Is Real Housewives of New Jersey star Kathy Wakile cooking up a new career as a house flipper? Quite, possibly. The successful cookbook author has developed a passion for designing houses, while building her dream home with hubby Rich Wakile. The parents of two — daughter Victoria Wakile and son Joseph Wakile — custom built and designed their new Franklin Lakes abode from the ground up. After a couple years of hard work, the Wakiles are finally able to sit back, relax, and enjoy their gorgeous, Mediterranean-country style home.
Kathy tells me, “It feels great. I felt like this house was home instantly because we were so involved in building it, and we did it together from design aspects with my architect. I saw myself walking through the house on a daily basis, and what my routine would be before it was even built. I knew where everything was going to go before we were even in.”
Kathy had a specific vision for the design aesthetic. “It has a lot of old world aspects, but a lot of really modern and light lines, where it’s an open floor plan, and it’s got a lot of warmth and coziness in it as well.”
The PalaBingoUSA host told me she took her time designing the home to make sure they achieved the right look she was envisioning. “It took us a year to just design it, after we bought the lot. I got so much inspiration from our trip to Italy, and I kept calling my architect, and telling him I need to make changes. We took our time because we wanted it to be special. We didn’t want it to look or feel like some of the other homes that we had been in, that are big, but don’t have that warmth.”
The old word aspects of the home were inspired by trips to Italy and Lebanon. Kathy says, “I love old things that are restored. I love to do things with my hands. When we went to Italy a few years back, just picking up the feeling of some of these old buildings and structures, and to see what they’ve done to make them modern, new, and fresh, but still keep the aesthetic. Same with when we visited Lebanon 10 years ago. We saw the change, the way things were being redone. They were keeping the structure, but making aspects of the home inside more modern and functional.”
Kathy’s favorite room in the house is of course the kitchen, where I’m sure she’s already been whipping up some delicious Indulge by Kathy Wakile desserts. Kathy tells me, “The kitchen is where we started. That was really my inspiration. Everything that is going on, is always in the kitchen. That’s where I am all the time. From my kitchen I wanted to be able to see what’s going on in the rest of the house, and that’s what I achieved. There’s a lot of windows, it’s open and airy, but still warm at the same time.”
Kathy says that she and Rich enjoyed the process so much, that they’re ready to do it again. “We have another project in the works. We have a place down the shore that will be our next project. It will be a totally different look, and we’re hoping to get that started soon. We have time on our hands, and it’s something that we really enjoy doing.”
Does Kathy enjoy it enough to make this a new career venture? She tells me, “You never know. It’s been a passion of mine. I was raising my family all this time, and had all these ideas in my head. It’s just another creative outlet for my creative genes.”
Kathy will be giving OMJ an exclusive, inside look at her stunning new abode very soon! You’ll also be seeing more of Kathy and her beautiful home when Season 7 of RHONJ premieres on July 10.