Patti Smith’s client didn’t hire her for her rock-goddess name, but given his collection of electric guitars, she was perfect for the job. Newly divorced, the owner had his eye on this 3,000-square-foot house on
seven acres on a lake for several years before he finally bought it. Smith created a masculine, contemporary space with the vibe of a low-key, highly polished nightclub. “He was very stylish,” Smith says of her client. “You can tell when someone dresses a certain way that he’ll be willing to step out of the box a little bit.”
The transformation on the 1960s house begins with curb appeal. The New Jersey-based decorator had the builder replace the worn cedar siding with a stone- clad façade. Inside was a total gut. Out went the hunter-green Formica built-ins. In came a palette in various shades of gray. She opened up the eating and sitting spaces, installed fabricated wood floors, and created a hip yet practical kitchen (“which I doubt he ever uses”). A screened-in porch became an office, while the downstairs hallways, where his youngest son has a man cave, are lined with signed albums from The Beatles to Bon Jovi, and pieces from the client’s guitar collection are spread throughout the home. A new outdoor entertaining area overlooks the water.
What makes the house sing is Smith’s attention to detail. Smith says some clients won’t let her finish—they run out of money or patience. “If they could visualize what the little things are going to accomplish, I don’t think they’d put a stop to it.” This client certainly didn’t. Once the house was carpeted and painted, she sent him away for several days while her team brought in sleek furniture from Baker and Christopher Guy, placed accessories, and hung artwork, Romo wallpapers, and Holly Hunt light fixtures. It worked: “He was overwhelmed,” Smith says. Guess she was playing his song.
Designer: Patti Smith
P. Smith & Co.
(201) 670-3500; psmithdesign.com