When New Jersey natives Donna and Lou DeStefano began building their home in Mediterra, they were driven by a desire to create a gathering spot for family and friends.
“We are firm believers that our home is everyone’s home,” Donna explains. For about a year, the two devoted their creative energy toward designing a spacious house that incorporated all the elements that they desired. That included a kitchen much larger than that of their original Mediterra dwelling and a luxurious outdoor space that was well–suited for all sorts of entertaining.
The DeStefanos contracted with Bordeaux Homes to build the 5,900-square-foot traditional residence that has a definitive European style. Immediately, interior designer MaryBeth Binkley-Gill, of Norris Home Furnishings, was added to the team to help with everything from selecting the driveway pavers to creating the pool to choosing furnishings, fabrics and flooring that were integrated throughout the house.
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A rich color palette of browns, soft gold and cinnabar was selected to enhance the entire living space, in which layers of creamy white moldings add elegance to each room. “I’m the type that has to go with what I love,” Donna says, adding that she adores the rich, warm woods and beautiful fabrics within the autumn color scheme.
The home’s traditional kitchen was created in gourmet style. “She loves to cook,” explains designer Binkley-Gill of the homeowner. The six-burner Wolf range and oven are among Donna’s favorite appliances.
Unique to this home, Donna included a “babe cave,” designed with a French flair to serve as her own retreat. Here, an heirloom secretary from her husband’s side of the family was refreshed with a faux finish and set the tone for the den-like room.
Throughout both public and private spaces in the home, the DeStefanos integrated personal items and family heirlooms with new furnishings and cabinetry. Just off the dining room, they added a wine cellar to accommodate Lou’s collection, which is conveniently available to pair with courses during dinner parties.
Last spring brought the culmination of this couple’s recent design endeavor, in which both DeStefanos devoted much creative energy. Lou spent his career designing and importing athletic shoes, including the first athletic shoe in the Donna Karan line. Donna DeStefano, the daughter of a landscape architect and granddaughter of a florist, has focused her own creativity within their three homes—from her cooking to the overall design appeal of each house.
“It was a great experience,” Donna says of the design process. “I love the experience. The meetings … everything about it.”
Rich wooden cabinetry provides the perfect backdrop for entertaining family and friends in the home’s great room. The adjoining bar allows easy access for refreshments, while guests enjoy the comfort of the casual seating space. A custom-made area rug from Nepal adds coziness to the space.
An elaborate outdoor dining area enhances the elegance of this Mediterra home. Whether an evening involves intimate cocktails by the fire or a dinner party with friends, the home provides a range of venues for seating guests. “I love entertaining outside,” Donna DeStefano says. “We wanted that outdoor living room.”
A Study of Treasures
Three cherished possessions were incorporated into the home’s study: a family heirloom English desk, porcelain elephants given to Donna by her mother, and a lion pelt rug that was a gift from a family friend. Binkley-Gill further coordinated leopard-print chair upholstery from Henredon and a Hooker French bookcase.
Small details such as the headboard’s mirrored trim and matching bedside chandeliers create a sense of understated glamour in the master suite. Unique base lighting under the nightstands provides a soft glow and adds a relaxed ambiance to the room.
ARCHITECT The Weber Design Group
BUILDER Bordeaux Homes
DESIGNER MaryBeth Binkley-Gill, Norris Home Furnishings
PHOTOGRAPHER Doug Thompson