Room to Move: View from the Top

After their son moves to Jersey City, a couple trades their 4,200-square-foot Westfield home for a two-bedroom unit in Hamilton Square.

The view from Lauren Shub and Bob Eidus's penthouse apartment includes five bridges, the Statue of Liberty and downtown Jersey City.
The view from Lauren Shub and Bob Eidus's penthouse apartment includes five bridges, the Statue of Liberty and downtown Jersey City.
Photo by John Bessler

During the 10 years Bob Eidus and his wife, Lauren Shub, lived in their 4,200-square-foot Westfield home, Eidus estimates he spent at least two hours a day, every day, on the house—whether cutting the lawn, fixing a leak or patching the roof. Not anymore.

“Living in a condo buys you time,” says Eidus, a physician who still commutes daily to his family practice with Vanguard Medical Group in Cranford. “I spend no time on the house now.” Rather, he says, “I now have more time to do what I want to do.”

Neither Eidus nor Shub has retired, but nearly five years ago, faced with an empty nest —“We were only living in a third of our house,” says Eidus— the time seemed right for a new chapter. While Eidus would have been happy with a condo in Westfield, Shub, a jazz singer, wanted to be closer to New York City. “I wanted a more cosmopolitan area,” she says.

The couple discovered Jersey City after one of their three grown sons moved there. In 2010, they purchased a two-bedroom unit in Hamilton Square, a full-service condo building developed by brothers Paul and Eric Silverman, who have created a number of upscale residences in the once gritty city.

The couple loves the location, next to a park and close to boutiques and restaurants; they also were attracted by amenities that include a 24-hour doorman, an on-site fitness facility and a roof deck. Their top-floor unit has expansive views of Manhattan, including five bridges, the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building.

Leaving their Westfield house was easier than the couple had anticipated. “We had beautiful faux-painted walls,” says Shub, but when prepping the house for the market, the realtor suggested painting the entire house beige. “Suddenly it wasn’t our house,” Shub says.

The purging part was surprisingly easy, too. Ultimately, they took little with them. They gave away the bulk of their belongings to Furniture Assist, a charitable organization in Kenilworth that helps set up families in need.

“We cut our living size in half,” says Shub, “and only kept a few pieces that still worked.” Among the pieces that made the move was a baby grand piano that dominates the wide entryway. A dining table and chairs from their breakfast room also made the cut—but with a smaller glass top. The pair purchased a tailored sofa and upholstered side chairs, which can float around the unit as needed. The ottoman serves as both coffee table and extra seating.

Key to making their stuff fit—books, accessories and other keepsakes—was constructing built-in shelving in every room. Cabinetmaker David Leiz designed and built several units, including floor-to-ceiling bookcases that flank the entrance to the master bedroom. A loft bed built in the spare bedroom frees up valuable space in what functions primarily as a home office. In the kitchen, a new island doubles as a work area and serving area, and provides plenty of storage.

The sliver of patio just off the bedroom gives Shub a place for flowers and a tiny herb garden. It also provides magnificent views, day and night. “There’s a new view every day,” says Eidus.

The two have embraced their new community. “We joined a synagogue,” says Shub. “We’ve helped build community gardens.” They have also embraced the lifestyle. “We walk to Liberty State Park,” says Eidus. “We’ll picnic on the river. We could go to a new restaurant every day.”

Shub, who regularly performs at restaurants and clubs in the metropolitan area, gave up her car in the move and now takes public transportation almost everywhere. “I even went out and got one of those wheely carts,” she says. “It’s how I do all my errands now.”

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