Before and After: A Hoboken Condo Finds Happiness After a Reno

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About this before & after
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Credit: Galya

Name: Galya, spouse, and our little dog, Buddy Buttons
Location: Hoboken, New Jersey
Type of home: Condo
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years, owned

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: My husband and I have been married for a little over three years and decided to call Hoboken, New Jersey, our hometown—a square-mile city right across the New York City and birthplace of Frank Sinatra. It’s a town that has a mix of city life coupled with a small town feel, plus all the beautiful views of NYC skyline! I fell in love with this town the very first time I went on a date with my husband (he had been a Hoboken resident all along and I lived in Brooklyn before we met).

Credit: Galya
Kitchen that founds its happiness after reno

After we got married, our small rental in Hoboken wasn’t a place we called ours, so we decided to pull the plug and invest in a condo in this beautiful town. It was by no means an easy search; our combined wish list was very extensive, some of which might be standard to others, but you’d be surprised that places in this town with so much charm did not come with all you wanted at an affordable price (e.g. elevator, full-size washer dryer, central air). We finally settled into our condo that checked off many items on our wish list, but the place needed A LOT OF updates—we initially weren’t sure if we were ready for this unexpected challenge, but my husband and I love a good and satisfying challenge. After six weeks of chaos, quick custom design decisions, countless Home Depot trips, and sweat equity, we made the place ours. I took my time making our condo fully “us” through many Apartment Therapy articles and lots of Pinterest inspiration!

Credit: Galya

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Cozy contemporary.

Credit: Galya

What is your favorite room and why? Our bedroom is definitely one of my favorite rooms in our 900-square-foot condo! As a small space owner, we had to make many cosmetic updates and this room required extra love, care, creativity, and out-of-the-box thinking, but most importantly it required compromises (e.g. hubby wants a TV, but how do we incorporate it?; our little dog needs a bench to jump on, how do I find the perfect size that is narrow, but also goes with my style?; I’d love a nightstand, but how do I find a narrow, tall enough night stand that is also my style?). As someone who has no interior design background, I wanted to make our bedroom our little mini retreat that is cozy, comfortable, but also says a lot about me. Incorporating these challenges makes me love this space even more each day!

Credit: Galya

If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? Extra closet space please! All joking aside, we knew a city life came with a limited closet space (even after slowly taking over my husband’s drawers… oops). We definitely make it work with the two of us, but this is something we need to get a little more creative if and when we decide to expand our family. For now, a girl can wish for more closets!

Credit: Galya
Living room with a tricky entryway

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I ended up getting this Target mirror that I am still swooning over! We have a tricky entryway—not so much an entryway, but as you enter, the wall that could be potentially utilized as an entryway had an electrical panel. My husband wanted to be extra cautious and didn’t want to screw any nails on the walls so that we’re being safe. So I had to find a mirror that was affordable (which I’m all about!), but stylish enough that it could lean against the eyesore electrical box. This mirror from Target could not have been more perfect and created a wow factor when you walk in! It definitely does the trick in so many ways and makes our space feel larger. It was a win-win for both me and my husband.

Credit: Galya
Office space that is happy to be in a guest room

Any advice for creating a home you love? One of my biggest advice would be to take your time. Having a type-A personality, I wanted to finish projects, or in this case, decorate our apartment like yesterday, but along the way I realized I needed to embrace this process of creating our first home in the most patient and caring way possible. We made our big cosmetic updates in less than a month, which was full of stress and a ton of hardware store trips, so I forced myself to take my time in decorating as I navigated through identifying what my style was. I would say there’s no right or wrong way of making a home yours. Take time to figure that out, and pick pieces that feel like you—that’s what I learned from making our small condo ours (and it took nearly two years to make it “ours”).

Credit: Galya
Making lemonade out of lemons in our small condo

Thanks, Galya!