Highland Perch sits among a cluster of bold, mid-century modern homes, built along the highest ridge of Montclair, NJ. With views toward Manhattan’s skyline, this 2,000 sq. ft. residence is nestled atop a thickly wooded canopy, enjoying rare views of New York City just 12 miles away. Location is one thing, the state of decay was another. By the time its current home owner took charge of its complete makeover, the property had suffered substantial neglect. With no construction experience to speak of, homeowner Alyson Pardo - a former boutique clothing retailer - took the challenge to oversee its total transformation.

Partnering with architects MADLAB, this self-taught maverick acted as general contractor and carpenter, meticulously reworking the home inside and out. Five years later, Highland Perch honors the experimental ethos of its original design while exploring subtle transformations in flows and materials. Its restoration thoughtfully preserves almost all of the existing structural wood framing, and crafts an open living floor plan with expansive windows and views of the surrounding forest ridge. The result is a poetic interplay between histories and futures, forest and city.

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New kitchen expands in all directions - from living room to ipe deck.

Wood beams radiate from a central structural core to support deep roof eaves, each one painstakingly refinished. New energy-efficient windows create a cozy moment.

The new deck floats above the ground plane with a new exterior stair, offering up evenings of unobstructed New York City views while summoning up guests to join the party.

Towering high above the street, the house glows among the trees.

New floor-to-ceiling windows bring dawn light and bird calls into the Master Bedroom.

The stairwell brightens up with new openings to the kitchen and enlarged windows to the backyard.

The family room features custom-designed furnishings by the homeowner using exotic wood slabs.

The new ipe deck and backyard landscaping merge seamlessly as one expansive outdoor space.

Interior Design
  • Alyson Pardo
Landscape Design
  • Alyson Pardo
  • Alyson Pardo
  • Chris Davis Photography


  • 4
  • Full Baths
  • 2
  • Structure
  • House (Single Residence)
  • Style
  • Modern
  • Year
  • 1960
  • Square Feet
  • 2000