Tour a 19th-Century Town House in Hoboken, New Jersey

Seth and Kristina Brookman had lived in Manhattan for more than 20 years, so it came as a surprise when they decided to go see a home for sale in Hoboken, New Jersey. When the parents of two young children first toured this property, they did so with the understanding that it could handle change too. “Town house living is exactly our style—intimate yet bustling,” Seth says.

The home was built toward the end of the 19th century, and had been a boarding house before it transitioned into a residence for two families. With this latest transformation underway, Seth and Kristina could envision their children growing up with more space on a tree-lined street. They just had to get through the renovation first.

“The house had tremendous curb appeal, but once we got a glimpse of the interior, it was clear we had a project on our hands,” Seth says.

The couple initially hired project manager Amanda Trochim and AD PRO Directory designer Joan Enger (the principal of J. Patryce Design) to do what Enger called a “handful of modifications,” but the job quickly turned into a full-scale production. The town house was 20 feet wide and had a garage, two attributes that are generous for its age and location; but it was stripped of its historical features some three decades ago. Furthermore, nothing seemed to be where it should.

“The improvements, which most likely happened during the ’90s, didn’t make much sense,” Enger says. “The kitchen, living, and dining spaces were on the garden level with the lowest ceilings and least amount of natural light, while the primary suite consumed the full parlor level but didn’t include closets or a proper bathroom.” The third floor had three bedrooms and a bathroom, while the fourth floor had an additional bedroom and bath that Enger describes as “eccentric.”

Aside from the mismatched layout, time had also impacted the home’s structure. Ridge Restoration was hired to level the floors, which had sunk by several inches. This made it possible to create the open floor plan on the parlor level that Seth and Kristina desired. The third floor was reframed to make space for a larger bathroom, closets, and laundry room, while the fourth floor turned into the primary suite and home office. Upon its completion, the residence would have two powder rooms, two full bathrooms, and four bedrooms in 3,600 square feet.

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