Tour a “Funky Traditional” New Jersey Home That Fully Embraces Power Clashing

The first question interior designer Fawn Galli asked the owners of this updated colonial home located in Summit, New Jersey, was: “On a scale from one to 10, how groovy are you?” Both clients answered with a 7.5. Nonetheless, Galli needed more than just one simple metric in order to understand the overall aesthetic direction of this lively family of five. Soon enough, she had her clients and their children make a Pinterest board to help zero in on their collective tastes. She also took careful note of their clothing styles and interpersonal dynamics.

Despite this careful attention to detail, the entire design process was, as Galli puts it, intuitive. “I’m [uninterested in] rubber stamping my voice onto hundreds of interiors,” she says. Instead, Galli hopes to push clients to inhabit a dream home that they never even knew they wanted. In other words: “I [want to] help clients find their design voice.”

In the case of this specific design project, that meant creating a home office suffused with musical instruments and one swing chair–appointed bedroom. It also meant more standard additions to the dwelling, such as media and exercise rooms, and a collection of carefully picked art.

Galli decorated the home with a focus on vibrant common areas in order to promote togetherness. Over the course of the pandemic, these rooms certainly came in handy, as did designated zones intended to allow her clients the ability to recharge in private. In fact, the family was so grateful to have such a spirited space in which to quarantine that they called Galli to thank her once the pandemic hit.

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“I love when things have a weird sparkle,” Galli reflects. In the case of this home, her guiding ethos was to “jazz up the traditional” in a style that she refers to as “funky traditional.” The exterior of the house, with its all-white façade, is admittedly charming—but it belies Galli’s more layered interior compositions. Inside, an eclectic blend of vintage and modern elements can be seen, while colorful prints and textures are sprinkled throughout.

Not surprisingly, Galli’s design scheme was inspired in part by her book Magical Rooms: Elements of Interior Design, which outlines a system of five central decorating tenets: an appreciation for nature, surrealism, and bohemianism, coupled with a healthy appreciation for clashing attributes and a hint of sparkle.

The designer is also “100% committed to creating people’s fantasies.” In an earlier iteration of this house, the poolside decor skewed more toward traditional wicker. Now, the poolside cabana has been revamped thanks to the addition of raffia wallpaper and a tiki bar, so that the house’s inhabitants can always “feel like they are on vacation.” (Fittingly, the cabana is their preferred whimsical oasis on the property.) But, of course, it’s hardly the only fantastical area within sight.

According to Galli, the pool cabana is the family’s favorite area of the home. The ceiling wallpaper, by House of Hackney, transforms the space into a fantastical oasis. The beige inset wallpaper is also by House of Hackney, while the dining chairs are from Fermob. The wooden dining table is from RH.

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