Third time is a beautiful charm for Stately Homes by the Sea’s latest designer show home benefitting the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey.

Holly Hill, built in 1934


Holly Hill a Georgian Colonial in Locust, NJ (near Middletown), is both rich in history and, thanks to 40 fancy-pants decorators, landscape architects and craftsmen working since January, rich in design.

“We try to have lots of different looks, a good mix,” said Tony Manning, show house consultant, during my exclusive tour last week.  “The Moroccan Dining Room is different from the contemporary Great Room.”

The historic home, built in 1934 by New Jersey state senator and superior court Judge Thomas Brown, is impressively decorated

"Floating" staircase to the "stinger" sundeck

with respect to the home’s original architecture, property and awesome views of the Navesink and Ocean.

Holly Hill guests (15,000 visited the last show house in 2009) are invited to open its spectacular arched leaded glass front door and tour the main house, in addition to the pool house (featuring four grand Monticello windows opening to the frog-fountained pool) and 12 acres of lush formal gardens with terraces constructed from 1800’s era brownstone salvaged from Northern New Jersey railroad bridges.

Each living area in previous show homes seemed to scream “I am designed by…”, with none of the space’s over-the-top aesthetics flowing into one another.  Holly Hill’s designs are cohesive, thoughtful and offer visitors both actionable inspiration and fantastical memories.

From the whimsical pink and green Nursery designed by VHZ Design Group, to the “glitzy glamour” lush Master Bathroom by Mannarino Designs, to the rich and inviting Library by Darren Henault, everyone who visits Holly Hill will have a favorite space in the house.

My favorite, the sumptuously sunny yellow Living Room overlooking the “Birdland” garden by Scott Sanders is all about subtle details, including hand-blown tall glass bottles that glow in the daylight and a linen rug so luxurious I want to marry it.

View from Holly Hill's Birdland patio garden


“Living rooms are getting a bad rap lately – people don’t use them,” said Sanders.  “I wanted to create a usable, inviting space and was initially inspired by the fantastic light coming through the French doors.”

One of Holly Hill’s guest bedrooms was transformed into a “Woman’s Room” by Brookdale Community College’s interior design group featuring accessories from Shelter Home, House of Modern Living and Monmouth Glass Works.

“We were inspired by a 1930’s Good Housekeeping article that said good design produces and perpetuates perfection,” said Erin Foster, project manager for Brookdale College’s room.

The whimsical Swede’s Hut in the rear of the property is also a tribute to Holly Hill’s owner’s son who perished on 9/11.

Other impressive details at Holly Hill include the ivy pattern-embossed original copper gutters, “floating” staircase leading to the “Stinger” sunroof named for the popular ‘60’s cockail and private pond.

The property is inspiring, historic and of course, worth a visit.

Proceeds from Stately Homes by-the-Sea Show House Events are used to benefit the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey which provides home care, hospice and community-based programs and services to 127,000 individuals in Asbury Park and throughout Central New Jersey each year.

Stately Homes by the Sea 2011 at Holly Hill, 813 Navesink River Road, Locust, NJ.  Open Tuesday to Sunday until June 12.  Tickets $35 at StatelyHomesByTheSea.com.

Win tickets by emailing Richard@TheBPlot.com.  Include “Holly Hill” in the subject line.

Keep reading:  Click here to learn more about the history of Holly Hill.

Click here for tips from Scott Sanders about how to create your own show home. 

Photos courtesy of Shine Bright Studios.