Taste of Home
Jennifer Poe, interior designer and owner of Rittenhouse Home, showcases her signature style in her own stunning Upper Makefield residence
by Jenny Graham

Since its founding in 2007, Jennifer Poe’s Rittenhouse Home has become a household name—literally and figuratively—with respect to luxury interior design services as well as furniture and cabinetry retail. Poe, owner of the Newtown-based retailer and design firm, says that more than being a purveyor of high-end furniture, design and décor Rittenhouse Home is “selling a lifestyle.”

As such it will likely come as little surprise that Poe’s own 17,000-square-foot Upper Makefield residence serves as an enviable example of the very lifestyle she helps Rittenhouse Home clients achieve for themselves.

“I really just did the house based upon my tastes and likes,” Poe explains. “I wanted a calming palette and functionality.”

Poe, who shares her home with her husband, three children—ages 10, 7, 4—and a dog, wanted her family to be able to “sprawl out,” she says. “Although the house is large, it doesn’t feel like a monstrosity because each room is designed for living and functionality.”

A tour of Poe’s home begins with one of her favorite rooms, the kitchen. With walls painted in classic shades of ivory and bone, the roomy and welcoming space radiates timelessness. The kitchen was designed not only to accommodate everyday family meals but also holidays and get-togethers for friends and family who, as many will attest, tend to want to congregate near the best part of a party: the food.

“We have a large and inviting kitchen with a large seating area in a big, open room that just all flows together,” Poe says. “An important part of the kitchen’s design is that we have good flow for entertainment.”

Poe’s kitchen features two separate islands for ease of entertaining, both of which are separate from the cooktop area itself. Surrounding the stovetop are large landing spots to the right and left of the range so that preparation and cooking can be separated from the overall flow of the room.

Next to that is a smartly designed island, which features a sink close to the stove to aid in the ease of meal preparation and, on the other side, comfortable cream-colored banquette seating around an oval table with a metallic-finished concrete tabletop.

On the opposite side of the room, Poe incorporated a wet bar into the design which can serve as a bar area as well as a buffet on which hors d’oeuvres can be served. Additionally, the room features a coffee bar with seating for two.

Poe thought out every last detail to ensure guests can socialize comfortably without “being on top of each other.” One detail fits so naturally into this plan that some may not even notice it: Poe measured and selected the chairs surrounding her kitchen island to ensure they were not only the proper height for guest seating but also that they could be tucked neatly away when not in use.

Although the kitchen is beautiful, Poe notes that her kitchen, like the kitchens she works with clients to design, is built for use. For example, she made sure to allow for plenty of drawer space for pots and pans, as well as for an ample refrigeration space.

The kitchen space connects to a luxe formal dining room, which features rich earth-toned grasscloth on the walls, as well as a sophisticated and classic dining set.

Poe has decorated her great room, too, in accordance with advice she gives her clients. As is the case throughout her home, this space features a neutral palette, exemplified by light walls and dove-white moldings. This elemental color scheme allows for Poe, as well as her clients, a great deal of freedom to incorporate accent pieces in a wide array of colors while maintaining a sophisticated overall look.

Poe, for example, took the opportunity to embrace the mixed metals trend by incorporating items made of brass, antique mirror and polished nickel finishes into her design. “The design is always evolving,” she says. “I think most people feel that way about their house.”

As such, Poe suggests clients do as she did and start with a very basic color selection, one that can be updated with relative ease. Other present trends, she notes, include wood-formed concrete surfaces and floating shelves.

“I prefer to use a calming palette with pops of colors, things that can change as trends change and evolve,” she explains. “You want to have color in the accents versus the larger pieces.”

The accents, she notes, include smaller pieces such as pillows, rugs or lamps versus a piece such as a sofa that will inevitably have a longer in-home lifespan.

Poe prefers to start working with clients in the “blueprint stage” of development, as this allows for a more fine-tuned design in terms of placement of major appliances, islands or even the incorporation or movement of walls. The rendering software available to all of Poe’s clients can even help visualize designs in three dimensions.

Even though Rittenhouse Home is not itself a construction company, Poe’s design clients can benefit from the excellent relationships she has fostered with area builders. This network of builders continues to grow as Rittenhouse Home expands its offerings to incorporate outdoor spaces. The design and retail outlet will soon be able to help clients with selections ranging from outdoor furniture to complete open-air kitchens that would rival any indoor counterpart. Rittenhouse home will also be offering “a great line of cabinetry with high-density resin so an outdoor kitchen no longer needs to be masonry,” Poe says. She notes that her home, too, will soon have an outdoor kitchen, to be completed this summer.

These are just a few examples of how Poe’s timeless style applies to both her own home and Rittenhouse Home.

Whether a client walks into the retail space seeking a set of kitchen cabinets or a whole room redesign, Poe assures they will be pleased with their experience.

“When a client comes to Rittenhouse Home, they are backed by a fantastic team, from beginning to end,” she says. “A lot of people want to dive right in, and that can be overwhelming; but we do it all for you and we do it all at fantastic, competitive pricing.”

Rittenhouse Home
17 N. State Street
Newtown, PA 18940
215-579-0400 | www.rittenhousehome.com

Photograph by Allure West Studios