Goodbye, Old Jersey City Home
A symbolic farewell to, and tour behind the scenes of our home and BURBS + a BBQ's OG Headquarters in NYC's budding "sixth borough" of Jersey City
Before I introduce "The Spriglet," B+aBBQ's new mobile headquarters and our roving home for the foreseeable future (including an explanation of its name), let's say goodbye to the birthplace and original B+aBBQ headquarters, our Jersey City brownstone. I never shared the interior design of our home on the blog before, but as I've redecorated the trailer and pulled my very favorite pillows and accoutrements from our old apartment into the Spriglet to make it feel like home, I became nostalgic to memorialize the Chilltown digs. The "Where We Were," if you will.
We left Jersey City in such a stressed out frenzy, it doesn't seem like we really said goodbye to anyone or anything. Which is okay, no big drama is necessary. But sometimes I laugh when I think about what a beautiful home we left for this cute cozy hotel room on wheels we now occupy. Except that our leaving had nothing to do with beautiful homes. The reasons were bigger and deeper -- so much more so -- than anything aesthetically based, as I already explained.
If you recall way back to the beginning of B+aBBQ, though, it was viewing this apartment on a weekend whim that caused us to move to Jersey City with very little knowledge of anything beside five facts:
- It was three times bigger than our Manhattan apartment;
- It was 40% cheaper than our Manhattan apartment;
- It had a big, fat private deck with a BBQ grill;
- There was a pretty pimpin' park a few blocks away (Hamilton Park) where our baby could breath a little fresh air and play;
- People actually spoke to, or at least acknowledged each other in the park!
If you also recall, we had to break the lease on our Tribeca-based Manhattan apartment at a price tag that would make most people vomit uncontrollably. It made us vomit, too. And made us very sad whenever we thought about it and what we coulda, woulda or shoulda done with that money. Such exercises are futile.
But the appeal of the five facts above going into the summer of 2014 was just too enticing, as was getting out of the City, where we were suffocating in misery. So off we went under the Hudson.
At that point, I had only been a full-time stay-at-home-mom for about four months. I was still in mega mode (as in, a hustling career woman and mama who was used to multitasking 14,000 projects at once with a little baby and damn near losing her mind) so I approached decorating my new home with the same (leftover) intensity: as though it was a full-time interior decoration project upon which my future relied (being that I'm not an interior designer and this was just for fun, that was self-imposed nonsense but I somehow still really enjoyed the move-in and decoration process).
Moving to Jersey City was a very contrary experience to our return to New York City two years prior in 2012, after more than a year full-time on the road. At that time, I didn't know I was pregnant. All I knew was that I was having a lot of trouble settling back down into a non-nomadic life and I didn't have any desire to nest or settle into or decorate our new Tribeca apartment, and was quite hostile about that fact (which, as it turned out, was the surprise pregnancy hormones speaking). I indifferently allowed (forced) my Love to chose furniture and decor, and then complained that I didn't have a say and it didn't reflect my style.
It was ugly (and thankfully the Ultimate Settle Down Card -- in the form of two little lines on a pee stick -- soon revealed the reason for my sudden split personality, or I believe my Love would have thrown deuces and run for the hills).
But I was definitely into the process of moving to Jersey City and decorating our home this time around, and I wanted full reigns. My Love happily indulged me.
Gratefully, I had a gorgeous backdrop from which to work. We rented from Dixon Leasing, an experience about which I cannot say enough good things. They really were amazing (yes, a leasing company and amazing in the same sentence. I know, right?). And in turn, we were very invested in taking good care of the property.
We lived on the corner of Erie and Sixth Streets in Hamilton Park, facing the Sixth Street Embankment. Being just around the corner from a police and a fire station made Sixth Street at our intersection a noisy nightmare of screaming sirens, and yet, when we moved in it seemed like the most wonderful place in the world.
There was a gorgeous tree right in front of our apartment that was lush green all summer, peak with foliage in the fall, covered in a peaceful dusting of snow all winter and exploding with blossoms in the spring.
The outside of the building was in good condition. Had we owned the place, I would have painted the window treatments a different color and invested in not-busted-looking house numbers. The brickwork might have needed a bit of touch-up work here and there, as well, though it had some pretty little details. The building was not run down by any means, and Dixon clearly put considerable effort into restoring it, but by comparison to some of the spots on our block (meticulously kept homes), it wasn't the prettiest from the outside (it wasn't horrible, just not to suit my personal style... such is rental life).
But the inside more than made up for it.
Entering the front door into the first floor lead into an open style living room, then up to a raised kitchen and beyond that, out to our back deck (and BBQ!). We must have rearranged the living room forty times before I was pleased with the big furniture alone. Then I let loose on the small details. I am a constant re-arranger of small details, so some pictures in the following "After" photos may not match exactly because they were taken at different points throughout the year (and are a mix of iPhone and Canon EOS Rebel photos, with questionable lighting. So bear with me. Don't judge).
Living Room Before:
Living Room After:
Details and Close-ups of the Living Room:
The kitchen was a perfect size and layout for us. It had sleek black marble countertops and white tile backdrop; perfect for photographing everything. Somehow I don't have a comprehensive after shot, but that's okay because I rearranged my kitchen at least once a week (a little tactic of mine to procrastinate and clear my head/think. Yes, I have a problem). Just imagine it with a few gadgets, most having to do with coffee and/or breakfast.
Kitchen After (details):
Beyond the kitchen was one of my favorite features of the house: our glorious deck. It was not only a selling point of the place, but where we spent a lot of time in the warm months of the year. We drank our coffee out there each morning and ate most of our meals outside (we would grill cereal if we could, just to use this space). I played with my daughter on the deck while my Love was at work, and whenever we took a moment to pause out on the deck, life improved. We attempted privacy by lining the perimeter with bamboo, which did help.
The Deck Before:
The Deck After (in its many iterations):
The second floor housed our bedrooms and "The Girls' Bathroom" (there were two in the house, one for the World's Cutest Human and I on this floor, and one for my Love on the third floor which was 90% his domain. More on that later).
I don't have a before picture for The Girls' Bathroom and I don't have an after picture for the Boy's Bathroom. The only bathroom picture in the house (of the Girls' Bathroom) follows below.
I utilized a lot of color in here because it was such a neutral white backdrop (as in the whole house) and the turquoise and orange popped so brightly against the clean white. Keeping it clean, well, that was another story.
Our bedroom was originally intended to be a writing and yoga room for me because it had incredibly inspiring natural light. Ironically, our giant bed was also big enough to block the windows and make it into a cozy dark sleeping cave. The former was my desire, the latter, my Love's. He won and I wasn't entirely sad about it (because it looked great and slept like a dream) but I wasn't happy about it either (because the yoga space never materialized elsewhere). Sadly, because of the lack of lighting with the bed blocking the windows, and my lack of a mount flash, the after photos of our bedroom don't do it justice. But alas, you get the point.
See what I mean, below? That light! Those floors! But...
Here is our bedroom after we turned it into a dark love cave:
When my daughter was born (in the Tribeca apartment), her sex was a surprise to us (hey, the whole thing was a surprise, why not take the wonderment to the finish line!?) and I neither wanted to go with pale yellow nor gray. This is a new life we're talking about. One who is half-Latin. Bright color is in her blood, so I went with primary colors for her nursery. She turned a year old one week after we moved to New Jersey and I brought her colorful decor, as is, across the river.
Baby's Room Before:
Baby's Room After:
Yes, these photos feature a many-a-time rearranged room. And not it's ultimate final arrangement, although the panorama is closest to final (which reversed the chair and the changing table from the way it is pictured).
The third floor is a bit of a story unto itself, which I won't bore you with at the end of such a long post. But suffice to say that my Love had a ManCave planned for our Tribeca apartment, which was stolen by the arrival of surprise baby and reduced to a ManCorner inside an already crowded living room (understatement of the year). So, he was gunning hard for ManSpace in the new Jersey City abode.
Like I said, I lost the bid for a writing and yoga room and in the process, the Mantic (Man Attic) was born. Also known as the entire third floor of the house.
If it wasn't going to be a space for me, I was at least going to make it as sexy and awesome as possible. I decorated his bathroom with a glittering Eiffel Tower (reminiscent of where we conceived our little darling) and Vargas Girls. Somehow I have no photos of this scene. Probably because it was always a mess and by the time I cleaned it, I was too tired to remember to take a picture. But the rest of it followed a black and white 'n splash of red motif and I have plenty of pictures of that.
Note that since this is one long big room, there are essentially two sides to this room, plus a hidden addition behind the projector screen.
The Chilling Chairs (and my writing space while the WCH was in 'school'):
BRIG Cinemas (his dream projector set-up, named for our 'celebrity ' mashup name):
Beyond BRIG Cinemas was a work table we made together out of piping and wood that nearly ended our relationship, but came out cool. He build robots and did projects there. Also behind the projector screen hid a piano and the only bit of boxes clutter that I allowed in the house.
We loved this home so very much. And we absolutely loved Jersey City. But now that it is time for bigger, badass adventures across many a town and city, and we've officially bid farewell to the lovely B+aBBQ OG Headquarters here on the blog, I think it's time to introduce our new mobile abode (Mabode).
What say you? Do you want to see our new RV trailer?