South Orange, NJ – When Bruce Schonbraun acquired Orange Lawn Tennis Club, he knew his multimillion-dollar project to revitalize the property to its former glory was not going to be easy. The club, once one of the most important stops on the international tennis tour, needed serious work. IN that era’s changing times and the evolution of tennis, clay courts became the preferred playing surface making the clubs grass courts an irrelevant asset. Tournaments on clay courts were held at the club for less than ten years. The club hosted its final tournament in 1983 and experienced a downturn in popularity.
The new ownership set out to change this trend by hiring Studio JBD and Jefferson Group Architecture to conceive a plan that would respect and recapture the rich history of Orange Lawn Tennis Club. The multi-phase project integrated contemporary fixtures, finishes and accessories with traditional features of the club, including existing light fixtures and furniture that were refreshed and reused appropriately. Fireplaces throughout the clubhouse were repaired and refurbished. The design team created an art pallet that included custom posters and paintings with reframing of some of the club’s original artwork from the 30’s through the 70’s. The dining room was revitalized in part by creating an interactive experience whereby diners could watch servers creating specialty menu items.
Orange Lawn serves as a time capsule for members and guests alike. Perhaps the most important element to the project’s success was the input from the surrounding community including past and present members. Orange Lawn Tennis Club memorabilia, such as trophies, photographs, and tennis equipment were donated to the club during the project. Bruce Schonbraun is a passionate collector of tennis memorabilia and the club is forever grateful for the donations it has received during the process. Orange Lawn is continuing to enrich its history, making headlines in new ways, and will once again attract passionate tennis playing members for decades to come.