A newly hired British designer. New clients obsessed with British design. Perfect timing on all counts.

A match made in heaven.

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This new Jersey City apartment renovation is a total build from desire project.

Our clients own a condo that is the lower level and parlor level of a brownstone duplex. The apartment was renovated recently with a modern/contemporary contractor-grade style – which is very much not their style.

The aesthetic they love is a Georgian, eclectic, very traditional style. So piece by piece we’re going to bring personality into their space.

First, we’re planning to raise the ceiling. The existing ceiling is sloppy; raising it will be an investment, but our clients told us that even if they only gained 3 or 4 inches, it would be worth it – so that’s what we’re planning to do.

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Before photo, Jersey City brownstone remodel

We’re adding wallpaper and paneling details. Replacing flimsy built-in shelves with custom-designed wood cabinets. Installing new floors. And since they hate recessed lighting, we’re designing new lighting throughout the space with beautiful quirky fixtures. (We’re currently storing their brand-new chandelier in the materials closet at the new Houseplay office!)

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Living room mood board for Jersey City brownstone remodel

The timing for this project is amazing – I had just hired Elizabeth, our interim designer. The clients are obsessed with Georgian British style. Elizabeth is British and is obsessed with the exact same period of British history.

They hired us knowing the design would happen virtually. (In fact, their Vision and Planning Session was the last meeting I went to in person before stay-at-home orders were issued.)

Elizabeth conducted the survey virtually – the clients got on Zoom with their tape measure ready, she told them what to measure and built all her drawings and diagrams accordingly.

For the design presentation, Elizabeth dropped off a box of samples at their house – with strict instructions not to open it until instructed! We presented the mood boards and drawings on screen and walked them through the samples over a four-hour virtual meeting.

They chose materials and we are completing the design phase. Our clients have been thrilled with the process every step of the way.

Our main goal is to have everything set up and ready to go by the time we get our Build services up and running again.

The synchronicity and serendipity of this project have reminded me that despite all the tragedies unfolding in our world right now, there are even more moments of ordinary beauty, connection and magic. If we look for them.

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This project marks the first time we are completing all the project design virtually. It’s an exciting step for two reasons: first, because it means that we can still serve our local clients during the COVID-19 shutdown (we plan and design your project now, with the goal of being ready to build once our construction services resume); and second, because I’ve been exploring the possibility of offering virtual design services for a few years, and this project is proving that it can be just as successful as in-person design.

If you’re local to our service area and interested in planning and designing your renovation during shutdown, tell us more about your project.

If you live outside our service area and love Houseplay’s design, and want to talk about how we can design your project from afar, contact us (choose #3) – we’d love to hear from you and explore how virtual design could work for you.