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Creating Our Safe Haven Against All Odds

Written by: Remya Warrior, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


When we bought this property, many people thought I was out of my mind. I admit that for an investor & designer like me, this was a huge undertaking. Many seasoned investors told me it would be better to get rid of the property for a good profit. But I was adamant because somewhere, I felt I was meant to reimagine and create something beautiful here on this land.

beautiful interior design of a house in white wall paint.

Here are some pictures of the property when we bought it.

We planned to subdivide the property into many lots and build lovely homes on an acre lot. But Holmdel has specific requirements for each house to sit on a 2 ½ acre lot. So we changed our plan & decided to build 2 homes that could sell for at least 1.5-1.8 million. The sub-division has been going on for the past three years, and we still haven’t finished it because they keep asking for more paperwork.

I will admit this renovation was challenging, and we were tested multiple times as Covid hit and the prices for all raw materials skyrocketed. The contractor who was supposed to build for us left with much of our money. There were days when we weren’t sure how we would finish this project. My husband and I stepped in and took over the entire renovation. While this was the most challenging period, it also taught me many life lessons. When the family stands together, no one can bring us down. We also found many ways to be more resourceful. And today we have more contacts with all the trades than before. The house that was standing there had to be reimagined. To make this house worth 1.5-1.8 million, I knew I would need 9’ ceilings. That meant pretty much re-doing the entire house. We were going to move the kitchen from the current location and move it to the back of the house. I had always imagined a grand foyer with extended ceilings and a large chandelier in my dream house.

Since we were remodeling the entire house, we could make it into anything we wanted. In my mind, I always wanted a large porch. Back home, where I come from, we had a small verandah (which is what they are called in India & in America, we call them porch.) Everyone would gather there from the neighborhood and chat about life & the day’s happenings. So we decided to go with a modern farmhouse style house since all those houses have these large porches. I was clear about wanting a home that could entertain many people because I have always loved having people over. Even when we sell, this would be perfect for a large family or someone who loves entertaining her friends and family like me.

I have always loved open floorplans where there is little division between rooms. I was sure I wanted a bedroom & bathroom on the main floor when my mom visited. And I also knew that I hated doing laundry in the basement. So the plan was to have a laundry space on the main floor and the 1st floor near the master suite. Once we knew everything we wanted, it was easier to work with the architect because I learned how to divide my space. Space planning is my jam and my superpower. Even upstairs, every bedroom has its walk-in closet to store everything. No matter how much closet space I have seen people have, there still needs to be more, right?

We finally moved into the house, and I know we have the main things done. Now it’s time to design the exciting stuff, like getting the appropriate furniture and window treatments and making this into our home. We are doing that one room at a time.

Follow me on my Instagram page – @kitchendesignersnj to see different DIY projects we are doing as we finish this house and tips on designing.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Remya Warrior, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Remya is a space planning expert with over 15 years of experience & a master's degree in design. She is the owner and lead designer of Kitchen Designers NJ, a brick-and-mortar store located in Red Bank, NJ. She believes in collaborations where everyone wins. She has specialized in kitchen design for over a decade & helped many homeowners think big and achieve their dream home. Recently she was included in the one of NYC Journal's 50 under 50 entrepreneurs making a difference in their respective fields.



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