Well Studied

Well Studied …From the pages of Suburban Home and Garden…

The home study is an interesting design dilemma. It has to be comfortable enough so you’ll want to spend time there, but not so comfortable that all you want to do there is close your eyes and take a nap. Gloria Donnon and Doug West believe they’ve found the perfect balance in their Moorestown study that they designed themselves -- and that’s because they are true students of design. West is the president and sole proprietor of Centennial Construction, a firm that specializes in the building and design of custom homes. His wife has a background in interior design and is the president of Moorestown’s Omni Realty. When the couple decides that it’s time to decorate a room, the first place they head to is...Vegas. Gloria Donnon explains why they make the trip. “Vegas is where the builders’ trade shows are held,” she says. “We go out, pick up the latest ideas and come back and redesign houses.” Donnon says that design trends they see out west often take 10 years or more to become popular on the east coast. By taking these trends into account, they can be sure that the amenities they provide for themselves and their clients are cutting edge. This is evident in the study they designed, which acts as the hub for West’s business. He used to have space in an office building that he owns, but found that there was always someone waiting to talk to him and he couldn’t get as much work done as he’d like. Now in his study he can concentrate on what he’s doing while being among the comforts of home.

And it is ultra-comfortable. Much of the furniture and artwork was purchased during a trip to New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina. It includes a cherry-wood executive-style desk and beautiful desk chair with a smooth kid-leather finish. West waxes poetic about the chair, whose frame is rock maple, saying it was far superior to anything he had ever seen before. Though he won’t say what he paid for the chair, which retailed for $4,000, he will say that he negotiated well.

Other highlights of the room include the silk-blend drapes done by The Medford Group and the faux-painted crown molding that lines the 10-foot-ceilings, painted by Keith Lyons of Collingswood. The carpet is a silk French Aubusson design from San Francisco. While the couple relies heavily on the professional help they receive, they definitely provide the artisans that work with them with a lot of input.

“Our decor, good, bad or indifferent, is designed by both of us,” says West. “We bring in some help with our draperies. We tell them what we want; they bring us fabric. Based on discussions, we select those fabrics and then they get them made.”

With such luxurious surroundings, it’s no wonder that West is drawn to spend one to four hours a day there everyday. “The study is a pleasant room,” he says. “It’s calming, but it has a masculine feel.” One of the things that makes the room especially homey is the memorabilia West has chosen to display. These include portraits of his parents and a framed map of Texas (where he’s from). Soon to join the walls is a framed Springfield rifle from the 1890s.

West also enjoys the room’s leather sofa. “When I want to be lazy I can just flop down on there...when it’s not covered in work drawings,” he says.

As winners of this month’s My House Beautiful Contest, Ms. Donnon and Mr. West received a $100 gift certificate for dinner at Braddock’s Tavern, 39 South Main Street, Medford, NJ 08055. 609.654.1604.

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Home and Garden, May 2006.
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Author: Stephanie Arasim Portnoy

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