From the October/November 2018 Issue  

Urban Aerie

Writer Ren Miller  |  Designer Just Terraces  |  Location Hoboken, NJ  |  Photos of Completed Project Christopher Myers  |  Photos of Fabrication and Lifting Tim Trace

A fire pit and cozy faux fur throw extend use of the rooftop porch into cooler weather.

A Hoboken, NJ, couple enjoy a slice of outdoor living on their condo rooftop

Chris and Jess Gizzo loved the urban environment of Hoboken, New Jersey, where they live and work, but they didn’t want to miss out on outdoor living either. The solution: turn a rooftop space included with their seventh-floor condo into an outdoor oasis.

The Gizzos turned to Christopher Myers, creative director of Just Terraces in New York City, for help. Myers designed and oversaw the installation of a 400-square-foot outdoor living space accessed through the couple’s bedroom.

A daybed under a sun-shielding pergola is strategically located near an entertainment center where the couple can serve snacks and beverages.

A gas-operated wine-barrel fire pit centers a seating area featuring a custom curved lounge and white wire seats with a commanding view. A daybed sits nearby under a pergola that provides shade on sunny days. The floor is concrete.

Other features include an outdoor television, built-in planters and an entertaining cabinet that holds bar items, trays and candles (there’s also room for an icemaker in the future). The cabinet has a stone top for serving snacks and beverages.

Installation was a challenge, Myers says. Access was only via an elevator to the condo’s living room and further restricted by circular stairs up to the bedroom and rooftop. That meant major structural pieces would have to be built offsite and raised to the roof by a crane stationed on a normally busy street.

Each custom element looks built-in but was designed to float on the roof with appropriate weights so they can be moved as needed. They were made in Long Island City using ipe wood and marine-grade framing.

The crane is in place to lift the custom creations to the roof of the Hoboken condo building. Workers steady the load as they prepare to lower it onto the roof.

“The day of hoisting was stressful,” Myers says. “With permit on file and a copy in the crane cab, the crane began to get into position as a police officer drove by and said we couldn’t proceed because an officer had to be posted to the closed street. He left it to us to find a police officer to do the job.” The general contractor drove to the police precinct and convinced officials to dispatch a traffic cop, and the work proceeded. The hoisting took about two hours, and then over several weeks the pieces were assembled, the planters were filled and the finishing touches added.

Today, the Gizzos love their slice of outdoor living each time they relax or entertain in the space, not to mention enjoying it as a visual extension of their bedroom.