Claire Cinquina and her family bought their apartment in 2002. The 1,200-square-foot space itself is part of a historic building which overlooks Hamilton Park in Jersey City. From the beginning, Cinquina and her husband weren’t sure they would be staying long-term, which is the reason why they chose not to update the apartment. However, for years they felt the place lacked personality. They considered moving out, but over time, they grew fond of the area and disliked the idea of taking their kids away from such a great neighborhood. One thing was for sure, if they were going to stay, they needed a full home renovation.
Fed up with the lack of space and outdated design, they contacted Houseplay Renovations, a Jersey City remodeling contractor that specializes in full project management. “Our goal from the get-go was a full apartment renovation. We had been living in the apartment for 13 years and had not invested a dime into it. We called Houseplay specifically because we felt they could help us with everything from design to execution,” said Cinquina. After an initial consultation, Cinquina found the courage to take that fateful leap, with the hope that the finished product would be everything they’d dreamed.
Houseplay is comprised of husband and wife team Tammy and Niall Templeman. With Tammy’s design expertise and Niall’s extensive construction background, they are able to offer their clients support at every stage of the renovation process. More importantly, the Templemans, with a family of their own, understand the personal aspect of a home renovation. They explained, “We wanted to create a home that works well for them, something they can love living in that fits their budget.”
The renovation began with design. In this phase, Houseplay helps clarify all the details of the remodeling project with their clients, going over every decision (big or small) from layout changes to the knobs on the cabinet doors. For the Cinquina family’s Jersey City residence, Houseplay had two key goals: update the apartment with a fresh, modern look, and create a more functional living space. Knowing this, Tammy and Niall helped guide the Cinquinas through a process of selections that fit their goals as well as their personal tastes and preferences.
One of the downsides to a full home renovation is that, for the most part, you cannot live in your house during the construction phase. Luckily Cinquina and her family were able to move into a neighboring apartment during the construction, but there was one small catch, they could only sublet for two months. With a tight deadline, Houseplay began construction, which included demolition, carpentry, electric, plumbing, painting, and tiling.
Despite nine-foot ceilings, the kitchen (above) was seriously lacking in worktop and storage space, especially on the countertops. In order to optimize the room’s tight quarters, Houseplay relocated the refrigerator and installed two sets of cabinets, one 15-inch set for everyday use and one 30-inch set for prolonged storage. And to combat the room’s lighting issues, Houseplay used LED lighting below the cabinets so that the worktops were well-lit. LED lighting was installed above the cabinets as well, which created a nice ambient glow (perfect for those lowkey midnight snacking trips). Finally, the work stations were lined with a quartz countertop and woodgrain porcelain tile, resulting in a softer, more modern look. “It totally changed the layout of the kitchen, it gave us loads of cabinet space and miles of countertop,” Cinquina explained.
In the living room, and throughout the home, there were excellent closets, but small, clunky doors on each that made the top two rows of shelving obsolete. By opening them up to eight feet, Houseplay allowed the homeowners to utilize the top part of their closet. “The rooms not only feel more dramatic and elegant now,” said Templeman, “but they also have more function.” In addition, Houseplay refinished the original hardwood flooring and installed new slim surface mount lights, giving the effect of recessed lighting throughout the apartment.
Throughout the apartment, Houseplay updated wall colors and lighting elements. This is most evident in the bedrooms and bathrooms, particularly Cinquina’s daughter’s room (above). “Their daughter loved the color teal, so we added a pop of color along the one wall,” Templeman explained. In addition to this, Templeman found a white and teal paper folded origami lighting fixture on Etsy from the Netherlands, which completed the look.
With about ten weeks under their belt, Houseplay wrapped up the project, allowing Cinquina and her family to return. For the family, the finished product was nothing short of mind-blowing. The changes gave them a brighter, more functional living space but most importantly, their apartment finally had what it lacked— their personality. “Because we lived right next door during the renovation we were able to peek in from time to time to watch the progress, which was fun,” Cinquina said. “It was awesome to walk through the completed space and it was such a relief. It really feels like home.”
For more information on Houseplay Renovations and their services visit www.hprnj.com.
About the Author/s
Michael is the Editor-in-Chief of New Jersey Digest, COO of X Factor Media, and an avid writer. Growing up in Bergen County, he discovered his passion for words while in Friday detention. Michael loves kayaking, a fat glass of Nebbiolo, and over-editing.