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Best in Show- CW&I Wins 2014 Tulip Award at Mansion in May

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Deco-in-Bloom-3Well, the crowds have dispersed, and the results are in! At the Women’s Association of Morristown Medical Center’s “Mansion in May” fundraiser for the Morristown Medical Center,  the throngs of visitors choose the best designs to receive the showcase’s prestigious Tulip Award for “Best in Show”. This year, the votes were counted and Creative Wallcoverings & Interiors came out on top, with our “Deco in Bloom” design of a bedroom in the Blairsden Mansion in Peapack-Gladstone, NJ.

This is our second Tulip Award in the years we’ve been participating in “Mansion in May”, our first being in 2006 (our first year participating) for a nursery room design. This room  in the attic of the historic Ross Family Farm(the site of the 2006 Mansion in May showcase) could have been cramped and dark, but it was transformed into a cozy nursery combining child-like fun and classic elegance.


Our award-winning room this year was a bedroom inspired by American Art Deco design. “Deco in Bloom” is both glamorous and understated, and the more traditional lines of the room are contrasted with blooms of modern color, and broken up by curved ornamental elements. The various shades of grey provide a tranquil canvas from which the pink accent blossoms can really pop. To us, this juxtaposition represents the awakening of growth in design, especially in 2014, without forgetting the traditions and essentials of design that provide the foundation for further experimentation.

This year’s other winners were landscape designers Anthny Sblendorio (of Back to Nature of Oldwick) and William Welch (of BLDG 39 of Pottersville) for their collaborative transformation of Blairsden’s “Walled Garden” into a simple yet elegant outdoor retreat. Sculptural elements, combined with a central turf, broad walkways, and tidy flower planters, emphasize clean geometric principles while paying homage to the memory of the grand Victorian past of the landscape. We are honored to be in such good company with our fellow Tulip Award winners!Deco-in-Bloom-4

Our collaborating designers this year were Rachel Kapner, Lois Darling, Mary LaVecchia, and Virginia Liberato. We are looking forward to see what we can come up with next year!


Left to Right: Mary La Vecchia, Lois Darling, Rachel Kapner, Virginia Liberato

Photo Credits

Wing Wong
Mansion in May

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CWI Joins New Providence Senior Center In A Face Lift

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Text and Images: Christy Kass

After decades as the preferred gathering place of New Providence’s senior citizens – and sometimes others in the community – the
senior center is getting a face lift.

The project started nearly a year ago, when Virginia Liberato, who works at Creative Wallcoverings and Interiors in New Providence, was talking with people from the recreation department and found out that the senior center really needed updating.

“I grew up in this town,” Liberato said. “I remember when the senior center went up. I know how many people use it and I know what an important part of the community it is.”

Her father used to visit the senior center, and her mother still lives in town, so Liberato said she’s aware of how much the senior center means to New Providence. She met with Maureen Parker, grants and special needs coordinator; and Peggy Brodeur, senior center coordinator, to discuss what renovations the center needs. Liberato said that while she intended to get “a little involved” with the project, it wasn’t long before she was very involved. “It just needs a face lift,” she explained. “It needs new floors, bookcases, the entranceway needs redone… we want the center to be more inviting.”

Donated to the borough by the DeCorso family in 1959, the facility includes a library, solarium, kitchen and areas for presentations, performances, exhibits, games, exercise and parties. The Senior Citizens bus provides transportation to many of the center’s activities and events.

Once home to a bus company, the building hasn’t been redone since the 1970s, and the interior still has much of the original lighting, furniture and fixtures. Liberato, with input from Parker and Brodeur, put together two color schemes for the seniors to choose from, both neutral shades but one with more blues and the other with more greens. Samples of the colors are on boards that are on display in the center for the seniors to view and discuss.

The renovations are being done in phases so the seniors are not displaced. And even though they will be unable to use different rooms during the project, Brodeur said they are excited and supportive about the center getting an upgrade.

The only part of the building that’s had work done recently is the solarium. In 2002, the center received a grant from Union County and used the funds to build the solarium onto one side of the building. A business in Summit was remodeling and donated many of their plants, which lend a leafy green freshness to the room.

“We have some master gardeners who are members of the senior center, and they take care of the plants,” Brodeur said. There are also plants just outside the solarium, including flowers and vegetables.

Everyone is excited about the renovations, and Brodeur said it shows just how important a senior center is to any community. “It’s important for adults to have a place to go,” she said. “They are social and active and like to be with their peers. Kids always like to have a place to hang out and do the things they enjoy – senior citizens are no different.”

For more information on the Senior Center, visit

This article was originally posted by the Alternative Press

Crafts Senior Center

Members of the senior center enjoy a variety of activities, from crafts to gardening. 



The solarium is the newest room at the center. It was built with money received from the county in 2002

The New Providence Senior Center is about to undergo renovation to give it some much-needed updates

 The center's front entryway is one of the rooms that will be renovated to make it more inviting and to arrange the wealth of available information so it's easier to peruse

Two boards of samples are on display at the senior center for members to vote on the color scheme they like best

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Sheer Artistry

When Rachel Kapner graduated in 1990 from Roger Williams University with a major in Fine Arts, she was poised to be a fashion designer. Her affinity for fabrics and textiles, and her artful sense of style, had her contemplating attending the Fashion Institute of Technology. She had a change of heart.

Rachel joined the team at her mother, Dorothy Goldberg’s successful wallcoverings and design business, which she began with two partners 15 years earlier.

After all, she would still be employing her creative talents, and through the media of fabric, textile and color, transforming spaces into special places, turning rooms into refuges.

Now Chief Designer and President of Creative Wallcoverings & Interiors, Rachel has helped to create one of the premier design firms on the east coast, serving clients from New Jersey to Florida.

With 14 talented employees, including a team of award-winning designers, the New Providence, NJ-based, full-service interior design firm handles everything from custom window treatments and handcrafted custom upholstered furniture to lighting, and of course, designer wallcoverings. In fact, Creative Wallcoverings & Interiors boasts one of the largest libraries of fabrics and wallcoverings in the state.

After all these years, Creative Wallcoverings is still a family affair. Rachel’s husband, Gary Kapner, joined the firm 12 years ago as Vice President/General Manager, and Rachel’s mother — who started it all — continues to work part-time.

We recently sat down with Rachel to chat about the design business.

What advice do you offer to clients when you start work on a project?
Rachel: One of the things I do is ask clients to clip photos of interiors they don’t like.

That’s interesting. The advice is usually to clip out photos of things you do like . . .
Rachel: That’s helpful, but it’s also good to know what a client has a strong reaction against – for example, birds on pillows, particular colors or prints. From there we can work on what they do like. Another important consideration is to discuss the budget right away. This way, we can create a look that will work for the client’s pocketbook. What’s great is that in the last five years, manufacturers have been producing lines at different price points, so people can get the look they want for less.

Has that created more flexibility for you as a design showroom?
Rachel: Well, it certainly gives people more options. We have an extremely talented group of designers here. We love what we do! Our clients may not be moving, but they’re definitely updating their interiors.

Sounds like you’re busy . . .
Rachel: (chuckles) I have boundless energy. Today I was up at 4:30 a.m. and did some paperwork and got organized for the day. Now I’m on my way to Sea Girt to meet with a client. And then I’m back in the office. I have three client appointments in the evening, and then I’m checking on orders. I’ll be done at about 10 or 11 tonight.

Yikes . . .
Rachel: My husband Gary, our VP and General Manager, is a huge support. We balance each other perfectly. He’s developed a successful ‘organizational team strategy’, that focuses on service  and attention to detail  from the  onset of a project to its completion. Actually, it’s quite comforting for our clients, and me!

Are you seeing any design trends lately?
Rachel: For a while, the interiors in magazines and in fashion were a bit drab and somber, but now the look is trending brighter, bolder and more colorful. Another trend is that people are getting away from very formal rooms, which were popular in the eighties and nineties. Now, the rooms are still beautiful and elegant, but they’re more relaxed and less fussy. But trends aside, what matters to us at Creative Wallcoverings is our clients’ needs and desires.

Who has inspired your design philosophy?
Rachel: Certainly Mario Buatta, the King of Chintz. He’s notable for employing multiple fabrics in a room, for color, classicism, and comfort – but I’ve edited the look for a more transitional feel. However, my real inspiration comes from my clients.
The process is collaborative. I learn about how they live in their homes and include them in every step of the design work. In fact, I pack away the fabrics I use on a job for a few years. My clients often know one another, so it’s important.
We don’t just do one “look.” At Creative Wallcoverings, we pride ourselves on our versatility.

Do you have a favorite room to design?
Rachel: For me, it’s not about whether it’s a powder room or a family room. It’s about seeing a job through to completion, from A to Z. It’s about seeing the room perfectly executed and installed and looking great. I love that!

If you could live in any house, in any place, where would it be?
Rachel: Definitely Arizona. We’ve vacationed here, and I love it. I just love to be outside, and I love the heat. I’d have walls of windows so I could look out at the mountains and the beautiful terrain. I think we will end up there one day.

Luckily for us, Rachel Kapner is still here.

Creative Wallcoverings & Interiors
560 Central Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

This article was originally published in ASPIRE NJ Magazine September 2011





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