The best designs create a sense of arrival. That special feeling someone gets when they first reach their destination sets the tone for the entire experience. The Vista at Christian Health creates a sense of arrival naturally. The long winding entrance to the 400,000-square-foot independent living complex inspires a first impression of serenity with views of hills and trees in a quiet, yet suburban, neighborhood of northern New Jersey. The new three-story complex completes the continuum of care community on a 78-acre campus. The Vista includes 164 independent living apartments, a large common and the latest wellness-focused amenities enjoyed by today’s older adults.
Built into the side of a hill, the Vista is surrounded by 10 acres of untouched, woods with striking views of the Ramapo Mountains. The original exterior design, developed a number of years ago, is a craftsman style. The rustic exterior makes generous use of stone and wood to complement the natural surroundings. The style recalls the area’s historic homes with lodge-type touches, such as wooden beams.
Merlino Design Partnership (MDP) handled the interior design. “Our challenge was to complement the original exterior design with stone and wood accents but in a more refined way,” said Bruce Hurowitz, principal at MDP. The sense of arrival carries over to the building commons. Residents and visitors enter a large two-story grand hall with a stone colonnade. Modern sconces dot the columns with a soft glow. Oversized windows at the end of the colonnade flood the area with natural light. The grand hall links to a performing arts center, several dining venues, and a wellness center.
The interiors showcase a warm neutral palette. A combination of wood tones, stonework, ironwork, and glass provide rich textures with refined architectural detailing. A coffered ceiling with a modern thatched design punctuates the gathering space near the dining venues. The Waterstone fine dining venue features panoramic views of the site and an exterior water feature.
Senior Living by Design judge Todd Hudgins, senior vice president at Erdman, applauded the “rustic, fantastic design.” Wellness and fitness amenities are positioned near the entrance to showcase the lifestyle. “Fitness is celebrated,” Hurowitz said. “Residents are living an energized life.”
The state-of-the-art spa and wellness center includes a gym with cardio, weight, and resistance training equipment, a yoga studio, and an indoor pool with a sauna, hot tub, and spa facilities. Metal arches frame the entrance of the aquatic center. The pattern is repeated with wood arches that cross the ceiling of the pool area. The wellness areas are infused with pops of vibrant color to emphasize activity and energy.
Paved walking trails, gardens, and streams spread across the grounds. An outdoor terrace includes a fountain, grill, picnic area, and café tables for alfresco dining, expanded to allow for social distancing. Balconies and private outdoor space are included in each unit, providing beautiful views from every angle so residents feel, and know, that they have arrived.