One of the things we really love to do (and specialize in, if we do say so ourselves)  at JMI is bring historic charm back to antique homes that have been otherwise stripped of those features over the years. We strive to do this in a way that feels fresh and personal to our clients. The very best compliment we can receive is when our clients tells us, “Our house finally feels like our home.”

Recently we had the privilege of injecting a 1920’s charmer in Madison, NJ with our clients’ vibrant personality, signature style and all-around sense of joy, while also tackling a flow issue in the living room and renovating a 90’s bathroom to function better for their young family.


Like many of the antique homes in this part of the NJ/NYC/CT area, the living room is the first room you see when you come into this home, and there’s little space to create a separate entry.

Older homes are typically comprised of a group a smaller rooms (vs the more modern open floor plan we see in newer builds) but each room still needs to feel cohesive with the others; here you can see that the dining room is right off of the living room and therefore needs to feel related to the living room yet also have it’s own personality.

We were also challenged with a lack of natural light in the living room. Rather than trying to combat this with gallons of bright white paint, we leaned into the shadows, literally. By painting every inch of the living room in Farrow and Ball’s “Calamine”, a gorgeous clay-pink, we created a moment of delightful surprise and whimsy. Now, when guests walk through the door, they’re greeted by this ultra-flattering shade with tons of nuance.


Farrow and Ball “Calamine” brings levity and interest to the living room.

Using a cornering banquette helps maximize every inch of the living room.

Soane Britain’s “Acanthus Chintz” perfectly frames the view into the living. An antique pine chest serves as a landing spot for keys and mail.


The dining room already had some charming built-ins and was well proportioned for the clients’ round dining table. It’s dimensions also made it the perfect space to accent with this fabulous Soane Britain wallpaper that truly makes their blue and white china collection sing. Coordinating all trim and millwork in Farrow and Ball’s “Hague Blue” helped to ground the potentially busy pattern and was a nice echo to the stripes in the living room cornering banquette.



Farrow and Ball “Hague Blue” works well with the clients’ dishware.


Despite being short on square footage, the primary bedroom had the potential to be a perfect little jewel box of a room. By playing with scale via the climbing Lewis and Wood wallpaper and painting the ceiling, we were able to bring a visual “lift” that wasn’t there before.

And by swapping out the chunky, dark wood queen bed frame and bringing in an airy, performance fabric headboard, we were able to upgrade to a king size bed. Narrow but deep nightstands also helped us pull this off little trick.  The clients report that the room somehow feels bigger than when it was a just a queen!


Lewis and Wood’s “Adam’s Eden” in the primary bedroom.


Oh, the bathroom. So very many issues here. The clients disliked the general 90’s-ness of the existing bathroom, so we brought in something timeless and appropriate for a family with a young child (hello, hand shower!). This meant demo-ing a completely unnecessary wall, bringing in a clawfoot tub and upgrading all the fixtures from outdated chrome to classic polished nickel. Our favorite aspect of this bathroom is the custom tile layout, which looks like it has always been there.


The delicate console sink looks right at home and doesn’t take up much visual “weight.”

There were many challenges on this project but overall we love how much of the clients’ personality shines through here.

*All photos by Raquel Langworthy.