MAXWELL PLACE TOWN HOUSE
Photos by Victor M. Rodriguez
The Itzhak family is slowly making its way down the Hoboken waterfront. After emigrating from Israel, they rented in the Tea building, then bought at the Shipyard, and now own a townhouse at Maxwell Place.
Shiri and her husband, Oded, have two kids: Inbar, a girl, 11, and Ori, a boy, 8. “They were sharing a room,” Shiri says, and the family needed more space.
Which is exactly what they got in this three-level townhouse with more than 3,000 square feet of space.
Walking in the front door, which faces the water, you’re greeted by a light, airy, spare interior, with an open kitchen and living room. A gallery area above is visible from the first level.
“We wanted it to be very modern and very sleek,” Shiri says.
It is definitely that, with walls of bright white and subtle grays that are perfect for displaying their contemporary art.
Glass shelves on the ground level display their collection of colorful shot glasses. There’s a huge flat screen TV on one wall and below it a discreet gas fireplace that’s easy to miss unless there is a fire burning in it.
Because there are so many windows on the ground floor, facing the street, shades were really important. Interior Motif supplied shades for all three levels. They are off-white in a kind of crinkly material, and they go up and down with just a push of a button.
On the second level is Inbar’s room, complete with private bath and flat screen TV. Down the hall is the den with another flat screen, wet bar, music area with drums and guitar, and an office with the only vintage-looking piece of furniture in the house. “Crate and Barrel,” Shiri discloses.
On the third floor is Ori’s room. It’s bigger than his sister’s but without the flat screen—he’s got his eye on a foosball table.
The master bedroom is next door, featuring a huge platform bed and, yes, another flat screen TV.
One of the best things about the house is the view. Above the shades are windows, looking out onto the piers and the New York City skyline beyond.
THE OLD MARZIPAN FACTORY
Photos by Victor M. Rodriguez
If you’re like most folks, you might need a little marzipan tutorial. For the record, it’s a “confection” made largely from sugar and almond meal that sometimes doesn’t look like food. Often fashioned into colorful fruit and vegetable shapes, marzipan candies could be mistaken for refrigerator magnets.
But, like any factory in Hoboken, this one brings us back to our charmed industrial past. Enter Zabrina and Glen Stoffel who bought the building about four years ago. It had already been renovated, and Zabrina says they haven’t done much to it.
“I love to look at people’s houses,” Zabrina says, articulating the reason we actually do this feature. She saw the property on a listserv and encouraged Glen to go and see it. Zabrina relates that as soon as Glen walked in the door, he said, “We’re buying this house.”
Here are the facts: It has three bedrooms and three bathrooms. But, like any interesting space, there is more to it than that. You enter through a huge kitchen with one brick wall. A wooden staircase leads to the bedrooms, where there are separate rooms for the kids, ages 5 and 7.
The place is huge—3,550 square feet with a 1,100-square-foot courtyard, a study off the upper deck, and a two-car garage. Of course, any Hobokenite will salivate over that last feature.
Landscaper Valerie Hufnagel has been called in to consult about that fabulous courtyard.
What remains from the old marzipan factory? A framed packing box, left to the Stoffels by the previous owners. Zabrina says it will always stay with the house, no matter who owns it.
“I feel so fortunate to live in this house right in the middle of town, with the parking space and the outside space,” Zabrina says. “Every time I walk in this house, I feel happy.”
Photos Courtesy of Minervini Vandermark Architecture
How many people can say that they have bloggers blogging about their house? Architect Anthony Vandermark for one.
Vandermark and his wife, Sasha D Gennaro, were walking their two dogs, Leo and Wilson, when they noticed a tiny, handwritten for-sale sign on one of the houses in Willow Terrace, the fabled cobblestoned enclave built in the late 1890s.
“Every time we passed by, my wife said that we should buy that house,” Vandermark says. “She said it would be great for my career.” That was about four years ago, and the rest is history.
“It was a long process,” Vandermark says. “We had to seek approval from Zoning for the expansion of a ‘nonconforming structure.’”
By nonconforming, they meant the beautiful contemporary arrangement of geometric shapes, ironspot brick, cedar, light, and glass that Vandermark built among the traditional 19th century rowhouses.
“There was a very large blog on Hoboken 411,” Vandermark says. “Everyone had opinions about the architecture and chimed in on what they thought it should be.”
But the house, which has three bedrooms and two and a half baths with outdoor space on each of three levels, must be doing something right. On the Hoboken house tour, Vandermark says that in four or five hours, 850 people came through the house.
Though he had two nervous breakdowns while building it, Vandermark says, “I love living in it. I love most looking at something every day that I created. It gives me great pride and satisfaction.”
GARDEN STREET LOFTS
Photos by Kasia Bloom
Kasia and Adam Bloom and their 19-month-old daughter moved into their third-floor loft from the Upper West Side in Manhattan about a year ago. Adam had been reverse commuting, and the time was right. “We fell in love with the building and the loft,” he says. The building, developed by Bijou Properties, was the former Baker’s Coconut factory and is eco friendly. “All the insulation is reclaimed denim, the floors are bamboo, and purified air is pumped in 24 hours a day,” Adam says.
The rooftop, with grass, plants, and flowers, is especially beautiful in spring and summer.
The 2,100-square-foot space has three bedrooms, 2 ½ baths, and 12-foot ceilings. “The style is modern with a very comfortable home feeling,” Adam says. “It has old concrete beams and concrete columns throughout.”
Though it has an artsy, lofty feel, the space is family friendly with closet space and everything to “support a growing family for the rest of our lives,” Adam says.
In just a year, the Blooms have made lots of friends in Hoboken.
“It’s a small town that sits on the river overlooking New York City everywhere you walk,” Adam says. “It’s a clean, comfortable, quiet, mellow environment with lots of like-minded people at similar places in their lives. It caters to young families, and we love it.”
Photos by Victoria Mackenzie-Childs
This early 20th century ferry boat has been a fixture at the Shipyard at 13th Street for the past last eight years. Richard and Victoria MacKenzie-Childs have been her loving crew since 2002, when they brought her across the river from Pier 25 in Tribeca.
When the Yankee was built in 1907, her mission was to bring wealthy New Yorkers to the Calendar Islands off Maine. “She was the fanciest ferry boat,” Victoria says.
She still is—not just fancy—but a nostalgic paean to a bygone era.
When immigration exploded in the early 20th century, the Yankee was used to ferry third-class passengers from their ships anchored out at sea to Ellis Island.
At 1,505 feet in length, with a 310-foot beam, she can hold as many 2,500 passengers.
In her 4,000 square feet of space are three heads, a galley and a half, promenade, quarters for crew, many separate salons, and generators below decks.
Richard and Victoria are artists, and there is plenty of studio space for both of them.
“We never stop working on it,” Victoria says. “Our focus is on renovation and saving the Yankee. Any boat not used goes down. If it’s not renovated it goes to reefage.”
Not likely with this vessel. Signs of life include a thriving barge garden with plants growing inside tires that were once used for fenders. Victoria calls it her polka dot garden. There are also nesting hens who supply the crew with fresh eggs.
Victoria envisions a future in which the Yankee could be used as a think tank.
“Fresh ideas could fuel good for mankind,” she says.
Interviews by Kate Rounds