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Our sellers are known for having great taste and enviable home design. We love getting the chance to get to know them, their influences, and hearing the stories behind their style. Seller Cynthia Stoldt impressed us with her unique style and strong eye for design. As it turns out, great style runs in her family.
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Money Has Nothing to do with Taste
Growing up, Cynthia learned that having true style is does not require a major budget. “My Great Aunt Marge was the Original Style influencer. She and my Uncle were poor—he worked for PSE&G and she worked as a furrier’s assistant but, she taught me that money has nothing to do with taste. Their apartment in a 30’s or 40’s grey stone building in Millburn NJ was chock-full of chintz down-filled loveseats, pressed and cut glass punch bowls and vases, cranberry glass, and silver-rimmed pitchers, gold leaf oil paintings, and cuckoo clocks. It was lavish and wonderful…and, so was Aunt Marge. She always wore red lipstick and white gloves (and drive a black vintage Mercedes). Later in life, she worked in a high-end antique store and I am certain all her paychecks were spent buying special home decor that she gifted to my mother and me.”
Making the Most of What You’ve Got
Along with her aunt, her mother inspired her with great style, creativity, and the drive to turn her passion into her career. “My Mom adored Aunt Marge as much as I did so it was no surprise that after graduating from Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School (as one did) that she went on to work at Milliken Mills in Textiles. She then became a lead merchant at a regional NJ department store. But the job I love to brag about is that she was Associate Fashion Editor at Seventeen magazine. When we were in elementary school, my Mom went back to school to get her ASID certification. She went on to become the Interior Designer of choice for many Bergen County high-end homes—including former Giant’s quarterback Phil Simms.” Her mother was bold and resourceful. In the late ’70s, after completing a kitchen redesign in their family home, she landed their kitchen an agent, and the room went on to be featured in many TV commercials.
A (First) Home with Style
While many first homes are filled with pieces that can best be described as place holders while waiting for better items to replace them, Cynthia’s home had a more “mature” style from day one. “I bought my first home in 1994 in Paulus Hook, Jersey City—an 1875 Victorian brownstone. I literally spent my last penny on the down payment. Aunt Marge was moving out of her apartment the same year and I inherited so much from my childhood wonderland—my first house felt like an 80-year-old (with taste) lived there. Over the years (and several houses later), I have edited down the inherited pieces to those that really matter to me and invested in exceptional pieces that will never go out of style.”
Having an interior designer for a mother has its benefits. When it came to words of wisdom, her mother offered her a simple but effective bit of advice: “invest in pieces that are timeless —and to make sure that what you buy compliments what you already own. That’s what I’ve done.”
The Are No Rules
Living in France gave Cynthia an opportunity to broaden her design horizons and evolve her style. “I love how the Parisians fill their apartments with mixed styles—contemporary with traditional; MCM with Victorian—there are no rules as long as you surround yourself with special items that work together. When I look at my house today, each room reflects that—a well-edited hodgepodge of fine statement pieces that matter to me.”
Finding Beauty in the Details
For Cynthia, every item in her home came to her in a unique way. She is drawn to quality pieces with beautiful details to make each special in its own way. “Timeless beauty gets me every time—the velvet cut-out pattern on the Baker slipper chairs on castors had me smitten—I knew I needed to make them the focal piece of my dining room and bring them to NY from Chicago. They were special and clearly well-designed and well-made. The black lacquer contrast with the deep high gloss walnut of the pair of Baker (Bill Sofield) side tables, also spoke to me. I brought those to NY from the Carolinas. And then, there is the dining room table’s history. The company that refinished that rosewood beauty found it unbleached and abandoned in Denmark—they brought it to Jersey City and restored it to its current grandeur.
Every piece must sing to me, have meaning and history—and work coherently together.”
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Text by Liana Hayles Newton / Nancy Blaker Weber