Designers/Installers Turn NJ Showhouse Into Smart Tech Wonder

Merging smart home tech with stunning interior design ideas is always challenging and sometimes even risky business, but when you attempt to do it in a room within a 91-year old mansion, the challenge can be mountainous.

For veteran integrators Rick and Bev Trover of Interchange Technologies and interior designer Jane Petrill of Jane Danielle Interior Designs, that mountain was recently scaled with style and elegance as the trio were part of the Tyvan Hill “Splendor in September” event in New Vernon, New Jersey.

Conducted bi-annually by The Women’s Association for Morristown Medical Center (WAMMC), this event was actually the 19th Mansion in May effort (original name, before pandemic moved it to September and it was renamed Splendor in September), a signature fundraiser in the form of a Designer Showhouse and Gardens that was open to the public September into October at the Tyvan Hill mansion in New Vernon, New Jersey.

The mansion was designed by the prominent New York architectural firm of Peabody, Wilson & Brown for John Wesley Castles Jr. and his wife, Dorothea Bradford Smith, and built between 1928 and 1929. It features beautiful details, such as a curved staircase, paneling and elegant moldings, as well as an outdoor pool and pool house. In 1931, the Architectural League of New York awarded its silver medal to Peabody, Wilson & Brown for the firm’s designs of a group of country residences, prominently including Tyvan Hill.

 The Trovers and Petrill collaborated on one of the 10,000 square foot mansion’s 34 rooms to showcase their work and the trio produced a room that wonderfully illustrated a perfect blend of their specific talents.

The ideas from the Trovers and Petrill were chosen for this project from among 103 submissions, and they had actually begun their work back in February for what was originally a May showcase event. The pandemic delayed that plan, but designers were able to return to their work during the summer and finish by the end of August for an early September debut.

The finished Trover/Petrill room was a beautiful blend of tech and design and it was immediately evident from the room’s harmony that this team has been working together on projects like this for the last 15 years.

“Blending the technology with the interior design seamlessly makes the room more interesting and intriguing to the people who come through it on a daily basis,” explained Bev Trover. “The three of us really look forward to getting together on these mansion projects.”

“We have created a space where you can workout, you can work, relax, you can watch television and even enjoy a cocktail,” Petrill added. “Working with the Trovers was a pleasure.”

Speaking to the collaboration, Rick Trover said, “We try to hide the technology, with the automation of these products being as seamless as possible to the viewer. We’ve been doing events like this for many years where we bring tech together with design and work as a team.”

Among the many manufacturer products showcased in the room are:

• Control4 controllers

• Middle Atlantic landscape speakers

• Nexus 21 TV Lifts

• Kef Speakers

• Sony TVs

• NAD Audio Amplifiers

• Lutron Motorized Shade

• Package Network routers and switches

While the finished room left a memorable impression, the ultimate accomplishment here was the money the project raised for the Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute at Morristown Medical Center.

The Women’s Association’s biggest fundraiser is the Mansion in May Showhouse and Gardens, held every two or three years, where local design firms are invited to a large mansion to fix up and customize a room or landscape. Since its inception, Mansion in May has helped collect $11.5 million for the Morristown Medical Center. This year, the collected funds will all go to benefit the Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute at the Morristown Medical Center.

“Splendor in September is the Women’s Association for Morristown Medical Center’s signature fundraiser. This is our 19th mansion over the past 46 years. Our WAMMC motto is ‘contribute with passion’ and we were very passionate about the cause to raise money for the expansion of Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute. Gagnon is the #1 heart hospital in New Jersey and heart issues impact young, old, men and women,” said Katie Nolle, president of the Women’s Association. “It is wonderful to raise funds to support the number one hospital in the state of New Jersey. We are extremely passionate to produce a spectacular showhouse.”