Centennial Show House

Centennial Show House

In 2008, the Twin Maples Centennial Show House opened its doors to the public to raise funds for the Simon Cancer Center at Overlook Hospital in Summit and the Twin Maples Historic Preservation Fund.

The show house was the culmination of significant renovations in 2007-2008 to restore, modernize and beautify the property. A geothermal heat pump was installed to efficiently heat and cool the 6,500 square foot house in a sustainable manner. Each room in both the main house and the Carriage House was meticulously refurbished by different decorators from the metropolitan New York area. 

Twin Maples Centennial Show House
Twin Maples Centennial Show House photo collage (photography courtesy of Marisa Pellegrini)

Centennial Show House Tour

First Floor

Entry Hall is dominated by an open string staircase and a wood burning fireplace that supplemented the heating to rooms above via floor grills.  The size of the main hall and abundance of decorative details are indicative of its importance in homes of this period.  This was a room to receive guests, some of whom would not go beyond to the more private living spaces in the home.

Wood detailing includes a box-beamed ceiling and half-height panels in framed wainscoting that continues up to the second floor.  Delicate fluted Ionic pilasters flank the entrances to adjoining rooms.   The staircase features ornamented stringers, turned balusters and a carved hand rail.

The fireplace mantel is decorated with a unique band of molding supported by carved acanthus leaf brackets at either end.  Crimson tones and homey curtains were done by Mary Lou Sweeney Interior Designs of Summit.  Note that the decorator used ribbon to highlight the mantel and ceiling trim.

Twin Maples Hope Sferra Interiors
Twin Maples Entry Hall, interior design by Hope Sferra Interiors

Ballroom, the main meeting room, was originally three distinct rooms:  library, dining room and porch.  The conversion of the space was the first project undertaken by The Fortnightly Club of Summit when the house was purchased.  Special care was taken to install structural beams below and above the space to support the unusually large room.  The large elliptical bay window and built-in closets from the dining room remain today.  The Steinway piano dates back to 1907.

Butler’s Pantry connects the ballroom to the kitchen.  Sophisticated design elements take cues from Twin Maples’ neoclassical architecture to create an elegant space that is sensitive to the home’s heritage.  The layout provides terrific working spaces while creating an airy furniture feel.  Jim Dove of Canterbury Design in Morristown chose marble for the backsplash and countertops, and glazed Venetian plaster and foil for the ceiling.

Ladies’ Secret Bath built under the stairs is our “Harry Potter” room.  This small hideaway with a painted cabinet has glass doors copied from the entry doors in the foyer, which gives the timeless quality expected in this grand home.  Update was done by Joan Picone of Green Village.

Kitchen was remodeled by Christopher Peacock Cabinetry of Greenwich, CT.  It is both classic and timeless.  The beautiful handmade cabinetry is modern but eco-friendly.  The countertops are Caesarstone.  The two dishwashers, glass front refrigerator, as well as the eight-burner stove were all donated by Karl’s Appliance.

Mudroom created by European Country Kitchens of Millburn, features an ageless floor of red brick along with modern storage built right in.

Handicap Accessible Powder Room is a small space, but has a spacious old world look by Alice Shanahan Interiors of Berkeley Heights.

Dining Room was the former Drawing Room, with its entry marked by a combination of Ionic pilasters and two free-standing Ionic columns.  The most prominent feature is a full-height fireplace surround that echoes the design of the Ionic pilaster of the door surrounds.  The mantel is supported by a row of medallions.  The dining room walls are stenciled Venetian plaster with a beeswax coating that gives it a glossy shine.  Marshall Watson Interiors, New York, NY created this elegant room for the 2008 show house.  The beautiful chandelier was donated by past Fortnightly Club president, Helen Watson.

Sun Porch is a window enclosed room that was added subsequent to the original construction of the house, but prior to 1914 when the house was listed in a brochure photograph of “Summit’s Distinguished Houses”.  Original tile floors and glass doorways were retained from the pre-1914 design.  Creative Wallcoverings & Interiors of New Providence added a touch of the Far East with red weaved man-made wallcovering, creative ceiling design and stenciled lanterns.

Main Staircase is a two-story half-turned staircase that leads to a landing with a large leaded glass window ensemble consisting of two tall rectangular windows and one glazed door, all topped by an elliptical fanlight.  The glazed door provided access to a balcony overlooking the rear yard which has since been removed.  (Storm doors were donated by H. G. Edwards & Co. of Summit.)

On the wall is a large oil painting, which is not signed, but is recognized as being done around 1850 by a painter of the French Academy of Art as a “presentation piece”.  An artist, before being admitted to membership in the Academy, was required to submit a large-sized oil for approval.  Such a picture was required to include architectural details, a landscape and human figures.  Its classical subject matter of “Anthony Taking Leave of Cleopatra” meets these requirements.  The painting was given to The Fortnightly Club by a Summit resident in memory of his wife.  He wished to remain anonymous.

Oil Painting at Twin Maples
Oil painting donated anonymously by Summit resident

Gentleman’s Powder Room located off the staircase landing, steps up a small lavatory with lots of impact by Waterworks and Shannon Hall Designs.  Grass cloth wallpaper provides the perfect background to the mini-brick Calacatta flooring.

Second Floor

Second Floor Hallway/Sitting Area continues with the neoclassical style of the home.  The strong colors on the walls enhance the molding and trims throughout.  the comfortable love seat was upholstered in velvets and fringes by Sandra Carter Interior Design & Decoration of Montclair who is also responsible for the curtains on the landing.

Gentlemen’s Sitting Room, originally Lydia DeForest’s bedroom is now a lounge.  The white tile fireplace with carved wood surround is decorated with a garland of flowers.  Minion-Gutierrez, New York, NY was inspired by 18th century English architect Robert Adam in creating this electric mix of details.  The ceiling of stenciled Venetian plaster and gold trim reflect like a mirror above the room.  Moldings were added around the lower wall to give detail, and the room is painted with a subdued color that conveys a warm, soothing and elegant ambiance.

Bride’s Powder Room connects two bedrooms and sets the mood with a soft color palette accented with boldness of black sheer fabrics and a hand-painted mural of the “Bride” by Jonathan G. Hress of Bedminster.  The vanity top, added for the 2008 show house, wraps around the Bride as she touches up her makeup.  The original mirror remains but is dressed with a fanciful ribbon and crystal push pins.

Bride’s Room has a yellow tiled fireplace with a wood surround embellished with thin Ionic colonettes supporting a relatively simple mantle.  A full-length antique pier glass mirror reflects almost the entire room.  Papyrus Home Design added Greek stencil around the top of the room which mimics the trim on the elegant, airy curtains.  The antique bed and vanity table were donated by the Beit family in 2009.

Multi-Purpose Board Room, originally the master bedroom, has an elaborate fireplace with a carved surround and a fan flanked by garlands on a mantel supported by Ionic columns.  Lustrous gold-toned tiles were added above the mantel by MarketPlace Designs, Summit for the 2008 show house.  The large board table, chairs, and two credenzas were donated by the decorator Linda Kitson-Pacilio in 2009.

Master Bathroom was completely renovated for the 2008 show house.  The large tub was replaced by a spacious glass front shower and pebbled shower floor.  The classic marble floor with contemporary iridescent glass tiles and time-honored fittings creates an inviting timeless look.  The Glassmith Shop and The Square Yard, both of Summit, were responsible for this room during the show house.

Quiet Hide-Away Room is a very small room which was probably where a servant slept.  Today, it has a built-in bed and bookshelf.  The French inspiration in the wallpaper and coordinating ceiling give a fresh, feminine appeal to the room.  The space was decorated by Donna Donaldson Interior Design of Summit.

Back Staircase accessible to third floor and kitchen was used originally for servant access.  The third floor has small bedroom spaces.  Currently, these areas are used for storage.  Fanciful amenities were added by several local decorators for the 2008 show house, but due to fire safety restrictions, no visitors are permitted above the second floor.

Lower Level Rooms

Hallways are painted in faux finishes by Spotlight Studio Designs.  Canvas panels are graced with the illusion of gently aged verdigris boiserie, hand-painted in the trompe l’oeil (fool the eye) style.

Wine Tasting Room celebrates the grape harvest and art of making wine.  NLM Design Interiors and Raiser Contracting created this elegant environment with custom-made cabinetry.

Movie Viewing Room is a state-of-the-art smart technology space tucked away in the lower level.  Classic columns and crown molding hide acoustical panels and is warmed by plush fabrics.  Decorated by Karla Trincanello, Florham Park.

Powder Room and Laundry Space were also updated by Karla Trincanello.  The tiny space is enlarged by basket-weaved patterns and decorative border tiles.  A decorative mural of “Twin Maples” was hand-painted on the wall to commemorate the 2008 show house.

Teen Space currently occupied by ABC Area Baby Center, a non-profit organization that provides diapers, baby wipes and toiletries to local disadvantaged families in the Summit community.

Carriage House

Originally, carriages were kept in the left side bay and stabled horses in the right side bay.  Above, the one bedroom apartment is currently occupied by tenants.

During the 2008 Show House, Green Initiatives were utilized to renovate the hallways and apartment.  New garage doors were added, along with French Doors on the second floor to the original hay loft storage area.  The elegant iron terrace was also added.  Carriage house renovation was a collaboration of Polo Master Builders, Hiland Turner Architects, Peter Salerno, Inc. and J&M Lifestyles.

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