A brand-new home serves as a spare, streamlined stage
Nicole Rose loves making a statement. Her house on North Street with its clean white exterior, striking metal roof, and exquisite interior is testament to her passion for beauty. She’s in her element giving gorgeous dinner parties—creating and sharing her passions for food, fashion, and design with friends and family.
In 1999, Nicole and husband Andrew, a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley, moved into a tiny antique on North Street. “Already, we had visions of building our dream home,” Andrew says. “It just took us a little time to get there.” Three years ago, the couple finished building the house of their dreams on the same piece of property, but up the hill and away from the road. David Adams from Design Build, Inc., in Ridgefield helped the Roses with their plan. “You hear about these builders who don’t listen to their clients,” says Andrew. “We were adamant about our vision, and Design Build executed beautifully.”
“First, we had to knock down the old house,” Andrew says of the 1835 antique. “The whole project took about 14 months.” The Rose family, Nicole, Andrew, their daughter, and son, moved to an apartment for the renovation. “The pitch of the property was probably the biggest challenge,” admits builder Adams. “Flattening out the site for the house was difficult. Once we got that accomplished, the project was about creating the fun, interesting house Nicole had envisioned. This is a unique house, but it is part of a trend of people building smaller-scale houses with more useful space, interesting details, and spare trim.”
“I wanted a restrained house with clean lines,” says Nicole, who approaches food, entertaining, fashion, music, and furniture with the deliberate passion of an artist. Each room feels like a distinct canvas that Nicole has “painted” with wallpaper, tiles, furniture, lighting, and art. “I like to mix and match materials—Lucite, wood, fur, mirror, glass, and metals,” says Nicole, “and stick mostly to a grey, chrome, black, and white color scheme.”
First she stained the floors throughout the house a deep brown. Getting the right color for the floors was a challenge that paid off, as it grounds the design and helps create a cohesive look. Large openings between rooms increase the flow for entertaining and everyday living, inviting the eye as well as guests to wander from one room to another.
In the two-story foyer, Nicole installed grey faux-crocodile wallpaper that begs to be touched. The vintage glass chandelier in the entry hall is one of many distinct lighting features in the Rose home. The stylish living room is the perfect stage for Nicole’s design. A stunning portrait of 1970s supermodel Twiggy pulls guests in. On the adjoining wall, two mirror panels flank a huge, white, brick fireplace. Cowhide rugs, a large gold settee, and a distinctive vintage lamp all add flair without disrupting the unity of the room. A pair of pink chairs provides a rare pop of color to the home’s otherwise monochromatic scheme.
Nicole and Andrew met while she was getting a master’s in nutrition from NYU. “Right now, I’m starting a design business, but nutrition totally fits into what I’m doing with entertaining and raising kids. We eat healthy. I love to cook. It’s all part of the same thing.” Nicole also enjoys distance running—she competed in the Miami Marathon this past January.
Nicole designed the kitchen around entertaining. On a recent Saturday, she served dinner to 14 guests at the custom marble table in the kitchen. “I wanted it to be like a New York restaurant—beautiful food; like a communal table.”
“I don’t go small. I like pieces with serious power,” she says, pointing out her Traulsen glass-door refrigerator, which stands on wheels and looks almost like a sculpture. The enormous porcelain kitchen sink is vintage, but Nicole put modern fixtures on it.
The stainless-steel counters are free of extraneous objects, allowing two paintings and a French pastry scale to stand out with sophisticated glamour. White enamel tile on the wall above the stove contributes to the clean feel of the room and also reflects light. There are no upper cabinets. “I didn’t want clutter,” Nicole says.
The wonderful butler’s pantry provides wall-to-wall storage for everything Nicole needs close at hand. “I’ve been very organized since I was six years old,” she admits. The evidence shows in the orderly stacks of dishes and non-perishable foods. There’s even a desk within the relatively small confines of the pantry. She also has added attractive white-lacquered cabinets in between the kitchen and dining room for more storage.
The dining room has metallic wallpaper, which exemplifies Nicole’s penchant for picking rich, reflective surfaces that prevent the house from feeling too sterile. The custom zinc dining table is another example of her preference for large statement pieces that are both beautiful and functional.
Nicole calls the downstairs half-bath her Studio 54 bathroom. Bold Osborne & Little wallpaper and an oval mirror give the bathroom a lounge feel. Her preferences for cool, sophisticated, and beautiful continue with the four bedrooms upstairs. The master bedroom features a large gold vintage bed. A black vintage desk reflects her interest in 1970s Italian modern furniture. A metallic Water-works tub reflects the black and white floor and is another statement piece. In fact, these “power pieces” are so compelling that the viewer doesn’t remember seeing a light switch, garbage can, television, or toilet-paper roll during the house tour, although these everyday objects are surely present.
The Roses’ eight-year-old son shares both his mom’s hair color and her designer eye. Together they chose a dark, saturated grey for his bedroom walls. Nicole commissioned two graffiti paintings by a local teenager and hung a large papier-maché antelope over her son’s bed to create a room for her “Mini-Me.” Performing arts is currently her daughter’s chosen form of expression, and Nicole plans to transform her daughter’s room with pink bohemian-chic wallpaper. Overnight guests at the Rose home might feel like they are in a hip hotel. The bathroom boasts a large shower tiled in half-inch, black-tumbled marble squares.
With her passion for beauty and entertaining, high energy, fantastic hair, and chic shoes, Nicole Rose could make an excellent
personality on the Food Network or HGTV. But for now, she is content to just play it cool.