cavanaugh.
Original pumpkin walnut hardwood flooring runs throughout the guest bedroom.
Bedroom furniture: imported from Canada, purchased at White Linen Store at Princeton, New Jersey
AK: Who helped you the most? A designer, builder, builder, buddy, or…?
DT: We had worked together with our architect on a former house, so he understood our preferences for layout and fashion. Photos from magazines were clipped and used for thoughts also.
AK: How did you pick your colour palette?
DT: A friend was quite helpful with our colour selection process, which was quite time consuming. Some of the ceilings were painted darker colors than the walls to provide the house a cozy feel. The master bathroom with plain beige tile has been the most difficult; it had been painted three times. That did not go over well.
A fireplace in the master bedroom gives an alternate heating source for your space.
AK: Tell me about your collected artwork.
DT: the majority of the art has some connection to our past journeys and fun places we’ve visited. Upstairs the photos in the master bedroom are by famous photographer G. Steve Jordan, who captures special moments in the Shawangunk Mountains, a place we love. There is an easy nude pencil sketch purchased many years ago from Denise in New York City using the title Picasso, even though we can’t establish its validity. Both abstract watercolors were purchased from a local artist while visiting Olympia, Washington.
The master bathroom.
AK: What do you love most about your city?
DT: We adore Lambertville because of its urban look and feel, even though it’s a small town. The community is filled with open-minded, friendly neighbors. During the week it is quiet and peaceful, and on weekends we like the tourists as well as the buzz at the restaurants and stores.
AK: What was your main design issue? What do you want to do with your house next?
DT: Working in such a tight urban space proved challenging, as the street was fully constructed out with many houses constructed to the property lines. We are enjoying our house immensely and have plans to just make a couple minor interior decorating enhancements and to keep on optimizing the landscaping.
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