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Interiorssneak peeks

Statement Pieces Breathe New Life Into a New Jersey Victorian

by Garrett Fleming

That one piece. We all have it. The day you found it, you were probably skipping through a shop, and in a flash everything went dark and there it stood. A lamp. A sofa. A mirror. Whatever it was, I’m sure it came home with you, and an entire room was built around it. For me, it was a blue velvet sofa. A couple years ago it was on super clearance, and I didn’t even measure it before giddily snatching it up. Luckily the sofa fit, and since then, it has informed every design decision I’ve made for my home. Put simply, it’s the pièce de résistance of my place, and I’m not alone in my strategy. Joey and Mark of Ball & Claw Vintage have decorated each one of their New Jersey Victorian’s rooms around unique statement pieces.

When Joey’s job left Manhattan and relocated to Jersey City, neither he nor his partner, Mark, were convinced they should leave behind their Brooklyn home and start fresh. To help them decide, the couple took a drive out to visit the area and were quite surprised by what they found. The Park Slope-esque neighborhood was much more metropolitan and fun than they had imagined. On the quick jaunt, Mark and Joey chanced upon a local who recommended his real estate agent and *poof* insta-home! Featuring 5 bedrooms and 4 baths, parquet floors, stained-glass windows and many other gorgeous original details, the home the agent showed them was a stunner for sure.

A short time later, the couple’s Brooklyn home was on the market and the keys to the new Victorian were in their hands. From the get-go, the guys set out to modernize – but not compromise – the integrity of their gorgeous new space. It was built in the late 1880s, and as with any old home, it came with its quirks. New wiring, updated plumbing and general cleaning-up took place before the real fun began: decorating. On weekends, these two vintage-lovers drove all around the Northeast tracking down stellar finds. The home’s two stunning fireplaces, as well as eclectic rugs and doors, are just a few of the fun and unusual touches they picked up.

Each of these statement pieces have greatly inspired every inch of the space that surrounds them. As visitors walk from one room to the next, they see that each one is decorated in a different color and style but always with the eclectic touch the couple is known for. “We love when people say they feel like they are in a museum whenever they walk through. We especially love to use lots of color, large art pieces, plants, and textiles when decorating a room,” they share. They couldn’t imagine being able to create a home so personal and inspirational with new construction or inside a giant condo, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s the original quirks and unique finds that make this particular home sing. Click through to see more, and enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Jen Chanyi

Statement Pieces Breathe New Life Into a New Jersey Victorian, Design*Sponge
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A mixture of vibrant and cheeky pieces comes together here to create a layered look perfect for the eclectic pair. "We love when people say they feel like they are in a museum whenever they walk through. We especially love to use lots of color, large art pieces, plants and textiles when decorating a room," Joey and Mark share.
Statement Pieces Breathe New Life Into a New Jersey Victorian, Design*Sponge
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Mark, a pediatrician, and Joey, a vintage furniture buyer, pose with Bridget in front of their favorite window in the house. The three moved in a year and a half ago and have spent nearly every weekend since driving around to pick up vintage pieces that amplify their home's curated look.
Statement Pieces Breathe New Life Into a New Jersey Victorian, Design*Sponge
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On one of their more memorable vacations, the couple played Mancala for hours and hours. The following Christmas, Joey bought Mark this 50s-era, Rosewood playing board as a reminder of that special trip. Above it hangs a portrait of Elvis the guys got for five bucks at an estate sale.
Statement Pieces Breathe New Life Into a New Jersey Victorian, Design*Sponge
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Just inside the front door is the reception room. It's here where keys, wallets and shoes tend to hang out, strewn about when the men come home after a long day. The chair is from Craigslist – the couple's go-to resource for the majority of their home's pieces.
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"One of our favorite pieces in the room is the large, bank-ledger book on the coffee table. It is from the 1940s and keeps a daily record of every single bank transaction made over a period of two years. We acquired it at a local estate sale," the couple tells us. Most of the home's original, stained-glass windows are here in the reception area and above a sofa from Chairish. The rug's an antique, and Niroma Studio makes the macrame hanger.
Statement Pieces Breathe New Life Into a New Jersey Victorian, Design*Sponge
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The kitchen was renovated in the 1990s, but the previous owner's style and this pair's absolutely didn't match up. Before they even had a plan for the space, Joey and Mark ripped out the cabinets and started cleaning and prepping everything for the new install. It was the room's lack of feeling that really bugged them, but countertops and a sink from IKEA, as well as a tile overhaul, have given it a whole new look. "Our favorite piece here is the kitchen island. It dates [back to the] mid-1800s, and we found it at an estate sale," the two say.
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Before these gorgeous double doors from Amighini Architectural were in place, very little natural light streamed into the kitchen. Now the room's brighter and much cheerier. The new overhead lighting dates back to the 1920s, a time when they used to illuminate a car lot.
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Even with this gorgeous fireplace filling up part of it, Joey and Mark's voices still echo inside their bedroom. The orange statement piece is by far the prettiest Craigslist find I've ever seen. Joey has a deep love for exotic textiles, so he couldn't resist finding ones that perfectly complement the bold fireplace.
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The original, claw-foot tub and overall odd shape are what the couple loves most about their bathroom. Eventually, it will get a fresh coat of paint, but why rush? It looks so nice already. The shower curtain is from CB2, and the pedestal sink is an antique.
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This bedroom is by far the smallest in the space, so the couple has converted it into a home office/guest room. The Chesterfield sofa actually folds out into a bed and sits behind a yellow storage box Joey found on the side of the road.
Statement Pieces Breathe New Life Into a New Jersey Victorian, Design*Sponge
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You'd be hard-pressed to find a better deal on rattan furniture than $6. That's how much this little beauty cost at the consignment store. Joey dashed across the street when he saw it and ran to the register as fast as he could with it in his arms.
Statement Pieces Breathe New Life Into a New Jersey Victorian, Design*Sponge
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This guest room was originally used as housekeeper quarters, but now it exists solely to make Joey and Mark's guests feel at home when they sleep over. Before it got a makeover, the walls and ceilings were painted a terrible blue and green, but its new paint job has it feeling fresh and light. The indigo quilt and pillows are from the couple's shop Ball and Claw Vintage.
Statement Pieces Breathe New Life Into a New Jersey Victorian, Design*Sponge
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Original lead detailing adds a touch of drama to the moody dining room. The room's centerpiece, an old farm table, was stored in a barn for 60 years before Joey and Mark found it through Craigslist. The farm it came from is in North Carolina, so Joey's mom, a North Carolina resident, had to help the pair snag it. It now sits underneath the couple's CB2 chandelier.
Statement Pieces Breathe New Life Into a New Jersey Victorian, Design*Sponge
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One Thanksgiving, Joey came across this working vintage fireplace and simply had to have it for the evening's meal. He and Mark somehow paid for and picked it up while also prepping for dinner. "We love the contrast in style it has with the rest of the room."
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The 3,500-square foot home in Jersey City, NJ was built sometime between 1880 and 1910. It boasts five bedrooms and four baths.
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An aerial view of the second floor.
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The top floor's layout.

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