Inside Out: Avery and Cortney’s Learning Curve

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Avery and Cortney
Location: Hoboken, NJ
Owned/Rented: Owned
Size: 780 sqft. 2 bedroom (2nd bedroom is now a living room)
Years lived in: 6 months, since the 9 month reno was finished

Avery and Cortney didn’t quite know what they were getting into when they decided to renovate their newly purchased 2 bedroom apartment. They had never renovated anything, never designed an apartment and definitely never demolished plaster walls down to the studs.

Now, however, they can say that they are experienced to the point of expert knowledge in all three subjects… Do you have an idea for a house tour? Let me know!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

After working with an architect to bat around ideas and settle on a rather ambitious re-design, they took on the demo themselves. Avery, his brother and his wife spent a couple of months of after work/weekends time ripping out cabinets, dragging away appliances, knocking down walls, and chipping away at century old plaster!

When asked how they approached the demo, Avery replied “We cut the power and did it slowly to make sure we wouldn�t bring the building down.” Now that it is finished, they love opening in the wall between the kitchen and the rest of the apartment. They love the fluidity of the three front rooms.

During the contractor’s tenure, Avery and Cortney rented an apartment down the block so that Avery could show up almost every day and oversee progress. He found that part the most challenging and the biggest learning curve. He had to know enough of the technical details to make sure they were going according to plan.

In all, Avery and Cortney feel so much better having put in the hard work rather than buying a move-in ready space. The sense of accomplishment not to mention the great results are rewarding, to say the least!

1. Style: Mid-Century Modern / Retro-Modern
2. Inspiration: Dwell and Domino magazine, Furniture and Design books while killing time in Barnes and Noble
3. Favorite Element: Open space between the kitchen, dining, and living areas. Why did they ever put a wall between them?
4. Biggest Challenge: Dealing with the time delays and scheduling issues. This project took A LOT of attention and put a strain on our personal time and relationship.
5. What Friends Say: They are all very surprised we finally finished. We get lots of compliments and congratulations on the hard work.
6. Biggest Embarrassment: Not knowing enough to replace the incredibly drafty windows.
7. Proudest DIY: It is a toss up between the custom cat litter location, the network/phone/cable work, and the heavy lifting for all the demolition
8. Biggest Indulgence: The Italian slate countertops, especially committing to having the counters turn south towards the floor to cover the ends of the cabinets. Slate has all the benefits of granite but has more character and is less common.
9. Best Advice: Don�t buy apartments with plaster walls, you will never forgive yourself. They are seriously painful to remove, restore, or patch. BAD all around. Also, get advice from someone who has done a big project!
10. Dream Source: : Poliform. I would love to do a whole house of Poliform cabinets.


  • Furniture:

    • I run search requests for about 20 terms daily (obsessive, I know) to find diamonds in the rough. My best finds were authentic Knoll, Corbusier, and Herman Miller all at deep discounts.  I have bought and sold furniture on CL for about 7 years now, starting in San Francisco. 

      • The vintage Steelcase desk is from CL and was an original unit for the Pennsylvania Welfare Office by way of Brooklyn. 

      • The brown Knoll chairs are also from CL from an IBM office in Texas by way of the East Village.

    • If you must buy something full price these guys are really nice and have great delivery.

    • DWR: I am a regular at the new outlet in Secaucus and picked up our Leggero dresser there for a great price as well as the “Hola y Adios” entryway table

    • Modernica: Case Study Daybed, Shell Rocker, Shell Counter Stools

    • IKEA: You have to do it sometimes. Our bed and credenza are from the Swedes.

  • Bath and kitchen hardware, mostly from,, and local suppliers

    • Bath

      • Hansgrohe Interaktik S ThermoBalance III

      • Kohler Purist Chrome single-function showerhead

      • Kohler MasterShower Invigorating 3-way Handshower

      • Kohler Chrome wall-mount non-diverter bath spout

      • Graf sink faucet, looks like Starck but only $150 at HomeDepot

      • Smedbo soap dispenser and cup

      • Channel Series  Towel Bars,TP holder, and robe hook

      • White Porcher Sapho Wall-Mounted Lavatory

      • Toto Aquia Dual Flush Toilet and Toto Oval Softclose Toliet Seat

      • Allied Brass Chrome Shower Rod and Brackets

    • Kitchen


      • Franke EuroPro GNX-110-20 Sink


  • Contractor if you would recommend him/her,

    • Unfortunately we cannot recommend him, he is probably better than most but not quite good enough to sing his praises.

  • Cat products. We got most from but they seem to be out of business. A few new sources below

    • Cat Tree scratchers from

    • Scratching Swirl from

    • Cat food bucket “Crick” by Stefano Giovannonni for United Pets. Found at The Container Store

    • Bent Wood Feeder from Holden Designs

    • Cat water fountain from Petco

    • Cat door to litter box (in cabinet) from Petco

  • Cabinets:

    • Kitchen: Ikea Akurum Adel Birch with DIY aluminum angles for undercabinet light trim.

    • Bathroom: Ikea Vattern cabinet combo with DIY aluminum angles on under and over cabinet light.

  • Bedding: Dwell Bedding Sample Sale!

  • Fun Accessories

    • Kidrobot and Toy Tokyo: cool toys and figures from Hong Kong, Ugly Dolls, designer chair models, mouse pads.

    • Global Table in the West Village for porcelein and glass nic nacs

    • Myplyzyk in the West Village for odds and ends

    • Rose and Radish: Owl plaque

    • Circa50: Pillows in Eames and Girard fabrics

    • Alessi things here and there

  • Art

    • “For Like Ever” from, seen in Domino magazine

    • Ellsworth Kelly’s Spectrum, IV print from MOMA

    • Warhol Soup Can, from MOMA

    • We need more! Still looking to fill in the walls.

  • Etc.

    • Stone/Tile

      • Mosaic Tile Market Winter Blend backsplash

      • Ann Sacks Paris AS7683 Matte Periwinkle 1″ Hexagons

      • Dal Tile: 3×6 modular # 0190 artic white

      • Piertra Cardosa Italian slate

    • Lighting

      • FC-F6080-59    Forecast – F6080-59 – FLUSH-MOUNT

      • (2) Modern Fan Modern Fan Cirrus Hugger

      • Tech Lighting Freejack Mini Echo (smoke or clear) and 4″ Round Flush Canopy Satin Nickel

      • Le Klint Pendant

    • Appliances

      • Washer/Dryer Combo LG WM3431HS 

      • Refridgerator LG LFD21860ST

      • Dishwasher LG LDF7810ST

      • Microwave Bosch HMV9305

      • Range Bosch HGS345UC

      Originally Posted on February 14th, 2007