Jersey City may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think interior design, but for Dana Curatolo of Archive Jersey City it was the perfect place to start a home and a small business.
“I loved the creative movement that was happening. It just felt energetic and fun and layered and everything that I love about the history of old homes and buildings in New York,” said Dana. After growing up in Morris County and living in Weehawken, Dana started spending more time in Jersey City. “It had much more beautiful energy and vibrancy in history. So I always strived to be here. It's like a place that really spoke to me when I was younger. Then when I was able to afford it, I moved to Jersey City.”
Most of her days, however, were still spent in Manhattan as a vice president of an agency that focuses on hotels, resorts, destinations. She says, “I had spent the better part of the past 11 and a half years, traveling the world, on behalf of some of my clients. And then obviously COVID hit and it all stopped.”
As a natural outcome of pent up creativity, Dana looked to the objects she had collected over the years. “I felt like I was starting to travel through the pieces that were in my home and it was really like a form of solace and appreciation for me.”
For years, she had been asked to source unique finds from her travels by friends and family and as a lifelong “appreciator of antique furniture and vintage” who “grew up going to estate sales,” it seemed only obvious that a new adventure was being the founder and curator of Archive Jersey City, an Instashop featuring vintage and antique furniture, decor and art.
“When I moved into my first place at 22 — I had such a limited budget, but never really felt connected to mass produced decor and furniture. I felt drawn to older pieces that had a bit of a story. But it took a lot of time and energy to slowly build that collection — I suppose what we're trying to do is make that pursuit a little easier for locals here in Jersey City, NYC and beyond.”
Like the treasures discovered while traveling, the story behind an object is its key selling point for Dana. “I would rather spend my money on something that is going to last a bit longer and I feel has a true sense of heritage and story and pre ownership in it.” There is a “gut reaction” she looks for when sourcing for her shop, only adding to her inventory if she’s struck by something she sees.
In one of the most diverse cities in America, Dana is bringing the world into spaces piece by piece. “There's this intense need for furnishing homes in a thoughtful and creative way, which I think is really representative of who Jersey City is.”