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Go With the Flow

In a home designed for parties, revelers have the right of way in every room.

The cabana functions as a perfect, fully furnished outdoor room, complete with beer tap and bar. The physical hub of the house is the dining room. A shimmering, strongly vertical space, it’s dominated by a sculptural Italian chandelier.

Couples that entertain regularly at home develop their own rhythms and routines. Some are lucky enough to build a house from the ground up, where both the architecture and the furnishings can be planned to a T to reflect the couple’s personal party style. That was the case with this Livingston, New Jersey house, a place for entertaining that’s all about flow from room to room, from indoors to outdoors and back again.

Curving, shimmery and aglow with soft light, the dining room is an ideal setting for a cozy dinner party.

“The spaces are not enormous,” notes interior designer Kosh Palmer. “Each seating area is set up to feel quite cozy and intimate. And yet the rooms have a very open feel, and the house can handle a very large party.”

Consider the dining room, which is taller than it is wide. While a formal dining room is an afterthought in many of today’s houses, here it’s the physical hub of the home, connected to the indoor and outdoor kitchens, the entrance hall and the living room. A circular table ensures that up to 12 diners can converse comfortably. The two-story space has the enchanted air of a planetarium, thanks in large measure to a sculptural Italian light fixture of glowing glass pendants.

Another sculptural detail anchors the living room: The fireplace wall is made from two highly figured, book-matched marble slabs. Looking like a cross between an Expressionist painting and a Rorschach test, the marble wall is a conversation starter.

Adjacent to the living room is a billiard area with a large bar and banquette seating for pool players and spectators. The leather-upholstered banquette is fronted by a series of small pedestal tables, each supported by a male or female bronze nude in the attenuated style of Giacometti. The look is clubby, elegant and a little bit sexy.

In the living room of this home designed for entertaining, the highly figured, book-matched marble on the fireplace wall is a true conversation piece.

The billiard area flows into an outdoor cabana with its own fireplace as a focal point. With a low-slung modular sofa and high vaulted ceiling, this room without walls feels relaxed, spacious and light. “It’s perfect for entertaining three seasons out of four,” says Palmer. “And if the weather turns too chilly, a warm bar and billiards are steps away.”

Banquette seating in the billiard area makes partiers comfortable without impeding the flow of traffic—or risking a poke from a pool cue. Less is more in this open space, with its pleasing vista to the uncluttered living room.

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