“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 The Roaming Kitchen, 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
It’s always fascinating how social changes can affect the way we want to live and use the space in our homes. One of the most noticeable changes in recent decades has been the shift from separate kitchens to a preference for open-plan layouts. While cooking used to be confined to a space that was isolated from social activities, time in the kitchen is now seen as one of the social highlights of home life. With new preferences that blur the line between cooking and living spaces, the kitchen island has developed into a much desired and loved part of every spacious or open-plan kitchen.
My advice for anyone trying to tackle a similar project would be to use your imagination and use what you have. You can transform a space with just a few elements, like a coat of paint or a temporary point of focus — not only is the backsplash removable, I could always turn it into a table top or hang it elsewhere as art. Let the space evolve; not being able to do everything at once (due to time or finances) is good sometimes. Use those weekdays when you don’t have time to work on your project to dream up different possibilities, then when the weekend comes, you are well prepared to put your ideas into action