There’s been had a lot of talk about teardowns and homes that seem incongruous in relation to the homes around them, but here’s a look at an older home at 465 Park Street that underwent a renovation without a radical change to its exterior height or footprint. 465 Park Street was purchased last year to be developed by a neighbor. The home, situated on a 1-acre wooded lot, was renovated by the team of Rachael Grochowski of RHG Design, acting as design architect, Sionas Architecture (Paul Sionas and Rick Jarzembowski) as the structural architects, and contractor Jack Finn.
The newly renovated house, which sold a few weeks ago to a buyer before being listed, came in at 7,262 square feet (5,858 of living space), and includes 5 bedrooms and 5 ½ baths, a chef’s kitchen, theater/media room, exercise room with a focus on environmentally green elements.
Says Grochowski, “465 Park was a project developed with the notion of how people live today. As a team, we discussed lifestyle and how it conflicts with the individual room layout of many homes in Montclair. I often have people who want an addition that includes an open plan with eat in kitchen, sitting area, master bedroom above, but then they don’t use the existing part of their home. I can’t tell you how many people say the never use their dining room. The objective with this home was to make the existing spaces more usable for modern families and connect the interior with the exterior, one of my personal objectives on all projects.”
Grochowski and Finn said they spoke often about who the buyer would be.
“We imagined a family with children, but tried to consider other possibilities such as the extended family or even someone downsizing. Wanting to preserve the overall exterior aesthetic and yet respond to the desire for an more modern open plan I began walking the fine line between traditional and modern design (or establishing a transitional),” adds Grochowski, who says creating a balance of interesting, modern texture with traditional details was the challenge and goal.
“For example, I selected walnut (a traditional wood) for the kitchen cabinetry with a bleach-look finish (a modern aesthetic). This balance connects with the common desire for a Montclair buyer of loving the older traditional homes and a modern lifestyle. Green or environmentally sensitive finishes were used as a general practice for this team.”
Making sure not to over-scale the house was a concern, says Grochowski.
“We considered what additional rooms we had to have and which had to be larger,” she says. “We made trade offs such as leaving the master bedroom slightly smaller for the overall square footage of the home. We added a family room off the back which required a basement and provided a great opportunity to have a generous lower level including a bar, media room, and fitness room that walk out at grade. The additional square footage in the area alone was significant. The family room addition with a vaulted ceiling really increased the livability of the first floor. The whole family can be within ear shot and sight of each other. We enlarged the kitchen, added a mud room and first floor laundry room, spaces many clients ask to add to their homes. Extensive landscaping was also completed, making this a much more inviting home.