This Jersey City Home's Before/After Is Pretty Unbelievable

before after house exterior
credit: Jeff Jordan / Greg Maka

Before its 2015 renovation, looking at the facade of this Jersey City home, you never would have guessed it was in fact a historic building dating back to the 1800s. But thanks to Jeff Jordan Architects, the exterior now resembles its 19th-century form. To get there, the team had to do extensive research, finding historic tax photographs, seeking advice from the Jersey City Historic Preservation staff, and relying on some on-site evidence to recreate the original siding and trim.

The inside, however, is a different story. There, it's all streamlined, inspired by Pacific Northwest modernism. Think: a mix of natural materials, minimalism, and a dash of traditional, with sleek walnut built-ins, and a kitchen that has hints of craftsman and farmhouse elements.

The 3,000-square-foot multifamily house features the owner's unit, with a generous five bedrooms, and a one-bedroom rental, which is completely private from the main home. Overall, the home is a special example of how city living can actually feel removed from and connected to the past at the same time.

Step 1 Exterior

The refreshed exterior features cedar plank siding and a mahogany trim. The color scheme feels modern without being too austere thanks to that friendly yellow door.

jersey city historic home
credit: Gregory Maka

Step 2 Entrance

At the entrance, a box clad in walnut plywood offers concealed storage and consolidates bathroom and mechanical components. The staircase to the upper level is also accessed through the cube.

entryway with walnut built ins
credit: Gregory Maka

Step 3 Entrance

The cube also houses a small shrine, which can be opened or closed via cabinet doors.

entryway with walnut built ins
credit: Gregory Maka

Step 4 Kitchen

The pantry pullout and walnut woodwork was fashioned locally by Kingsley Quality Woodworking. A quartzite-topped kitchen island, in combo with white cabinetry, offers a bit of traditional contrast to the modern home.

modern farmhouse kitchen
credit: Gregory Maka

Step 5 Kitchen

The Decorá Cabinets were painted in Benjamin Moore Decorator's White while the kitchen island was painted in Sherwin Williams' Regatta Blue.

kitchen with white and blue cabinetry
credit: Gregory Maka

Step 6 Staircase

walnut staircase
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credit: Gregory Maka

The solid walnut staircase with its iron rail is mostly concealed ...

storage nook
credit: Gregory Maka

Although a small interior window exposes it from the other side of the central cube. The window has the added benefit of providing the stairs with natural light.

Step 1 Master Bedroom

In the master bedroom, white walls, painted in Paper White by Benjamin Moore, create maximum brightness. The room also features a soft glow thanks to a shaded Lexington pendant by Tech Lighting.

bedroom with white walls
credit: Gregory Maka

Kate Santos

Kate Santos

After interning at Dwell magazine in San Francisco, Kate began writing about arts, design and culture for other national publications. She is based in Los Angeles and San Francisco.