The Phoenix Room

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When Hurricane Sandy brought the ocean, river and lake together in one NJ town the result dumped 3 feet of water throughout the first floor of my clients’ home three blocks from the beach.  This level contained a Family Room, Guest Rooms and an apartment for her aging mom. As we stood in the home assessing the damage with tears in our eyes we spoke of the years of wonderful memories with friends and family that filled this space.  It was truly more than just a house and I promised them that like the Phoenix this home would rise from the water (versus the flames) to live again to create even better memories.

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From that day forward the Phoenix Room was born and a labor of love commenced.  Taking the opportunity to make “lemonade” out of sea water we brought the entire floor down to studs and opened up the space.  Really examining their lifestyle needs allowed us to reproportion the space with true functionality. Mom’s apartment was redesigned using universal design to allow for comfort and aging in place.  

The other half of the space was opened up to a Great Room, Guest Room, Full Bath, Laundry Room and tons of storage space including a “Costco Closet” for bulk items.  The kitchenette area allows for easy entertaining and the bar gives storage cabinets below as well as seating facing the TV for “Football Sunday Gatherings”. Furniture was chosen with durability and purpose in mind.   Sofa and chairs convert to beds for additional overnight guests. Neutral colors in the background allow for our very meaningful and personally relevant art to take center stage.

As a reminder of how quickly life can turn around, my clients chose the saying, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for tomorrow.” to stencil across the support beam.  We worked to find an artist to depict our Phoenix, ordered a print and had it framed to reflect our spirit. An especially treasured original piece by local artist Roddy Wildeman (“Repurposing the past into fine art- Composite memory artwork from rescued materials and objects.”) is created from debris found in the town after Sandy reeked her havoc and hangs in a place of prominence.


Since rising from the waters the Phoenix Room has lived to create new and happy memories and tells the story of the resiliency of the human spirit with absolute style.

If you would like information about this or any other design areas please contact me at or call the office at 732 270-4546.

Liz Balogh   Chrysaliz Design,LLC