Elegance Personified
 
Elegance Personified
 

Instead of downsizing as many empty nesters do after the children leave home, a couple who were long-time Bergen County residents decided to build a home that would accommodate not only their needs as they grow older, but also be a welcoming, comfortable place for their ever-expanding family to enjoy. It would be a home that would cater to both the needs of their aging parents and visits from their numerous grandchildren who ranged in age from toddlers to teenagers.

They built a palatial 20-room, 15,000-square-foot, center-hall Colonial with six bedrooms and seven baths on two acres in Alpine, designed by architects Roland Scharpfspitz & Associates. Rona J. Spiegel of Lifestyle Interior Designs, LTD, designed the elegant interiors utilizing the principles of universal design, a concept that is fast becoming an integral part of modern design philosophy. Ms. Spiegel explains that “universal design recognizes the need for barrier-free living spaces, providing easy mobility, access and independence for people of all ages.”

Using an open floor plan with wider hallways and doorways, her carefully thought-out design eliminated anything that could form a barrier. Larger bathrooms were built with grab bars, counter-height vanities, lever faucets and anti-scald plumbing. Using a basic tenet of universal design, which is to design things from the outset that support easy access, lever-style door handles were used throughout the residence, and each and every drawer and shelf pulls out for easy access.

For the toddlers, there are two playrooms, a nursery, and lots of storage for playpens, strollers and toys. Between the arts-and-crafts studio and the arcade room, there is plenty to keep the most restless teenager happily occupied. Everyone enjoys the 18-seat movie theater, pool, cabana and double-sized great room. As would be expected in a house committed to making lif