A Beloved Antique Collection Fills a Restored New Jersey Home
This story first appeared on Houzz. Find the original here.
The story of Judy Hobday’s long relationship with her 200-plus-year-old house in Stockton, New Jersey, is as passion-filled as any romance novel. It started when she was 30 years old and living in a rented carriage house down the road.
“I was driving by and I saw a small for-sale sign out front, and I knew I wanted it. I had admired it for years,” she says. “I purchased it and bought an antique brass bed and moved in, even though the structure was very run-down. I had a lot of friends and family who lived close by, and they helped me make it habitable, but at that time I didn’t have the means to do everything that needed to be done.”
As with any ardor-infused plotline, the path to commitment was thwarted. “I met my husband, John, and we moved in together,” she says. “When he was relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina, for work, we decided to rent the house out, knowing we would return.” Years passed, but Hobday’s feelings for the house never waned. When she and her husband returned to Stockton in 2009, the house was waiting for them. “We decided to remodel it the way I’d always wanted to,” Hobday says. “And John became my equal partner in the project.”
Working with a dedicated contractor, the couple restored the house and filled it with their collection of antiques. Today when Hobday talks about the home, she says it’s hard not to gush. Using words that close some of the world’s best-known stories, it appears to be a case of happily ever after.
“I grew up on a farm in an old house near here. Perhaps that’s why I love these kinds of homes,” Hobday says.
This one certainly qualifies as old, although the couple isn’t sure of the home’s age. “We’ve dated it to 1810,” Hobday says. “But it could be even older.”
After working with a historian and putting in hours of research, this much they know: When the house was built, it was probably occupied by two or three working-class families. “This area had a thriving quarry and coal-mining industry,” Hobday says. “It wouldn’t be hard to imagine that people who engaged in that kind of work lived here.”
Hobday and her husband also think the house was built of raw fieldstone and its masonry exterior was later covered with stucco. “We removed as much of the stucco as possible, because the stones are beautiful,” she says.
Working with Randy Magill, a local contractor skilled in historic renovations, the Hobdays restored every original element possible. They kept the footprint of the home nearly the same but did make a few tweaks. “We added a fireplace, because I really wanted one,” Hobday says. “I can’t imagine a home without a fireplace.”
To make room for it, they removed a utility room. They built the firebox with stone from the property and used a mantel from the 1700s. “It was one of the best gifts I ever received,” Hobday says. “I was sure we would never find one that was the right size, but Randy did it. When I saw it, I cried.”
The mantel and woodwork are painted a custom gray-green shade, and the plaster walls are covered with a historically accurate whitewash (a paint made with lime and chalk).
Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: Judy and John Hobday
Location: Stockton, New Jersey
Size: 1,800 square feet (167 square meters), one bedroom, one bathroom.
They also removed a second staircase that ran alongside the utility room. “It led directly up into the bedroom, and we just didn’t need it,” Hobday says. “When it was gone, the room felt much more expansive.”
The minor alterations made way for a slightly larger open-plan living room and dining room.
The Hobdays and Magill worked tirelessly to make sure any new features were crafted from old materials. For example, a window to the left of the fireplace is new, but it’s fitted with glass as old as the house. “Randy has done many of these projects—most of them are much bigger than ours,” Hobday says. “He has an amazing network that allows him to find old things.”
Another new-old material is the wide-planked floor. The original floor was badly damaged when a previous owner installed linoleum, so centuries-old planks were located and installed in their place.
A table in front of the window holds a collection of globes—an interest the couple shares. The collecting bug has burrowed deep into each of them, and both have been amassing antiques for years. As a result, very few pieces were purchased for the newly remodeled home—they already owned what they needed. “We both have been collecting antiques for our whole lives,” Hobday says.
An antique table in the living room holds a collection of snuffboxes, candlesticks and keys. “The keys are for our clock collection,” Hobday says. “We have them throughout the house.”
Deep-silled windows probably had shutters when the home was built. In lieu of more modern shades or blinds, the couple had Magill build new shutters. “We did so much research on homes of this period,” Hobday says. “We read many books, studied things online and visited historic homes.”
Some have compared the home with its period-perfect fittings (even the hardware is from the 1700s) to a museum, a notion Hobday disputes. “This is a house that’s lived in,” she says, noting that Finnegan, their Jack Russell terrier, runs about in a manner unbefitting a staid exhibition space.
For the kitchen the Hobdays chose a modern range stove, dishwasher (hidden behind a panel that mimics the cabinetry), and refrigerator. Other fixtures have roots in the past—such as Shaker-style knobs and a soapstone countertop. An old water harness (made for carrying jugs or buckets of water over the neck) hangs above the sink, and a simple antique table provides space for dining in the kitchen.
One of the only new pieces of furniture is a bed the couple had built for the master bedroom. “I wanted a queen bed, and antique queen beds are tricky to find,” Hobday says. The bed and side tables were made by artisans at Anderson & Stauffer, a Pennsylvania firm that specializes in reproducing and restoring furniture. “It’s a wonderfully comfortable bed,” Hobday says.
Related: Side and End Tables for Every Room
When Hobday bought the house, it had four bedrooms. During the remodel the couple kept one as the master bedroom and gave the others new roles as a library, a dressing room, and a bathroom. “This house is just for us,” Hobday says. “When we have guests, there is a wonderful hotel nearby.” This is the library, where she keeps her collection of antique and first-edition books.
The original house had no closets, so another former bedroom was outfitted with a row of them to make a dressing room. “All of the doors on the second floor are batten doors, except for our closet doors,” Hobday says.
The bathroom is modern, outfitted with a sink, a mirror, and hardware from Waterworks. “Although it’s all new, we did select things that are in keeping with the house,” Hobday says.
A collection of apothecary bottles adds a vintage touch to an otherwise new space.
Judy Hobday says Native American folklore has it that another river runs underneath the nearby Delaware River, and the confluence of the two draws people back to the area. “I think it must be true,” she says. “It is hard to explain, but it feels like we were meant to be here. It’s a very peaceful and happy place.”