There is nothing more profound than creating something out of nothing. – Rainbow Rowell

My favorite thing about our work here at Houseplay is the process of taking a space that’s outdated, non-functional or awkward and transforming it into a space that is beautiful, functional and thoughtfully designed.

It all starts with an idea. A possibility. A wish. A desire.

It’s like this: 

I took a gap year between high school and college. I worked at Gap Kids to earn money so I could travel the world. I’d been accepted to the Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts in NYC.

Gap Kids was supposed to just be a j-o-b. It was a means to an end, the end being travel. 

But it turned out that I loved learning how to create spaces. 

The store was in a historic building with lots of nooks and crannies. Figuring out how to lay out the merchandise in a way that was visually appealing, and could strategically highlight the most important products and pieces, was a puzzle I loved to help solve. 

I loved creating little floor plans, being thoughtful and strategic about layout, figuring out how to make it more beautiful, and then getting to bring the sketch to life. We would stay up all night like little elves and in the morning, the store would look completely different.

I thought: This has to be a career. What career is this? 

Google says: interior design. 

Eugene Lang, the liberal arts college I was already accepted to, is part of the New School. The New School also houses Parsons, which, it turned out, is one of the best interior design schools in the country.

I put together a portfolio on the fly, took extra classes, and transferred into a dual interior design / liberal arts major at the New School. 

Something out of nothing: from having a lightbulb moment working at Gap Kids, I created a degree in interior design. From that degree, I worked with Niall to create a business from the ground up that has sustained us and our growing family for more than ten years.

The only thing required to make something out of nothing is a strong vision and a willingness to take the next right step.

Often, we see families get stuck before this point when it comes to transforming their space. 

They know what isn’t working. They want a bigger space for the kids to play through the winter, when it’s tougher to get outside. Their entryway is a huge stressor, or the kitchen is outdated and tough to work in. 

But they settle for “making do” with how it is. 

They never shift into the vision of believing it can be better, that they can remake their environment to serve their needs (rather than being at the mercy of their environment). 

I say to you: believe that your space can be beautiful, functional and thoughtfully designed. 

Even that impossible kitchen. Even that century-old bathroom. 

Trust our ability to translate what you want into a workable reality.

That’s exactly what we’re doing for the project we’re highlighting this week. These clients have vision in spades!

They are a married couple who live in Hoboken, NJ with their two young kids. It’s important to them to remain in Hoboken, but space there is at a premium – and they were struggling to find enough of it. 

Their vision was for an apartment with a large kitchen, three bedrooms and space for an art studio. They also dreamed of two parking spaces (laughable!).

Then the condo next door to theirs went up for sale. 

They purchased it and hired Houseplay to combine the two units into one.

We’re wrapping up the design phase now, and the new layout contains everything on their wish list: three bedrooms, an art studio, a larger kitchen, and two-and-a-half baths. Bonus: a second parking space.


Jersey City condo renovation kitchen mood board

Jersey City condo renovation bathroom mood board


Vision + thoughtful work = something out of nothing.Stay tuned for the final product!


If you’re like our clients for this project, you’re ready to transform your space to make it work better for your family, from the foundation of beauty, function and thoughtful design. We are currently accepting clients in the Jersey City area. Apply to work with us here.


Fundraiser update: we’ve raised $3570 so far for Welcome Home Jersey City! Thank you for your generosity. The funds go directly to WHJC to benefit refugee families. The fundraiser is still open – help make refugee families feel at home with a gift of $5 or $10 here.