One of the things I love most about older homes is the stories and history they hold from those who lived there prior. There’s something feel-good — and somewhat thrilling — about knowing where a certain scratch in the floor came from, or discovering a stack of old newspapers under the stairs. Getting to peek into the past is a privilege I enjoy in my own home, and one that Emily and Kyle Barry share as well. Their lofted studio was originally built in 1864 and used to be a Governor’s Mansion — and thereafter a community space for underprivileged urban residents — before it became the place Emily and Kyle call home.
Together with her mother, Emily runs Rehabitat, an interiors and styling business, and Kyle works in Brooklyn at West Elm’s headquarters. When they were first looking for a new apartment, the large windows, open staircase, rooftop patio and view of the city that this home offered caught their eye. Located in the heart of booming Jersey City, the couple’s lifestyle strikes a balance between quiet suburbia and the busy hustle-bustle of the city, and they relish in being central to local shops and restaurants — namely the countless flea markets and antique stores at arm’s reach. Emily admits to being a bit of a thrift-store-o-holic, so the biggest challenge when it came to decorating their space was editing down and practicing restraint so as not to collect and stockpile too many things. She admits, “I’ve moved on from furniture pieces to accessories and artwork only because we’re running out of space!” Like many, they think of their home as an ever-evolving space. “The second I think we are [done decorating], I get bored and want to switch something around, or redo the gallery wall, or repaint something,” Emily says. “I’m always battling between what I love about our space versus what I wish was different.” But no matter how many faults they find with their lofted studio space, they feel truly lucky every day to have found such a diamond in the rough.–Sabrina