Name: Cindy Garrett & David Downs
Location: Hoboken, New Jersey
Years lived in: Purchased in 2006
Having known Cindy and David for the past five years, I've always heard the most wonderful commentary about their home from mutual friends. But it wasn't until I visited their 1891-built sunny Hoboken one bedroom last month that I saw for myself what all the chatter was about: The reaching windows that meet their tall ceilings make the space feel airy and light, while the couple's vibrant color palette unifies the apartment from its front living and dining space to its back over-sized sunny bedroom overlooking its leafy garden.
Avid travelers, Cindy and David artfully display collections from their adventures around their home. It in no way feels cluttered or even that souvenirs exist in the space; the objects richen their furniture's surfaces with texture and handcrafted qualities.
The homeowners have not only selected eco-friendly finishes as they renovated their apartment and vintage décor for each room, but they also live low-impact lives by choosing to dwell in a historic structure as well as minimize the impact of their daily commutes.
Historic Roots in a Mixed-Use Building
The apartment is located in an 1891 building listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1981 the building was renovated using Historic Preservation Tax Credits. The 5-story building has 8 identical 1-bedroom apartment units (approximately 700 SF / unit), two ground floor retail units (Tresorie Framing and Bambi Baby) as well as a shared outdoor terrace with original flagstone paving and iron balustrades.
Being Green in Hoboken
Since 2008, Cindy and David have lived in Hoboken without owning a car; they supplement their needs with Zipcar & Hertz Connect Car memberships for special trips to Trader Joe’s. On a daily basis, David commutes by fixed-gear bicycle—a used find from Flo on Wheels located at 1222 Washington Street in Hoboken—and via PATH train to City Hall in downtown Manhattan. Cindy takes the NY Waterways ferry to Midtown West where her office is located.
In 2006, the building’s condominium association installed new, double-paned, insulated windows that provide significant energy savings as well as noise insulation from outside street traffic. In 2008, the association purchased a Whirlpool Energy-Star rated High Efficiency (HE) washer and dryer for complimentary use by all building residents.
My day spent in Hoboken with Cindy and David was an absolute treat. After they graciously toured me around their apartment and let me wander, shooting every detail in sight, we headed out for another type of tour, a culinary one that involved italian ice and a taco truck. What a lovely day!
Our style: Since 2006, we have worked to gradually reduce our Ikea-owned percentage by introducing vintage Mid-century Modern pieces. To balance the number and variety of wood MCM furniture, we have added contemporary splashes of color, textile, and patterns.
Inspiration: Mad Men. Mid-Century Modern. Walnut. Orange. Shades of gray. Unique storage solutions.
Favorite Element: Faux Fireplace.
Biggest Challenge: Kitchen Cabinets and Appliances.
We struggled with the decision to retain the existing kitchen cabinets and appliances, which were all replaced by a previous owner in the early 2000s, in good working condition, but definitely not our style. For value and sustainability purposes, we made the conscious decision to rebuild the kitchen around these elements, as we did not want to waste perfectly “OK” materials.
We ripped out the white stained linoleum floor and installed 6x24” gray porcelain tiles, replaced the charcoal laminate counter with a concrete-color quartz composite material (adding an undermount sink) and defined the serving bar with Calcutta Gold marble, and finally added a 1x2” glass tile backsplash (Nemo Linea Taupe), and work surface task lighting. In the future, new owners could easily replace the appliances, if and when needed; we research replacing the cabinet fronts, but for now, the white arch cabinets are here to stay.
What Friends Say: Wow. This is what an apartment looks like with no children. Is this Hoboken? I would have never thought any of these wall colors would work well together.
Proudest DIY: Ceiling fan installation.
Biggest Indulgence: Cherner Chairs (Vintage, Set of 6); Calcutta Gold marble serving Bar
Best Advice: Take one project at a time, and focus on the details. Get good insulated windows – we never turn the heat on in the winter.
Green Elements/Initiatives: Mixed-Use Building with Multiple Transit Options, Double-Paned and Insulated Windows, Vintage furniture, Aura paint (hallway), Quartz composite counters.
Resources: Kitchen Countertops: Chroma Quartz – Stormy Sky Honed – 1 ¼" slab; Dining Bar Countertops: Calcutta Gold Marble – 1 ¼" slab; Kitchen Backsplash: Nemo Linea Glass Tile – Taupe – 1x2" tile; Bathroom Tile: Nemo White Ceramic Tile (3x6" wall in subway pattern, ½" hexagon floor).
Appliances: Kenmore white Stove, Refrigerator, Dishwasher
Hardware: Kitchen Sink: Grohe; Bathroom Sink: Kohler
Furniture: New: Saarinen 35" laminate dining table; DWR 73" Bantam Sofa; CB2 Orange Lacquer Dining Credenza; Rolly Side Tabe (Matt Carr, designer), Mxyplyzyk, New York City. Vintage: eBay, VIntage Cherner chairs (set of 6); Mackey Blue, Hoboken, New Jersey (TV Stand); (closed) Erie Street Antiques, Hoboken, New Jersey (small credenza, coffee table, arm chair); I Like Mike's Mid-Centru Modern, Brooklyn, New York (dresser and lamps); Las Venus, New York City (dresser).
Lighting: Recessed lighting (dining/kitchen); under cabinet task lighting (kitchen); vintage lamps (I Like Mike's Mid-Century Modern); Nelson Minor table lamp (Jonathan Adler); Nut Walnut Pendant Light (Miguel Herranz, designer).
Rugs and Carpets: Crate & Barrel 6x9’ rough color stripe
Tiles and Stone: Quartz Counters, Marble Eating Bar, Ceramic Tile
Window Treatments: Levolor Wood Blinds - White
Beds: Jonathan Adler duvet and euro shams; Crate & Barrel standard pillows; CB2 throw pillows.
Artwork: Photographs and Paintings by Owners, Paintings by Kim Norrman
Paint: Benjamin Moore: Mink, Silver Fox, Kiwi, Pumpkin Spice
Flooring: (existing) Hardwood Floors, Porcelain Tile (Kitchen), Ceramic Tile (Bathroom).
Interested in sharing your home with Re-Nest? Contact our editors through our Green Tour Submission Form.
(Images: Landis Carey)