Design in Detail

Design NJ launched a new feature on the details that make a big difference for homeowners who undertake a renovation. In this installment, a Monmouth County couple take time during the planning stages to ensure their changes will make life easier and more pleasant.

Serial Renovator

design nj feature of homeowners who undertake a renovation and how timberlane shutters made their home's exterior uniqueDesign NJ Publisher Tammy Keck has been passionate about homes and design for as long as she can remember. She recalls the excitement of getting plastic yellow Parsons tables for her bedroom when she was 13 and still treasures the old oak dresser she purchased at a garage sale while shopping with her dad while in her early 20s. A self-described serial renovator, she says the recent renovation of a 1970s colonial in Monmouth County is her last. But friends will tell you she said that in 1989 after she overhauled a split-level in Westfield and in 2005 after she and her husband, Vinnie Grillo, completed a decade-long renovation of their turn-of-the-last-century Victorian at the Jersey shore. Here Keck explains what she and her husband learned and shares their favorite things from the latest renovation.

Why Renovate?

“We love our neighborhood, but the 1970s faux Tudor center hall colonial-style home was dated and the layout didn’t work for our family. The renovation was extensive so we opted to move out. We put all our things in storage and rented a home a few miles away for nine months. This was one of the best decisions we made.

The money we spent on the rental was offset by the builder not having to work around us, and we escaped the inevitable stress that comes with a renovation.”

“Every time I turn in my driveway I am pleased that we opted for wood shutters [from]. They add so much depth and character to the exterior that I have never regretted investing in them. They make a rather ordinary exterior unique. Wood was more expensive than composite shutters, but for me worth every penny.”

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