Painting Ps Sugar Box: A Neutral yet Playful Color Scheme

Happy New Year! This year is one we are very much looking forward to! Last year was an incredible year of growth and big changes, all that made us stronger. This year will be the year we move into our new home and begin making memories, and what’s even better?! We will be helping our clients do the same with each of our projects on the horizon for 2019 and we couldn’t be more excited!


This weekend we are going to begin painting the sugar box (the name we lovingly use to refer to our Jersey City row house), and I thought I would share with you the neutral, light and colorful scheme we have put together for the home. I’m really excited for this palette to get up on the walls, it has an air of playfulness, especially upstairs, so while we prepare to paint, here is a look at the space and a look at the colors.


Right when you walk in the door, you are in the living room, and your eye stretches through all the way through the stairway and beyond into the kitchen. From certain angles, you can see right through to the back room as well, so it was really important that all of our choices are really symbiotic. This is something we are mindful of in all of our client projects too, we want to make sure the whole home has a flow and feels like it really all fits and works well together, like the rooms all get along, but it’s even more important when you can see all of the rooms from one another-the challenge and beauty of an open floor plan ;)


Up the stairs, the hallway splits off in both directions left to Eleanor’s room and my office/guest room; and right to the master bedroom. Again, if all the doorways are open you can see from our room all of the adjoining spaces off of the hallway, but additionally up here, we wanted to let the rooms be a little more personal through their colors. Eleanor chose the color for hers, and even though she is only 2 when she looked at the options (about 20 colors in front of her) she consistently chose the same color every time… so that’s what we are going with.



Our master bedroom color was the same and Pat and I just landed on it time and again, so we knew that was the right choice. For my office though, I had a harder time. I knew I wanted it to feel like a color, but I also wanted it to be grounding, peaceful and neutral enough not to distort any samples I may be working with in the space. We did find a really pretty color and I’ll say, Pat actually found it’s sister color and I chose a shade lighter to get it to where I envisioned it for the space.


Here are the colors again altogether and I’m really pleased with how they flow. They are as follows, left to right (all Benjamin Moore): Kitchen Cabinets (Salamander), Kitchen and Family Room Walls (Cloud White), Living Room Walls (Balboa Mist), Stairway and Halls (La Paloma Gray), Office/Guest Room (Oyster), Eleanor’s Room (Woodlawn Blue), Master Bedroom (Black Pepper).


Other paint and finish details for our modern color scheme in an old house…We are going to paint any remaining trim work cloud white and then as we work through the rooms upgrading the moldings that may change. For the doors facing the hallway, I am envisioning them being stripped and wood tone but on the interior side of the room I imagine they will be white or the trim color. The powder room and basement door (the only interior doors on the first floor right now) will likely also be stripped down to wood and those can be wood on both sides.

With the whole house we are trying to balance the character and charm of the original house (built in 1896), while also updating everything to work with our more warm modern style. I think this color palette keeps things warm and harmonious throughout the space, and details like moldings and the wooden doors echo back to the original house and the history there.

What do you think of our updated color scheme? Would you use any or all of these colors in your home? I can’t wait to share updated photos of the house and the progress in the next week or so…be sure to follow along on Instagram Stories for updates while we are painting over the weekend and I will try to share some of the details to Facebook as well!

The Demo is Done at Ps Sugar Box


All of the demo has been done over at the Sugar Box! (Some of it even done by us!)

All of the walls have been opened up wherever they could be, the old horrible floors are out and we’ve done as much electrical and plumbing as we can do. We are ready for inspections!

While we wait, I’ve been wrestling with design decisions, making some final tweaks here and there to my mood board and working on sourcing all the finishing products.

I’ve met with the floor guy and have a meeting this week to meet with the stair railing guy, and talked to all the other guys (there are a lot of men in this industry) so we are rounding in on having everything set (more or less), and I thought I would take you on a little demo tour.

Here it goes! (If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve most likely seen an update or two in stories, but I wanted to document it here too along with some info on some of the hiccups we have had along the way, so hang in there for this post if you can!)

If you want to see what the house looked like when we bought it, you can hop back a few posts to see it here. It’s already come a long way.

Here is a look at the progress:

Living Room: Fortunately in the living room, everything has pretty much gone as expected. The wall between the stairs and the living room had to be supported along the width of the room, but I don’t mind that small post there so far. The major surprise was finding out we couldn’t just refinish the floors on the first floor. Due to the way the house was built back in the 1890’s there was no subfloor and the floors themselves were starting to wear. We were able to harvest several boards to be used to patch upstairs but the downstairs will have new wood flooring laid on top of the existing which will act as a subfloor.

New Kitchen: This room used to be the dining room, so again, we expected a lot needing to be done in here. Outside of the floors, the main thing in here was opening up what we thought was a fireplace and seeing how wide we could make the doorway to the family room. We found that there wasn’t a fireplace at all, but a chimney and we gained SO MUCH SPACE in here! The opening increased from 28” to 58” which will really make a world of difference once we are in the house and moving through the space! On the other side of the kitchen, We did run into some pipes in the wall that didn’t allow us to gain as much space from the stairway area as we had hoped but we did still get quite a bit more than what was there before so overall it’s a win!

Family Room: This room used to be the kitchen so again we expected a lot to change in here. Mainly what I’m most excited for is the addition of the new windows which will be here in a week or so. And the old pantry was built into the back corner of this room, removing that saves us so much space here, it’s crazy to see how big this room is without it.

Mud Room: This room was full of the most surprises as it was previously a laundry room and we found out we could not keep it as a laundry room. The room itself was originally a deck that was improperly enclosed, and needs to fully be rebuilt. Because of all of the work we are doing right now, we can’t take that on financially so we have made the decision to prep the room to be a laundry room down the road-installing the venting, electric, etc., now and then when we can we will demo the room down to the studs, add support where needed, fill with insulation, sheetrock, tile, etc…. and then we will have a laundry room. We will move in without one, which will be hard, but after living in a condo without a washer dryer in unit and a really gross one in the basement we never used anyway, I think we will be okay for the short term and if anything it will keep a fire under our butts to get it done sooner than later and not push it off for good.

Upstairs Hallway: This area is the worst of all the floors, which is a HUGE bummer. But the good news is that since we were able to harvest wood from the first floor we will be able to completely repair the hallway and other damaged spots on this level and then refinish the upstairs completely so the full second level will be original flooring!!

Master Bedroom: After Demo’ing around the chimney in the living room directly below the master we decided to do the same around this chimney to gain back the floorspace in the bedroom. We were surprised to actually find a fireplace here, but ultimately removed the pieces and saved them to clean up and use down the road somewhere else in the house. Eventually we will try to add more storage in here and that will take away from the floor space in the room so it is nice to keep a little bit back from where the fireplace came out.

Bedroom 2/Office: This room has the least amount of things happening to it since we are just using it for my office and as a guest room and we are trying to stretch our budget so all that will happen in here are floors and paint. Fortunately no big surprises here, just a few rough spots on the floor that will need to be patched.

Bedroom 3/Eleanor’s Room: This room had the best floors of them all!! And taking out the huge corner closet, again opens up the room so much! But taking out the closet in here also revealed a huge gap to the outside right below the roofline that was likely caused by critters. (Is your skin crawling, because mine is!) That will be closed up asap and fixed both internally and externally. Eleanor’s room is probably one of the most thought out besides the kitchen, just because I’ve been picturing the back wall of her room for ages. We will put back in built-in closets on either side of the window with a bench in between to create a really sweet little space in here for her. I’m only a little jealous that this room isn’t mine.

Backyard/Back of house: If you’ve seen anything on what this space looked like the day we closed, you know it has come along way. We couldn’t even walk back here when we bought the house, so the patio area has drastically changed for the better with the pulling of endless weeds. The back of the house itself is waiting for all new windows and siding to come in and then it will get a full makeover. We have also demo’d the old deck and rebuilt the deck, mostly, and will be rebuilding the stairs back here as well.

That’s it! A full demo tour! It isn’t pretty, and there were a few surprises, but we are moving forward. Now we just need to get the inspection portion over with so we can start working towards the pretty stuff and, more importantly, moving in!!

I hope everyone had a great holiday and enjoyed the long weekend with family! Be sure to pop over to our Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest accounts to follow DBK there. If you follow us on Pinterest you may even have a sneak peek at the inner design inspo for the house!

Buying The Sugar Box

The sugar box had been on the market for a while before we saw it. It had actually been re-listed with a new agent who held an open house to gain some attention. I had plans that day and took Eleanor with me, but Pat decided to go take a look before work because it fell within our budget, it had our bedroom and bathroom requirements met, and since there were no pictures, he was intrigued. We all know that no pictures is typically a sign that a house needs work, but to be honest, the interior designer in me had been pushing for a home that needed a little renovating anyway… something in need of a little work that I could put my own spin on.

Interior Designer Renovates Jersey City Row House 1

He called me from the house and then FaceTimed with me to show me around. I remember the service being bad, the video quality being grainy and not really sensing much more than that Pat liked it enough that he wanted to bring me back to see it. So that’s what we did.. We scheduled a showing for the coming week, and I wanted to share with you all what we saw… the woman living in the house had been there for over 30 years, and she had all of the belongings and memories to show for it.

To be honest, I really wasn’t sure it was a good fit at first. I know our area of Jersey City well and didn’t really know that street. I knew the house had potential but I just felt sort of indifferent about it. The price was right for renovations, but we had been looking for a while and all the pros and cons of the various places we’d seen were running together. I needed something to grab me about a place… something to make me see and trust it was right.

Well, I had a dream in the days that followed our showing. It was from the viewpoint of the front door, and the wall of the stairs had been removed. It was Christmas, and Brantley and Eleanor were coming down the stairs, with so much joy and excitement (yes dogs and toddlers can be equally excited about the holidays!)… I woke up with a start and knew that was it. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays, and envisioning our family there in that old row house during such a special time, as cliche as it sounds, was all I needed.

Fast forward 6 months and the house is ours, construction is underway and that stairway wall is coming down. We will be moved in soon enough, and I can’t wait to have our first holiday at home together.

Interior Designer Renovates Jersey City Row House for Family

If you’ve been following along on Instagram with #PsSugarBox you are likely all caught up. I’ve been doing a walkthrough of the property once a week sharing progress and set-backs. Next week I will try to blog the demo progress, and then soon-after (once things are finalized) I will share our design plans for the whole home! Thank you for following along on our adventure!

xo, K