Arts & Entertainment

Cranford Sisters Open Urbanhouse:309 in Kenilworth to Public for Holiday Season

Pipes that have found new life as a light fixture. Credits: All photos by Pat Boyle.
Pipe fixture chandelier.
Sisters work together on a new piece of art.
Jamey's handiwork, creating a necklace from old keys. 
A drawer filled with finds will eventually become part of a finished piece of furniture or jewelry.
Reclaimed frames to become something new again.
Shelves piled high at Urbanhouse:309 with unique finds that will become part of a new piece of art.

KENILWORTH, NJ - The "Carlino Sisters" as they are affectionately referred to, are three talented artists who opened up a location in Kenilworth last year to house unique finds and develop their own pieces of art.

They are first to point out that they are not "recycling or upcycling" nor "restoring", they are taking otherwise unused pieces of furniture and other material and giving it new life.

It's their love and appreciate for things that don't have a current use that makes them see beyond an old piano and into the future of a turning it onto its side and creating a bookcase. Or creating rings, belt buckles, clocks and mirrors from old tire rims and car hood ornaments. Then there's the secretary that is less functional in today's times that the Sisters have turned into a vanity, "Taking something from the past and modernizing it while also making it functional is what we do best," one sister, Jamey Montes explains.

Sign Up for E-News

The sisters, born and raised in Cranford, have been working in the creative space all of their lives.

Gina Carlino-Halopka, the oldest sister, now resides in Brooklyn and spent years as a creative director at advertising agencies, providing direction to graphic designers for major brand work. She lead the way with her creative spirit that her younger sisters admired, "We were always inspired by her," the younger two sisters said.

Jamey Montes, still a Cranford resident, has worked in and around fashion, design and art her entire adult life; creating jewelry, children's clothing and most recently working with her husband, the Owner and Chef of The Red Cadillac restaurant in Union. The restaurant decor was her labor of love, with handmade light fixtures and penny-laden bathroom flooring that she made putting one penny at a time onto tile sheets. 

Elise Ambrosio, the trained artist, is an expert in the field of textile design and hand painting "coloring". Elise owned several other locations with her husband, to work and display her refurnished furniture and artwork in Cranford, Garwood and Westfield, for over ten years before going into business with her sisters. Gina and Jamey are in awe of Elise's talent and help to bring her pieces to life incorporated with furniture pieces, where form meets function and artistry. "Her work is so beautiful and while many people don't buy artwork to display it regularly, we display her work via functional furniture, so it can be used and enjoyed everyday," Jamey commented.

Jamey and Elise worked together previously painting chairs, murals, tiling, everything you can imagine for restaurants as well. Jamey has always enjoyed jewelry making and reclaims old pieces and breathes new life into them, adding, "All jewelry I make is reclaimed, I take parts from all different places, keys, bullet casings, typewriter keys, and redo them into pieces of jewelry art that you can wear."

Gina adds, "We see the beauty in the damaged, I'd much rather go to the salvage yard in my Brooklyn neighborhood or to the hardware store then to the mall; I can get screws and small pieces that I can use in our work." She looks for pieces that she may be able to use one day, like a door handle, table legs, and while she may not know the use now, one day it will end up as part of a piece of their work.

If you're looking for a one of a kind piece of artwork that serves a purpose Urbanhouse:309 is the place for you. 

Urbanhouse:309, the business name and the number portion that came from their Grandfather Richard DeStefano's house number, where he lived and maintained a family farm his entire lifetime in Roselle Park. According to the sisters, he was a handyman extraordinaire and could fix and make anything. 

Gina doesn't like to throw much away, she admits she has a large shot glass collection because she never knows what life they have left in them. She talks fondly about her Grandfather and qualities they have in common like the ability for him to turn something unused into something beneficial like tin cans into Barbie chairs for their younger selves, or planters made from old car tires. 

The Carlino matriarch, Eleanor, now lives back at No. 309 and she herself a creative spirit, at 83, still makes her own greeting cards and according to her daughters is a very talented calligraphy artist.

By bringing new life into old pieces of wood and metal, the Carlino Sisters are paying homage to their lineage everyday. Urbanhouse:309 makes and sells jewelry, furniture, mirrors, home accessories, light fixtures; from $20 bangle bracelets to upscale works of furniture art, you can find unique pieces on their website.

Although the business is not a retail space, they are opening their doors for a short-term holiday pop up shop on the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 27 from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. and then every Sunday after that through Christmas from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Visiting Urbanhouse:309 is like walking through both the past and into the future. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Roselle/Roselle Park

Upcoming Events

Mon, June 4, 2:00 PM

Elizabeth Public Library, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Public Library Book Sale

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back

Tue, June 5, 2:00 PM

Elizabeth Public Library, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Public Library Book Sale

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back

Wed, June 6, 2:00 PM

Elizabeth Public Library, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Public Library Book Sale

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back

Applications for Roselle Firefighter Exam to Start in July

May 23, 2018

ROSELLE, NJ - The Roselle Fire Dept. has posted an announcement for those wishing to apply for the entry-level firefighter exam. 

According to the release, the New Jersey Civil Service Commission will announce an entry-level firefighter’s exam on July 1. Individuals wishing to take this exam should visit the NJCSC web site @ 

Applications will also be ...

Roselle First to Hold Job Fair this Wednesday

ROSELLE, NJ - Roselle First will be hosting a career fair on Wednesday, May 23, with doors opening at 10 a.m. sharp until noon. The event will be held at AGAPE House of Worship located at 239 East First Ave. in Roselle.  The event is open to all nearby towns. 

Everyone should bring fifteen or more copies of your resumes absolutely no printing will be available on ...

Goethals Bridge to New Jersey to be Closed Friday Night through Sunday

ELIZABETH, NJ - The Goethals Bridge to New Jersey will be closed to all traffic beginning 9 p.m. Friday, May 18 until 9 p.m. Sunday, May 20. 

The Eastbound to NY will remain open. Officials said the closure is necessary to construct the entry and exit ramps for the new westbound span.

At 9 p.m. Sunday night, the westbound span is expected to open in its final configuration, three ...

Roselle Park High School to Hold Blood Drive

ROSELLE PARK, NJ - The Roselle Park high school we'll be holding a blood drive on Thursday, May 17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will be held at the Roselle Park High School gym and is open to the public. 

Call for appointment or walk-in. Bagels, popcorn, cotton candy, and giveaways will be given out at the event.

For more information contact RPHS school nurse Jan Haddad or call ...

Reminder: Roselle Park Paper Shredding Event

ROSELLE PARK, NJ - A reminder to all residents - Roselle Park will be holding a paper shredding event this Saturday, May 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Borough Hall rear lot located at 110 E. Westfield Ave. (The parking lot next to the Walnut St., Bridge)

Note: the event will end prior to 1 p.m. if the truck reaches capacity.

In an effort to accommodate all those wishing to ...

Linden - Roselle Sewage Authority Seeking Office Clerk

LINDEN/ROSELLE, NJ - The Linden - Roselle Sewage Authority is seeking an individual for diversified office duties. 

Applicant must have skills and experience in the following areas:  computer word processing, excel, payroll processing, phone reception and interaction with the public.  Experience in a Public Utility or Local Government is desirable. 

Preference is ...

The 15th Annual Tour de Elizabeth Comes to Elizabeth this Sunday

May 15, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ - Cyclists of every skill level are readying their bicycles in anticipation as the 15th annual Tour de Elizabeth that will roll through the city.\ this coming Sunday. 

This year’s ride, which is titled “Destination Elizabeth,” will begin and end at City Hall, is a family-friendly, 15-mile recreational tour of the City of Elizabeth’s historic ...

Suspect Charged in Fatal Hit-and-Run Flees Country

May 22, 2018

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – A 36-year-old suspect charged in the hit-and-run death of a pedestrian May 15th has fled the country, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.

Charges have been filed against Mario Infante, age 36, of New Street, Plainfield, following an investigation by detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office and North Plainfield ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.


Q. When did you join

I joined in September, ...

How to Find Beneficial Native Plants for Healthy Yards and Gardens

May 24, 2018

Home gardeners and property managers who are interested in joining the native plant movement can get resources and information – and plants – through the Union County “Plant Swap & Shop” event on Thursday evening, June 7, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Union County Demonstration Garden in the Watchung Reservation.

Plant Swap & Shop is free but re-registration is ...

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, 2018)

            What is the “final frontier” on the Earth's surface? Many people would say Alaska, the 49th state, which was added to the United States fifty years ago. Once one has traveled to that remote land, it is impossible to forget the magnificence of the terrain and beasts. Floating by ship in Glacier Bay, surrounded by ...

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...