Design Tips From HGTV’s Cousins:
This past issue, I had the pleasure of interview HGTV’s Cousins, Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri, at Carrino’s apartment in Jersey City. While taking a short break from filming their upcoming season of “America’s Most Desperate Kitchens,” which airs in June, the Cousins talked to us about everything from TV and design, to their relationship and the resurgence of Jersey City. Below are a couple simple design tips from the Cousins that we couldn’t help but ask. For the full interview with the Cousins, pick up a copy of the latest issue of The Digest or read it online here.
What, in your opinion, is one simple yet powerful way to update a home?
AC: Paint. Paint’s a very underrated DIY. It is the single most transformative thing you can do to a room, and it’s cheap.
JC: Paint 100 percent. Also, something people overlook is lighting. You come into Anthony’s apartment, and I mean the visual interest, you see the beautiful furniture and rugs and everything but your eye is going up. You’re looking at a light that is so unique and you’re looking at the Edison bulbs. You want to create this aura that is out of the realm of your house. Chandeliers and pendants are almost like art now. It’s not just a source of light, but hanging art that is so unique. Just because you’re in the kitchen or dining room doesn’t mean you have to use the old, basic lighting fixtures that you see in every home. Do something different. There’s hundreds of thousands of places to go on the internet to find lighting. That’s something that can make a big impact on a room.
So many of us are working with limited space in this area, what’s one simple way to create space in an apartment?
AC: Convertible furniture; anything that is adaptable. We actually just finished a project for someone where we built a picture frame, or what looks like a picture
frame, but it’s actually a pretty complex series of hinges. The picture frame folds down to 90 and it becomes a four person table. They didn’t have the room for a dedicated dining table, but when it’s a picture on it and it’s up on the wall and it can be literally “out of the way,” that’s a great use of space. We also did one in a kitchen here in Jersey City, it was seven feet wide—
JC: [Laughs] You could literally touch your hands to each wall.
AC: So we did a butcher block island table that folded up with two butcher block legs that folded out. It had two chairs that hung on the walls with some fun hooks from Anthropologie. It ended up being an incredible use of space because it was a whole separate counter top that was a great prep area or breakfast dining space. But then when they didn’t need it, they could fold it down and have more room to work in the kitchen together.
JC: We talk about that all the time with people. If you’re living in a city, you almost think of your space as transformer— it’s turning into things that you would never expect. We even did a kitchen in Hoboken, there was an island that needed to be a second table and it was more of an entertaining area. So we actually built two doors on the front that opened up and there was a wine cart that was tucked inside, and you could actually pull this wine cart out and roll it around the entire space. So it’s thinking outside the box, not in the conventional way of furniture. Think about how you can do something that is a little different that gives you more versatility inside your space.