Although Margaret Josephs and Joe Benigno bought their house "as a project," The Real Housewives of New Jersey cast member didn't quite anticipate how long it would take to complete their dream home. "This is a restoration, as opposed to a renovation," Margaret told BravoTV.com exclusively. "[Updating] a 115-year-old house isn’t like building a new house. I had a feeling it was gonna take a while. I mean, not this long."
Margaret and Joe have worked tirelessly together on the home, each bringing something unique to the project. "Joe and I are a great team," Margaret said. "He really gives me carte blanche on the design, so we never disagree on the design aspect. He just hates when I put time constraints on something. Because I think everything is just, zip, zip, zip, and he’s like, 'We can’t do that.'"
On the show's February 24 episode, Margaret declared that the house would eventually look like "a rock and roll hotel," and now, she's proud to say they "absolutely achieved" that goal. "It transports you to a different time and place," she said. "It’s high Hollywood vintage glamour."
Although she admitted, "A renovation like this is not for the faint of heart," the laborious process is worth it. Now that her kitchen, outdoor kitchen, and ballroom are complete, Margaret is "thrilled" to tackle the rest of the house, including the bedroom and bathroom. "I’m definitely gonna die in this house," Margaret said. "It’s my forever home."
Here, Margaret shares photos and exclusive details of the newly transformed home, which is full of bold colors and chic decor. "I’m not a basic bitch," she explained. "That’s the bottom line."
The vibe of the kitchen is “soothing,” and chic brass accents were picked to highlight the countertop’s caramel colors, explained Margaret. "Normal people would not put wallpaper in the kitchen with a theme so busy, but it really works."
In addition to "sleek and modern" JennAir Noir appliances, "my refrigerator doors are magnificent," Margaret said. "I had them custom-made on top and they just look like big cabinets."
When considering the design for the outdoor space, "It was important for me to bring the inside out... I wanted it to look almost like a living room," Margaret said. "I want people to feel comfortable and sit outside.That’s really why I wanted the outdoor kitchen right outside the dining room and my kitchen."
She added: "Everything has to be very inviting that you don’t want to leave, and very comfortable. I like natural, modern elements."
"I bought this house specifically for [the ballroom]" Margaret said. "As beautiful as it is, it’s just as useful."
While considering her favorite parts of the space, Margaret had a couple of clear frontrunners. "I think the bar area is so great," she said, adding, "I’d lay on the sofa all day and watch TV." In fact, much of the room was designed around that piece in particular: "I picked up elements off of the sofa and tied it back to the rest of the room."
While the room has new, modern touches, Margaret and Joe "wanted to keep a lot of the original elements" of the home including the fireplace wall, which they "lacquered in black and just made it look great," and the mahogany flooring, which they stained black.
The ballroom was a particularly difficult space for Joe to complete. "The heat and the air conditioning never really worked properly in that room, so he had to do it from the ground up," Margaret explained. "It just took a lot of work before I could even start the decorating and design process." Now, she said, "He loves it. He put up all that wallpaper, he’s a saint."
To complete the design of the room, Joe also "hand-drew all of the light covers to match the wallpaper," Margaret shared. "It’s meticulous. You think it’s wallpaper."
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