Van Vorst Townhouse is Transformed After Suffering Damage from Sandy


After sustaining damage from Hurricane Sandy, the homeowners of this late 1800’s townhouse decided to take it as a blessing in disguise. It was the perfect opportunity to rebuild their Van Vorst neighborhood home in a manner that would better suit their lifestyle, specifically by adding more living space and a roof deck. To accomplish this they enlisted Jersey City architect Jeff Jordan to make their vision a reality.

york street family

The bulk of the damage from the storm was to a rear addition that was originally added to the home in the 1980’s. Jordan’s plan was to replace the old structure with a new one that made better use of the space and increased its livability. The homeowners were allowed, under existing zoning, to replace the old structure with a new 3-story structure. Jeff though, had another idea. Fearing a new 3-story addition would significantly impact daylight into the rest of the home as well as overwhelm the lot, he alternatively opted for a 2-story addition with a roof deck.

york street roof deck

The new addition wasn’t simply boxed out. Instead, interior space was subtracted to allow for outdoor space on each level. The resulting three outdoor spaces now provide their own unique environment. As Jordan explains:

“The first floor “porch” is covered and has walls on three sides giving it protection from the sun and wind while maintaining a close connection to the rear patio at grade. The second floor “court” is open to the sky, but surrounded on three sides giving it partial protection from the sun and wind. Given its location within the overall footprint of the house, it is the most private of the outdoor spaces and serves as a transition between new and old. The roof top “deck” is open on all sides and to the sky above. It is the most exposed and public of the outdoor spaces, but also offers sunshine throughout the day and views of the New York City skyline.”

In addition to the outdoor space, new living space was added as well. On the first floor, a new living room connects to the main house through a home office. And on the second floor, a new library/family room was added, which connects to the main home’s kitchen through an exterior courtyard.

york street outdoor

What could have been a disaster turned out to be an opportunity. Through listening to the needs of the clients and pulling from his experience, Jordan created a new space for the homeowners that fits better with the way they live and that they can now enjoy year round.

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Lots more photos here: Jeff Jordan Architects 

Photography by Sue Daley and Steve Gross


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