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N.J. home makeover: 2 bedrooms become a modern master suite

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N.J. home makeover: Basking Ridge
27

N.J. home makeover is a regular feature on NJ.com that showcases designer, contractor and DIY renovations, large and small. To submit your renovation for consideration, email home@starledger.com with your full name, email address, phone number and town/city. Attach "before" and "after" photos of what you renovated.


Arturo and Marianne Banegas had a vision for how the three levels of their Basking Ridge home could better serve their family of four.

It required new hardwood floors on the upper levels, and a good amount of rearranging throughout.

Their first-floor master bedroom became a family room, and their walk-in closet became the new laundry room. The former laundry room, off the garage, was a better place for a mud room to hang their coats and bags or to sit down and change shoes before entering the house.

The master bathroom was converted to an artist's studio where Marianne Banegas makes jewelry near a new family room that opens to the kitchen and a casual dining area. Her husband, a lawyer, also has a first-floor home office.

They had the rooms painted in colors they enjoy, and prepared the bones of the second floor for the second phase of their renovation. In their finished basement, they updated a family lounge with vinyl plank flooring that resembles wood.

Then they needed a break.

"We were living in the basement while they were doing the upstairs area," Marianne Banegas said. Fortunately, their walk-out basement has a small apartment believed to have been outfitted for a live-in nanny. During the first phase of their home renovation, the Barnegas family, including their daughter and son, lived in the apartment for about six months. 

Originally, their 2,769-square-foot house had five bedrooms, four of which were on the second floor. In anticipation of the next phase of home improvement, Arturo and Marianne Banegas turned their attention to two of those bedrooms. The wall between them would be torn down.

"We put together the two rooms at the end of the hall to make it a master suite," Marianne Banegas said.

"When we started living here, our children were younger, and we didn't want them to go up and down the stairs to get to us," she said. "We didn't feel comfortable with us being downstairs and them being upstairs."

Together, the two bedrooms gave them a rectangular footprint of nearly 300 square feet for their new bedroom. They decided to live in the open space for almost two years to help them figure out how their master suite should be configured.

They had previously renovated a home with an architect in Venezuela, where they are from, and that experience informed their process for the Basking Ridge house.

"The only thing we couldn't figure out was where to put the closet," Marianne Banegas said.

Their renovation contractor recommended Martina Servos, an architect and interior designer who took their ideas and devised a floor plan to include a bathroom, dressing area and seperate closets.

"They knew what they wanted in terms of style, and they were very open in terms of layout," Servos said.

The suite she designed for them features clean, disciplined lines that support their preference for mid-century modern decor and furnishings. New walls were built to divide the space for the sleeping area, a closet area and the bathroom, which occupies a third of the suite.

"I go into my bathroom, and I feel like I'm in a hotel," Marianne Banegas said.

To enhance a sense of openness and avoid blocking views of the bathroom's glamorous features, Servos gave them a bathroom without an entry door. Behind one frosted glass enclosure, a toilet is tucked within the private space of a water closet. Matching glass surrounds the shower, for which they had to borrow a bit more space from one of the other three full bathrooms.

On the wall where a long custom walnut vanity spans the length, there is more glass in blue subway tiles. The vanity, topped with Caesarstone quartz, offers grooming and storage areas for husband and wife, with sinks, mirrors and mod cabinetry on either side of a window.

For the floor, they chose moisture-friendly natural stone tiles in planks that replicate wood. The same tile is cut into small squares for a different effect on the shower floor.

Between the master bathroom wall and a second new wall there is a spacious niche with a series of white doors that shutter closets. The entrance to a hall closet was reversed for another closet on the other side of the master bathroom entrance.

The bedroom has a minimalist aesthetic, and on one wall, Servos had quiet stripes painted in different finishes of Benjamin Moore's Stone Harbor gray. "We painted 12-inch stripes in high-gloss and matte," she said. "That creates a bit of a detail without taking too much of your attention."

Marianne Banegas says they are quite pleased with their renovated 1995 home and the spaces it has created for them and their children, now 12 and 14. 

"We liked the bones of the house and its open concept," she said. "It had great potential that we really took advantage of to make it work for our family lifestyle. The house is not very big, but it has everything very well placed. Every person has their own space, and on the second floor, each bedroom has its own bathroom, which is really convenient and nobody fights."

What they renovated

They combined two second-floor bedrooms to make one 290-square-foot master suite

Who did the work

Gary Novello of Statewide Contracting in Bridgewater and Martina Servos of Lemon Grass Design

How long it took

They renovated in phases, the first of which took about 8 months. The second phase took about five months.

What they spent

About $100,000 for the entire project

Where they splurged

In the master suite. The cabinetry for the bathroom and closets was carpenter-built in walnut wood. Their bed and nightstands also were custom built.

How they saved

"We did not touch the kitchen," Marianne Banegas said. "It's not my favorite, but it works for us." 

What they did themselves

"We had the ideas for the changes and style we wanted inside the house, and Gary and Martina interpreted them very well and made them a reality. We talked about our our ideas, and they understood us very well."

What they like most

The master suite and bathroom, specifically. They also like how the breakfast area and family room turned out with the modified original fireplace. The double-sided fireplace that divides the two spaces was refaced with concrete for an update that meshes with their mid-century decor and furnishings.

What they'd have done differently

Nothing. "If we have to remodel a house again here, I would put together the same team," Marianne Banegas said. "It was a process. We really enjoyed living the transformation."

Kimberly L. Jackson may be reached at home@starledger.com. Find NJ.com Entertainment on Facebook.

Source : http://www.nj.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2018/04/nj_home_makeover_basking_ridge.html

N.J. home makeover: 2 bedrooms become a modern master suite
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