My 720sqft: A food and wine specialist serves up her retro, girly Jersey City studio

Posted On Tue, April 24, 2018 By

Posted On Tue, April 24, 2018 By In Features, Interiors, My SQFT House Tours, New Jersey

6sqft’s series “My sqft” checks out the homes of New Yorkers across all the boroughs. Our latest interior adventure brings us to the Jersey City studio of food and wine professional Moira Sedgwick. Want to see your home featured here? Get in touch!

When Moira Sedgwick opens the door, everything about her–her outfit, personality, smile–is just as bubbly and colorful as her apartment. The top floor of a brownstone in Jersey City’s Paulus Hook neighborhood, the 720-square-foot alcove studio is a mix of retro and mid-century finds (think 1950s red leather dining chairs and a collection of vintage Pyrex and milk glass) and girly accents (pink curtains with pompoms, floral silk pillows).

Though Moira is passionate about the culinary and wine worlds–she produces national Food & Wine events for No Kid Hungry, in addition to growing her personal culinary talent management business–her other great love is interior design, which is quite apparent after touring her home that she describes as “unique, funky, and uber comfortable.” Ahead, get a closer look at Moira’s apartment and hear what she has to say about making the move across the Hudson, outfitting a studio for a chef’s lifestyle, and mixing girly and retro decor.

After 12 years in Manhattan, Moira moved into her Jersey City apartment this past September, and it only took her two weeks to set it up!

What brought you to Jersey City?

I needed a new apartment and wanted something fresh and new, yet close to Manhattan while providing an easy escape route to the Poconos, where I have a chalet that I rent on Airbnb. A handful of my friends had just moved to Jersey City and I thought, why not check this area out? I remember my friend Anya telling me that everything she needs is right here, just steps from her apartment. I looked up a few apartments online and this one drew me in instantly. When I looked at the pictures–the open format, large kitchen with a butcher-block counter and unique details in the bathroom–my interest was peaked. The moment I stepped into the building I felt an energy that excited me. I climbed the steps to the third floor, stepped inside and fell in love with the sun-soaked room. Natural light from large windows felt cheerful and inviting and immediately I had ideas for the layout I wanted. I could see myself living here so I scooped it up. It was the only apartment I looked at. I left with an exhilarated feeling that intensified as I walked through the adorable neighborhood of classic brownstones and small mom-and-pop shops.

How does life here compare to Manhattan, where you lived previously? Are there certain things you miss?

I had lived in Manhattan for 12 years, most recently in Midtown at 54th and 7th. I do miss the ease of commuting around Manhattan as it usually took 20 minutes to get anywhere. I miss my old doormen, the slow elevator, and the creaky floorboards that announced my entry into my bedroom. For midtown living, my old apartment was the best. Now it seems like another era.

Moira loves books, though she had to pare down her collection when she moved. She was an African-American literature major, and also loves old English poetry, Harry Potter, and food books. The head figures are from Guatemala. 

On the other hand, the charm of Jersey City and the sense of community I have here is stronger than any other neighborhood I’ve lived in, even growing up in Massachusetts. Just yesterday I was walking home from the ferry (my favorite way to commute!) and enjoyed walking home through the streets, crowded with quiet brownstones, budding trees, and families walking their dogs. I often find myself letting out a sigh of relief and release when I get back to Jersey City after being in Manhattan. The energy is more comforting here; much less hectic and frenetic. It’s quite refreshing and helps me to unwind and relax, even on a weeknight.

Pompoms and tassels are a favorite of Moira. She also likes animal decorations. 

Any favorite spots in the ‘hood?

I’m slowly exploring all that JC has to offer. Current favorites are: Legal Grounds for coffee and BEC ( always add salt, pepper and ketchup); Piggy Back Bar where I go to support my girl Leah Cohen; Lackawanna Coffee; Cafe Momo; Razza Pizza (there’s a reason they’ve received acclaim from the New York Times and beyond); Cool Vines, the best local spot to buy wine; and JCF Health & Fitness for the best gym crew I’ve ever gotten sweaty with.

The portrait right above the radiator is Moira’s mom. The trio of women is from Mexico, and the other pieces were thrifted. 

What do you love most about your apartment?

AHHH! What don’t I love? The more I learn about the space, the more I adore it. The previous owners of the building were artists who were heavily involved in the hand-crafted details of the apartment. They built the bookcases and open shelving alongside white subway tile that never goes out of style. The current owner, my lovely landlord, is an architect who appreciates and respects the old architecture of the house. He is dedicated to restoring and repairing the building and has kept the tin ceiling in place–another one of my favorite things. My most favorite aspect is the kitchen that is a step up from the living room and looks out over the open floor plan. Its separate yet connected, all at the same time.

The masks are from a trip to Mexico. Moira likes to travel throughout the country and goes about once a year.

Speaking of which, it’s always important to delineate “rooms” in a studio. How did you approach this?

Thankfully the kitchen space has its natural delineation. Other areas are delineated through rugs and shelving. The entryway is outlined with a rug in the hallway and inside the front doorway. The living room’s footprint is dictated by a large rug and flaked with an open bookshelf that came with the apartment. It lets light through and creates a “room” for the bedroom. The alcove office is also delineated with a rug.

You mentioned that as a Virgo you’re very organized. What are some of your tips for keeping things orderly in a small apartment?

One – declutter! You need way less than you think you do. Two – everything has its place – find a pretty box to put it into if you can’t put it in a closet, cupboard or dresser.

Moira loves tin trays and vintage glass jars. The bathroom mirror was her grandmother’s. 

What were your best finds when shopping for this apartment?

I like to think it is my red chairs from the Hell’s Kitchen flea market, couch from West Elm, the living room rug also from West Elm, the living room lamp from Blu Dot, and my Ikea bed.

As a food industry professional, what are your must-haves in the kitchen?

The list can be long:

  • Sturdy cookware – Le Creuset and Analon
  • Wine Fridge
  • Cuisinart food processor
  • Kitchen Aid Standing Mixer
  • Vitamix blender
  • Pour-over coffee station
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp Knives
  • White dishware

Below the sink is a pull-out dishwasher and to the left of that is a mini wine fridge. 

The china was Moira’s grandmother’s. 

You’ve managed to find the balance between girly and chic–any advice for those looking to achieve this same aesthetic?

I only buy things I love. When I see it and I’m drawn to it, I know it’s for me. I also like to play with pattern, pops of color (especially pink!) and find it best when you mix and match furniture – new and old, different brands, varying style but some connected details from fabric to tufting to color palette.

The 1950s red chairs were originally in an Italian restaurant, but Moira found them at the Hell’s Kitchen flea market. 

You can only take three items from your apartment–what would they be?

The red chairs, living room rug, and my bed (mattress included!!).

Moira loves collecting cake stands; she had even more before she moved. 

Switching gears, tell us a bit about your Poconos house and what you love so much about the area.

When I saw it [listed] online, I fell in love and couldn’t wait to see it in person. It’s a cozy gingerbread-style house, nestled in the Pocono Mountains and just steps away from the beautiful Lake Naomi. The decor is a nod to mid-century cabin living with lots of the details I love like color, pattern, comforting fabrics, and cozy beds that allow you to relax. It’s perfect in the winter, curled up by the fireplace or the summer when you can cook outside and hang with friends at the fire pit. There is no other place on earth that I love to be as much as this house. The vibe is tranquil and you can truly relax. I’m in love with the Sedgwick Chalet and always find myself daydreaming about the next time I can visit. The Poconos are an unexpected love for me, however. I enjoy that the area is under the radar and has so much potential for growth. It’s under a two-hour commute for both NYC and Philly and winter has just as many perks as does the summer. But I do have to say that summer is my favorite time of year when I can watch the sunset at the lake to the quiet hum of crickets then come home to fix a gin and tonic while working the grill for dinner.



All photos taken by Kate Glicksberg exclusively for 6sqft. Photos are not to be reproduced without written permission from 6sqft.

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Neighborhoods : Jersey City



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