When young families quit the big city and their apartments for Sound Shore communities like Rye, Jennifer Howard is ready for them.
By Tom McDermott
When young families quit the big city and their apartments for Sound Shore communities like Rye, Jennifer Howard is ready for them. Actually, she’s been ready for them before they moved and, in more than one case, before they closed on their new home. She still remembers when she moved back here and, with her husband Rob, remodeled their own starter home.
When one Manhattan couple with 3-year-old twins headed for Mamaroneck and a contemporary split-level, Jennifer, along with her design team at JWH Design & Cabinetry began planning their new home with them well in advance of a moving. In this case, the team was remodeling the entire house, keeping to the original footprint, but the odd geometry of the kitchen and family rooms posed the most interesting space-design challenges. Grist for Howard’s mill.
“The space was tricky,” said Howard, “But we try to make things easy by educating the clients, walking them through architectural plans, alerting them to Houzz.com, and showing them 3-D plans.”
One look at JWH’s highly organized showroom is enough to convince clients and visitors that Howard knows how to optimize the use of space, plan each detail, and collaborate with her team and clients. “Our approach is 100 percent different from the way others do it. Not everyone has ten-foot ceilings,” she explains. The process is the same whether her team – eight in-house staffers, plus 14 in the field – is in charge of a project, or she is working with other contractors and decorators. JWH might be working on 30 or more open projects of varying complexity at the same time: first homes, expanding family remodels, or empty-nester transitions.
For this young couple, she wanted to create a welcoming family area near the kitchen and dining space. More light was created by removing a major wall between the old kitchen and family room. Howard then opened up the space and sprayed light into it by relocating a window from a wall on the darker side of the house – replacing it with the TV. The change dramatically improved the flow from kitchen to family area, and created a brighter, more expansive look like you’d find in a beach house.
Unlike many local projects, this one did not involve any large addition of space. Instead, Howard and her team relied on her specialty, both an innate and experienced sense of how given spaces can be arranged and designed to maximize their potential. Each project is different, and the JWH concept and practice with interiors is the opposite of a “cookie-cutter” approach.
Cue the lime-colored island and fabric, plus accents on the shelves, which add a spritz of freshness to the entire space. Instead of overwhelming the rooms, the whimsical touch adds energy and youth, making the whites seem even brighter, creating a look that is both stylish and fun. “The special green was chosen by the client’s decorator to coordinate with the new fabrics, says Howard, “I like to introduce a unique touch to a client’s kitchen.”
Judging by client referrals and repeat business, clients like it too.