July 6, 2016

Marjorie Baldinger Creates a Suburban Dream House

For a couple with two children building their suburban dream house with all the mod cons, Marjorie Baldinger creates a style-filled contemporary haven. Stylist: Kevin Hertzog

by Judith Nasatir interior designer Marjorie Baldinger photographer Phillip Ennis architecture Gary Savitzky


The past as predictor? Often, but not always. Take, for example, the chic, up-to-tempo interiors that Marjorie Baldinger has created for this family of four and their adorable pooch Maggie in their expansive, newly built Westchester home base. Baldinger had previously done a country house and a very traditional city apartment for these clients, working very closely with the wife, whom she calls "practically a second daughter." So it came as a surprise when they asked, as they were starting this place, "do you do modern?"

A hand-painted mural from Fresco Decorative Painting by Noah Post and Chino animates a children’s playroom outfitted with sofas and ottoman from B&B Italia

Of the school of pros who can deliver rooms of great style in whatever the mode of choice, Baldinger set to work to pull together a plan and a palette of materials, colors, and furnishings. Brought early onto the huge project—a multi-bedroom, 14,000-square-foot house with a pool house and such wish-fulfilling spaces as four kitchens, gym, music room, library, family room, children's playroom, movie theater, indoor basketball court—she worked with architect Gary Savitzky to tweak the floor plan and shape details, such as moldings and the central stair, to enhance graciousness and flow.

The pool house features floors from Porcelanosa, a Boffi fan, and a Bulthaup kitchen.

"The family wanted a clean slate and a different look," says Baldinger, "so everything in the house is new." Textures, particularly on walls, add understated luxury to each room: Venetian plaster in the foyer, linen in the dining room, satin wood in the library, and parchment in the living room are just a few of the options. Artworks from the 20th and 21st centuries provide occasional pops of strong color, and a mural commissioned for the children's playroom provides a cheeky, humorous touch of the street.

In the butler’s pantry are shelves from Urban Archaeology, reclaimed stone floors from Paris Ceramics, and silver-leafed walls.

Furnishings swerve classically modern, with contemporary selections to inject startling, happy notes. Comfort and clarity of line stay front and center. Zesting up the entry hall, for instance, are a Fornasetti chest, Mattia Bonetti table, and sconces by Alison Berger. The living room pairs a duo of Le Corbusier-designed chairs with a pair of sofas sporting Jean-Michel Frank-style profiles. In the linen-wrapped dining room, a Dakota Jackson table, chairs from J. Robert Scott, and a ceiling cove in platinum leaf set a tone of relaxed formality.

The project took four and a half years, says Baldinger, explaining: "When they bought the property, they couldn't blast out the boulders because the neighbor wouldn't permit it. All the rock was chipped away by hand." Pausing, she adds, "they are the most gracious couple."

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