|A visit with Frank DelleDonne...
Today was an unusual day at the store....when Frank stopped by he had clothes on!!
My shop is lucky enough to be on his jog route. and when he stops by he is usually in his running clothes. You would never know by his unhurried visits he is currently working on a home in Africa, two Manhattan residences (one on 5th Avenue, another on Park Avenue), a farmhouse in New Jersey and a home on Lake Como in Italy.
Awarded by House Beautiful as one of the top 25 American designers and repeatedly noted by New York Spaces in their top 50, Frank DelleDonne is one of our local design heroes. Since his showhouse debut 20 years ago and his cover feature in House Beautiful, Frank has been sharing his talents and resources with clients of unique taste and style around the world. His designs include spectacular interiors as in the living room below from a 26,000 square foot home of empty nesters in New Jersey I DO have to say, I knew him when he was not yet globetrotting to design for the elite and he still possesses the warm, kind nature influenced by his humble roots.
The living room above is a three story space with walnut walls and figurative plaster detailing filled with antiques and clean lined furniture. During this four year project Frank worked hand in hand with the homeowners to achieve this home with a balance of formality and comfort. BUT lets take a tour of his home in Summit he so graciously agreed to share with my readers....
Frank has lived on a hillside in Summit, New Jersey for the last 15 years. Choosing Summit to be near his brother and sister, AND nieces and nephews, emphasizes his importance of family in his life.
A little history....
Upon graduating from Union High School Frank enrolled at Parsons School of Design and found a job in the New York garment center where he met his mentor, Lucille Deutsche Friedman (a couture fashion buyer). After becoming a colorist and forecaster for the North American and Canadian branch of a European sweater company he traveled with Lucille for years attending fashion shows in Europe while experiencing all life has to offer in Germany, France and Italy. Lucille encouraged him to follow his dream of becoming an interior designer and, after graduating from the New York School of Design, he pursued this path.
On his front steps the Neoclassic Greek key pattern, seen on the square planter, is the first example of Franks love of classicism seen throughout the home.
This burlwood Biedermeier is the center table in the open foyer. An antique Swedish Mora clock graces a narrow wall in the living area.
I must tell you this home is FULL of sunlight and it was hard to get a photo without the bright rays obscuring the shots. Lucky Frank to have such a light filled home.
To the right of the front door is this unique woven leather carved chair
and beautiful 19th century chinoiserie small table. Placing unusual one of a kind pieces in the entry communicates an important feel.
A left turn from the foyer takes you through the hall with this dramatic archway framing the kitchen/family room.
Frank inherited his family's villa in Italy where he vacations. Of all the beautiful pieces in his home this terracotta urn is the treasure he would run out of the house with if he had to grab just one thing. It is his Grandmother's urn she used for sausage, carried by him from Italy when he discovered it in the attic of the villa.
This table has a restored antique base with a new top finished by artists in Italy. The faux grain is so perfectly done it looks authentic even up close. Notice the dark herringbone floor.
Frank's Italian roots (his parents were immigrants) and love of food and cooking is evident in his well appointed kitchen. One of his favorite things is preparing meals for his close family as the kitchen bustles with their enjoyment of each other.
The industrial bowl on top of the fridge was one of my finds...I like the narrow slatted glass doors to the cabinet as it feels open without having to worry about the view of its contents.
Yellow ware and modern bowls warm the limed oak shelves next to 19th century pilasters hung as art.
The current trend of white marble in the kitchen has been around for centuries in Europe. Although the kitchen is 10 years old it looks as though it was just designed. This marble is heavily used but Frank is not worried about the marks that come along with his love of cooking.
He is a cutie AND tall which explains this high end of the island across from the cooktop.
A beautiful inlaid console table in the family room holds antique glass apothecary jars and family photos. I love the small mirror above the landscape painting. This circular form softens and completes the entire vignette.
The ceiling is soaring and the upper windows let in more wonderful light. Gorgeous fireplace!
In the powder room is a VERY old marble shelf Frank found. The backsplash was made to compliment the old marble. LOVE the mirror!
He added the leaf bough to complete the picture.
In the living room this antique stone piece is just the right size to hold a glass
while adding unique interest to the room.
A high cocktail table with beautiful veneer sits in front of this loose tufted sofa.
A spectacular Italian 18th century console table holds Frank's collection of precious unglazed Sevres pottery and antique santos. An antique Venetian mirror hangs above. Books stacked underneath on a rattan bench tone down the formality of the important console above
To the left of the console is this beautiful antique Biedermeier cabinet. The green glass blown jars and large buffalo check window treatments warm this room full of antiques. Frank enjoys using important pieces but designing the space to be comfortable as well.
An antique parquetry table compliments this modern wing chair. Don't you love the two tone upholstered back? The worn kilim pillow softens the modern lines of the chair.
This architectural piece adds character as it is used as a table. I happen to LOVE using outdoor stone items indoors as shown on the table.
An ornately carved antique chair and Mora Clock existing harmoniously with modern pieces. Frank believes you should mix centuries when furnishing a room to create a timeless design.
The library is inviting with its Art Deco chair and metal table and chair. The black and white stone floor is a cool contrast to the beautiful garden view outside
The built in desk with velvet tufted chair, paint and gilded mirror, tusk scuplture and family photos.
A dramatic curved stair with a small lantern leads to the second floor.
The master bedroom is furnished in soothing hues. Notice the modern abstract above and the Greek key border to the area rug placed on top of the carpeting.
A commode used bedside is always a favorite design element of mine.
Early 19th century Biedermeier across from the bed and simple window treatments.
Sumptuious master bathroom!!
Unusual antique carved chair in the closet.
The upstairs hallway with architectural prints and twist candlesticks.
The guest room where his nieces and nephews spend the night with herbiers hanging. Small wall mounted table between upholstered headboards.
This view of the living room and foyer shows how Frank creates elegant yet comfortable rooms.
In town Frank is also known for his beautiful gardens and exterior areas.
The sundial he found at my shop.
Lush and peaceful...
And now some of his designs from his many clients.
Pictured above is an expansive entry foyer with cutom furniture and detailing.
Notice the reclaimed limestone flooring.
This library has custom mahogany book matched walls and Art Deco inspired leather chairs. The limestone fireplace is a reproduction of an antique seen in Rome.
Notice the paneling behind the lamps and the twist detail on alternating ballusters and the plaster molding. Spectacular!!
The back stair (my favorite) is three story and has a custom French railing, pendant lantern and framed herbiers.
When Frank stopped by after his return from one of his projects in Lake Como (no, he didn't dine with George Clooney) we discussed a few things...
He shared his most important design element as SCALE "it's always about scale". His most desired future find would be "anything from the Herculleum Pompeiian period. The true classicism of the period transcends into modern design and works with any environment".
as in the following examples...
Franks current pick from my inventory he feels would look wonderful in any home is below...
Swedish Period Gustavian Chairs
Covered in steel gray and cream silk, set of 10 SWEDEN
originally purchased from Florian Papp Antiques New York
Inv. 52, h 33.75, w 19, d 16.25
Along with many of you, I am a strong believer in the ability to create your own experiences by the Karma we share with others. I feel Frank is a great example of this and thank him for his kindness, his time and his willingness to share himself with us. He really is a great guy! I can't wait to see pictures of his latest projects.
a few things...
please go to the interiors picture at the bottom of my web page to see the information on the ready made window panels I now offer AND THE SHIPMENT FROM EUROPE ARRIVED TODAY!! stay tuned for information regarding details. As you know I will do my best to get the pictures out there right away.
and, lastly, a personal note...
I was thinking today there should be an expiration year for when we have to encourage our children for every creative idea they have. Several weeks ago my 21 year old niece requested that we dress as Pilgrims and Indians this Thanksgiving! (Why not, she doesn't have to think about cooking!, let's add ANOTHER thing to my list!!) None of us wanted to be the party pooper so, yes, it's true it IS going to happen. Last week my mother commented "Oh I have to make your father's shoe buckles before I go in to the hospital" for surgery for goodness sake!! Insanity!! My one sister reminded us we do a progressive dinner and will have to walk around town like this. (REALLY, public display is not our thing especially when we will be in period garb, oh dear!) My 3 sisters and I all live 1/2 mile from each others' home so a few years ago we started this walk to each house for a different course. It's fun to walk with your nieces and nephews and chat, etc. along the way AND we get a little exercise. BUT I don't know about THIS!! I'll let you know....
Hope you have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING !! I am so fortunate to work at what I love to do and know you all have a huge part in allowing me to keep hunting for treasures!!
Best regards, x0x0x0
Bonny Neiman Stylish Antiques
12 Beechwood Road Summit, NJ
Like us on Facebook