Learning to play the long game is an essential life skill.

Nowhere is that more true than in business.

I first started playing around with the idea of moving Houseplay’s office out of my house and into its own home base more than a year ago.

Last spring, I went to look at a space.

I started visualizing what would be possible. Then came the paperwork. Then the design process. Getting approval for the layout, handing it off to the construction team, who had to get permits, order materials and build.

So much has changed since we started the process and actually moved into the space.

(Not the least of which is a global pandemic that makes it impossible to use the space right now as we had originally envisioned…)

This level of stick-to-it-iveness has served me well in so many areas of my life. And it’s exactly what we’re highlighting in this week’s project spotlight …

When I first met with this family two years ago about adding a third level to their home, they were thinking about someday having a second baby. Now that baby’s on the way!

Today I want to give you a little window into their journey:

Our client grew up in this two-family home in Jersey City, and she and her husband moved into the second-floor apartment and had a little one.

Her mom still lives there in the first-floor apartment and helps care for their little one.

At our initial meeting, our clients knew one thing: they needed more space. Moving was not as cost-effective as building an addition, so they brought in Houseplay to explore the possibility of adding a third floor to the home.

The first step was to get a pre-approval from the zoning board. So we did a survey of the building, hired an architect to do an initial set of drawings and sent it with a letter to the zoning board.

The zoning board responded that we needed to complete a C variance because the addition would exceed the height that the area was zoned for.

After some time, our clients decided they wanted to go forward with the C variance (which is an in-depth process). Houseplay managed the entire process for them.

Once the C variance was approved, we moved forward with plans for the renovation. It became apparent that moving the kitchen upstairs to the new addition – which we had thought would be cost-prohibitive – would not add much to the budget. So we redid the drawings to move the kitchen upstairs, which is going to be a huge improvement to the layout of the home.



Mood board for Jersey City kitchen renovation


The design is complete and we are just about ready to apply for permits – once New Jersey gives the go-ahead that construction is able to move forward again.

For any home renovation project, it’s essential to be able to hold onto two things: the vision of what you’re creating, and the faith and patience of knowing that it’s going to be 100% worthwhile in the end.

These things can carry you through any bumps in the road.

That’s how we play the long game.


Do you follow us on Instagram yet? We share renovation tips, gorgeous photos of our finished projects, and more.

We are still serving clients right now in two ways:

  1. If you’ve been considering a home renovation, and live in our service area (Jersey City, Hoboken, Montclair or Rockland County NY), now is actually the perfect time to start a renovation. We begin with Vision & Planning, then design – all of which can be done virtually. Connect with us here (choose option #1).
  2. I’m offering Virtual Houseplay coaching to help homeowners upgrade their space without a huge renovation. Learn more about Virtual Houseplay here.