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Breaking Tradition

Date published: September 09 2017

Chester, New Jersey

Click here to visit Matthew Frederick Website >>

Matthew Frederick and his wife wanted a home that could act as a strong departure from the American colonial style

Situated just 45 minutes to the West of the hustle and bustle of downtown Manhattan and all its shops, office blocks and other high-rise towers, one ambitious couple chose to build a new project - a home in fact - in the small borough of Chester, New Jersey.

Matthew Frederick and his wife explain that they had a very specific design brief for their new family home. The question was not so much how to fit in with the design and architecture of the dwellings that would lie around them in their new neighbourhood, but how to create something that was in fact quite unlike that. The couple explain that they wanted a home that could act as ‘a strong departure from the centre hall, American colonial style’ that was so prevalent in their region.

Matthew goes on to say that his desire was for a building with tall, bright windows and lean but textured stucco siding with copper details throughout. But he says he did not want it to be an absolute departure from the area’s surrounding homes. The home would definitely have to be decidedly European, but still related to, and have a relevant context to the area.

In fact, the home’s lush surroundings were actually celebrated when it came to one aspect of the construction. In addition to Matthew’s hopes for his home to sit in harmony with those around it, the large entry foyer windows were specially created to take specific advantage of the sweeping views that fanned out behind the house. In another structurally tactical move, the long interior corridors allowed for the strategic placement of art for the optimal viewing experience.

Once the technical drawings for the property were drawn up and finalised, the pace of the construction was actually very swift, Matthew remembers. Working alongside his team, he was able to make the most of the important selections about the home well ahead of time. 

He even managed to make sure that all of the required items were delivered in advance of the construction itself, which allowed the family to move in just six months after they first broke ground on the site.

It also helped that all of the upholstered furniture for the home was bespoke made and was created specifically for the residence. Of particular note is the over-scaled Asian cocktail
table that you find in the living room, which was one of a number of vintage finds in the home.

Also sourced from the past, as it were, are the pair of Demi-lune tables paired as a focal point in the entry foyer beneath its impressive windows. Another vintage piece is the Hermes beach wrap, which was uncovered in a Parisian flea market. After a sympathetic framing, the wrap fitted perfectly over the impressive master bath.

Matthew says that one of his favourite parts of the new home is the vaulted ceiling in the foyer, which he says ‘creates an inviting volume without feeling empty.’ It actually seems as if all the art here, the furnishings and even the flowers exist as if the room was made specifically for them, and it was the main focal point of the whole home.

Finally, Matthew says that he and his family are extremely happy with the house - but that for them it is just the beginning of the next chapter. They enjoyed the experience of the project so much that they have already sold the Chester home and are now working on another property, which they aim to breathe new life into once more.

The difference this time is that the home will be even larger than the one on the outskirts of New York City - the family tantalisingly describe it as being ‘larger, on a more expansive, private lot.’ It will certainly be fascinating to see what they come up with.

Photographs: John Bessler

Designer: Matthew Frederick

Author: Jake Kennedy

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