Eileen Palladino grew up in the desert, but for the past 12 years she's lived in the pines. Her first house was a three-bedroom ranch in Las Vegas. Now she owns a 6-bedroom, 4-bath home in rural Galloway Township.
"My basement is about the same size as my first house in Las Vegas," says Eileen.
The enormous finished basement, which includes a bedroom, a full bath, a game room and a wet bar with granite counters, was one of many improvements Eileen and her then-husband, prominent chef Luke Palladino, put into the house.
Eileen and Luke met in Las Vegas, where he was executive chef at the Onda Ristorante at the Mirage and she was the special events photographer. They bought the house in Galloway after Luke took a job at the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, where he opened three new restaurants.
The house is located on Stockbridge Court, a secluded cul-de-sac neighborhood carved into the pines off Jimmie Leeds Road, just down the street from the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club. It was two years old when the Palladinos purchased it in 2001.
"It was already the nicest house on the block," Eileen says. "But we made another $500,000 in improvements."
In addition to the beautifully finished the basement, those improvements included new hardwood and tile floors, new California style closets, landscaping, tinted windows, a $16,000 surround sound system and a whole new kitchen.
"We put $100,000 into the kitchen alone," says Eileen. The kitchen now features an immense island with granite counters, top-of-the line stainless steel appliances, custom cabinets, stone backsplashes, a built-in wine cooler and a commercial grade six-burner gas range with fryer.
The kitchen is open to a carpeted family room with a cathedral ceiling and a gas fireplace. A circular Florida room overlooks a concrete patio and features an Italian tile floor and an exotic Casa Blanca paddle ceiling fan. The formal dining room has hardwood floors, wainscoting and crown molding. The first floor also includes a powder room, a laundry room and an office with a private bath.
Four bedrooms and two full baths are on the second floor. The master features a huge tray ceiling and double doors that open to a sitting room with a curved balcony that overlooks the family room.
Outside, a blacktop driveway leads to a two-car garage. The exterior is vinyl siding with an all-brick front.
Eileen, who now works as a yoga instructor and a background actress in New York City, has been a single mom for the past year and a half. She has a 22-year-old daughter studying to be a pastry chef at the Culinary Institute of America, a 19-year-old son in the U.S. Marines and an 11-year-old daughter, Ellie at home. She's decided it's time to put the house on the market.
"Your house slowly empties out and all of a sudden you're there with just you and one child," Eileen says. "I have no family here except my ex-husband. They're all in Vegas and California. I'm not sure where I'll go. I might move closer to New York. Right now I'm focusing on raising my daughter. She's a dancer and a surfer and loves to cook with her dad."
An open house at this property, which is listed for $459,000, will be held Saturday, Aug. 31, from 11 a.m. - 1 .pm. For more information and directions call Tina Ercole LoBiondo of Farley and Ferry Realty. 609-501-3211.
Where: Galloway Township
Size: 6 bedrooms, 4½ baths
Taxes (2012): $7,908