“We like to mix modern pieces with the beautiful old things we’ve inherited from our French family,” explain Cristina Sciarra and Paul Pinier of their joint decorating style. After meeting in Madrid eight years ago, the couple have lived together in Paris and Brooklyn before purchasing this Jersey City, NJ townhouse apartment. While Cristina works in real estate development, authors the food blog , and moonlights as a recipe developer and food photographer, Paul works for a French software company with headquarters in Manhattan. They both love to travel, and displaying memories from their worldly adventures takes precedence in the first home they own together.
Prior to Jersey City, they lived in the Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn for five years. They loved it, but wanted to buy a space they could grow into — and despite almost two years of searching, they found that Brooklyn wasn’t financially realistic for them. They decided on Jersey City because it reminds them of Brooklyn, with its independently owned shops, restaurants, bars, and markets — and more on the way. Public transportation, Liberty State Park, and the waterfront are all within easy walking distance. The area around Grove Street also has a palpable feeling of community, which has made settling in easier.
Settled in for about a year, they originally didn’t love the bathrooms, but decided against renovating them. They’re perfectly functional, and they wanted to put their renovation money toward something they’d enjoy more, like brightening the walls and kitchen countertops. Warm modern forms and neutral tones shape the central aesthetic, interspersed with generous pops of color, playful patterns, and expertly-arranged decorative groupings. Despite her decorating prowess, Cristina is firmly function-oriented — unless a piece has a story behind it, it should be useful. She’s not interested in ornaments that don’t serve a purpose, even if that’s just to remind herself and Paul of the journey they took toward finding this home. “After so much searching, we found a place that is ours, to decorate as we please.” —