From the October/November 2011 Issue:

Family Ties

    Writer: Meg Fox | Photographer: Sam Oberter Photography | Designer: Elizabeth B. Gillin Interiors | Architect: Richard Bubnowski Design | Builder: Brian Furey, Falcon Industries |

Jersey shore meets southern comfort. Perfect together

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enlarge | A mahogany-framed sun porch and outdoor ipe decking stretch the home’s livable footprint and cast the sea as the backdrop. Decorated in sandy tones with ocean blue accents, the room blends seamlessly with the landscape.
There’s something special about the Jersey shore. Just ask a Georgia woman with New Jersey roots. “I love everything about it,” she says, from the people to the beautiful beaches and the simpler times they conjure up. “This part of the Atlantic is gorgeous.”

She and her spouse went to college in Georgia and remained there after graduation to work and raise their two children. However, they’ve always returned to the Jersey shore where memories were made and where extended family continues to gather. “We’ve gone every summer since the girls were little,” she says. Ask the girls where they wanted to vacation and the answer was always the same: with their cousins at the Jersey shore

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enlarge | Patterns are low-key and textured in the living room, decorated in a soothing palette of sand and sea. The marble fireplace surround has a “leathered” finish for a textured look and feel. Detailed millwork—such as a tray ceiling with bead-board insets and stylish practical built-ins—lends decorative impact.
Ocean Calling
In 2009 it seemed the time was right for the couple and their teenage girls to invest in their own vacation retreat. They looked at resale properties along the coast but ultimately stumbled upon a teardown on a prime oceanfront lot in Silver Beach, a family-friendly community just south of Mantoloking and within flip-flop distance of their relatives.

“We decided let’s make it like we wanted it to be” and start fresh, the wife recalls. With research and recommendations, they assembled a team of professionals: architect Richard Bubnowski in Point Pleasant, builder Brian Furey of Falcon Industries in Normandy Beach and interior designer Elizabeth B. Gillin in Westfield. “The planets must have been aligned,” the wife says, because “everyone worked so well together,” designing, building and furnishing the home in an impressive nine-month timeframe.

Clad in western red cedar shingles, the 3,800-square-foot house is “somewhat eclectic,” but strongly influenced by turn-of-the-last-century Shingle-style homes of the Northeast as well as homes in the Florida panhandle, Bubnowski says. Photos the wife supplied from the award-winning new urban community of Seaside, Florida, inspired various elements, including the third-level crow’s nest. “I wanted to incorporate a modern twist,” she says. The result is a space large enough for several people to enjoy the ocean views and breezes while still being sheltered from the elements. Furnished with a pub-height table and chairs, a mini fridge and sink, “It’s a favorite hangout,” she says, especially over a pot of morning coffee.

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enlarge | Crisp white woodwork contrasts with dark-stained, wide-plank oak floors in the entryway and throughout. Knowing sand and wet suits would be tracked in, “We didn’t want anything too pristine,” the wife says of the floor’s inherent rustic quality. The design team added a half-wall between a row of columns “to serve as a barrier for the hall and to eliminate looking at the back of the sofa,” Gillin notes.
Navigating the Waters
The owners wanted a casual coastal feeling that was light and airy but at the same time sophisticated, Bubnowski says. “I think the house really fits their personality well,” he adds. Because the sea is the star attraction, main living areas—kitchen, dining area, living room and sun porch —all capture ocean views within an open-plan layout. When factoring in plans for a sun room/porch, “it became quite obvious where the porch wanted to be located given the ocean views, breezes and sun’s path,” he says. Located at the southeast corner of the property, it has wide-angle views of the landscape and is defined by 12-inch-thick shingle-clad arches and mahogany-framed screens. As you move higher into the house, the “views become even more spectacular,” the architect adds.

Interior designer Elizabeth Gillin, an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers, was hired initially to design the kitchen. But after viewing her presentation and taking into account the task of completing the four-bedroom, 4½-bathroom home in time for summer, the owners retained her to complete all aspects of the interior. “I thought, ‘How could I do this all long distance?’” says the wife, who valued the designer’s expertise in the selection of materials, finishes, furnishings and more.

Together they pored over stacks of photos and catalogs and chronicled the client’s likes and dislikes. What emerged is a style that is clean, classic and uncomplicated. “I wanted it to be casual and comfortable,” but Beth brought me up a notch,” the wife recalls.

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enlarge | Shaker-style cabinetry and retro-inspired nautical pendants enhance the kitchen’s beach cottage appeal. The polished handmade subway tile backsplash “has a wave to it,” interior designer Elizabeth Gillin says. Rattan seating has stress-free Sunbrella cushions. The mahogany topped buffet/bar at right—equipped with a sink, wine cooler and icemaker—caters to a crowd.
Easy Does It
The clients love to entertain and knew the house would be a constant hub of activity, “so they had clear ideas about how they wanted to live—which is simply,” Gillin says. In the kitchen they chose timeless Shaker-style cabinetry and white subway tile for a classic cottage feel. “We all congregate in the kitchen,” the wife says, a space where cooking and connecting with family and friends are equal pleasures. Rattan seats that pull up to the expansive granite topped island are upholstered in worry-free Sunbrella fabric.

Random-width oak plank flooring was chosen for its ease of care, beauty and imperfection. “We didn’t want anything too pristine,” the wife says, knowing wet suits and sand would be part of the territory. “If the floors got marred, that would just add to its rustic character,” she reasons.

Windows—covered primarily in rattan shades or plantation shutters—are equally unfussy. “We thought about adding a fabric valance” in the dining area but decided the rattan shades were fine on their own, the designer says.

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enlarge | The open-plan dining area is furnished with a casual mix of furnishings and natural textures. Rattan shades have a clean, unfussy look. Within view is an inviting screened porch—an ideal spot to cool off on a hot summer day, enjoy the ocean breeze or curl up with a good book. Teak plantation-style furnishings exude a resort-at-home feeling with sun- and water-resistant Sunbrella fabric cushions and tropical and durable ipe flooring
Something Borrowed, Something Blue
Because the homeowners wanted the interior to be fluid and calming, they deferred to the seascape, decorating in sandy tones and ocean blues. Patterns are low-key or muted so as not to distract from the landscape. Furnishings are a casual mix of natural textures and light and dark woods.

Main walls are painted in Coastal Fog, a pleasing warm gray/beige by Benjamin Moore that appears to change with the light and play up the fresh white millwork.

No details were overlooked, from the living room’s tray ceiling with gridded beams and bead-board insets to classic columns and cleverly designed built-ins throughout. “Builder Brian Furey and his crew are meticulous, expert craftsman,” the wife says. The team also incorporated some of her favorite detailing: wide plank wainscoting, an element she admired in many of the casual showcase homes in the Florida panhandle. “It’s a more simplified wainscoting,” Gillin explains, characterized by recessed flat panels and straight molding detail, a departure from more traditional heavy panels or multiple inlays.

“I can’t say enough about how well everyone worked together to come up with so many creative ideas and solutions,” the wife says. “This house feels like home. A dream come true.”

Trend Toward Simplification
“Having been an interior designer for 35 years, I have definitely noticed a trend toward simplification. Most of my young clients are not interested in formal furniture and massive window treatments, anything that requires lots of maintenance. They are looking to keep their homes simple and easy to use. Perhaps it goes along with casual dress, but peoples’ homes are getting a lot more casual as well. If they do use accessories, they are casual and fun. Fabrics are simple solids or maybe an ikat pattern; very little is floral.”
— Interior designer Elizabeth B. Gillin


SOURCES Overall: architect, Richard Bubnowski Design LLC in Point Pleasant; builder, Brian Furey of Falcon Industries LLC in Normandy Beach; interior designer, Elizabeth B. Gillin Interiors LLC in Westfield; structural support system, Kevin Sommons of KSI Professional Engineers LLC in Farmingdale. Sun Porch: furniture, Century Furniture with fabrics by Sunbrella; glass-top end tables, Lane Venture. Outdoor Deck: assorted furniture, Lane Venture; dining table and chairs, Gloster Furniture Inc. Breakfast Area: dining table, Somerset Bay in High Point, North Carolina (T); chairs, Palecek in Richmond, California; chandelier, Vaughan Designs Inc. in New York City (T); rattan shades (here and throughout), ASAP Blinds in Manasquan; wall color, Coastal Fog (AC-1) by Benjamin Moore. Kitchen: design, Elizabeth B. Gillin Interiors; cabinetry and installation, Custom Kitchens by Chuck Van Emburgh in Point Pleasant; granite countertops, Bedrock Granite in Edison; handmade subway tile backsplash, Monmouth St. Tile in Sea Girt; pendant lights, Visual Comfort & Co. in Houston; counter stools, Ficks Reed in Cincinnati; custom buffet/bar with walnut stained mahogany top, designed by Elizabeth B. Gillin Interiors and built by Old Biscayne Designs (T); bar sconces (one shown), Vaughan Designs Inc. Entry Hallway: sconces, Visual Comfort & Co.; chandelier, McLean Lighting through The Salt Box in Greens­boro, North Carolina; staircase lights, Solaria Home in Decatur, Georgia (T); mirror, Chelsea House in Gastonia, North Carolina (T); server/cabinet, Halo Styles in High Point, North Ca­ro­lina; sofa table between bookcases, Somerset Bay; striped throw rugs, Barrier Island Rugs; assorted accessories, Elizabeth B. Gillin Interiors. Living Room: millwork and built-ins (here and throughout), Falcon Industries; plantation shutters (here and throughout), ASAP Blinds; sofa, Century Furniture; swivel chair and chair in foreground, Charles Stewart Co. in Hickory, North Carolina, with Kravet fabrics; slipper chair and ottoman, Palecek with Fabricut fabric; cocktail table and distressed TV cabinet near window, Bausman & Co. in Ontario, California (T); side table, White Fine Furnishings in Lynchburg, Virginia (T); obelisk table lamp, Visual Comfort & Co.; fireplace sconces, Urban Electric Co. in Charleston, South Carolina; column sconces, Solaria Home; fan, Ferguson Appliance Kitchen, Bath & Light Center in Lakewood; assorted accessories, Elizabeth B. Gillin Interiors. Second-Floor Landing: patterned area rugs, Dash & Albert in Pittsfield, Massachusetts; chandelier in center of the hallway, Tomlinson/Erwin-Lambeth in Thomas­ville, North Carolina (T); glass globe light fixture, Elizabeth B. Gillin Interiors; wicker chair, Mainly Baskets in Atlanta. Master Bedroom: custom bedding and drapery, designed by Elizabeth B. Gillin Interiors and fabricated by Nancy Podell Drapery in Clark; bed and desk chair, Somerset Bay; desk, White Fine Furnishings; upholstered chair, Kravet Furniture; custom louvered wall unit, Old Biscayne Designs; area rug, Patterson, Flynn & Martin in New York City (T); fan, Ferguson Appliance Kitchen, Bath & Light Center. Master Bathroom: cabinetry, Custom Kitchens by Chuck Van Emburgh; marble countertop, Bedrock Granite; marble flooring, subway tile and decorative border in shower, Monmouth St. Tile; faucets, Ferguson Appliance Kitchen, Bath & Light Center; mirrors, Evalyn Dunn’s Gallery in Westfield; sconces, Visual Comfort & Co. Guest Bath­room: cabinetry, Custom Kitchens by Chuck Van Emburgh; white marble countertops, Bedrock Granite. Girl’s Bedroom: custom bedding and window treatments, designed by Elizabeth B. Gillin Interiors and fabricated by Pamela Starkey Drapery in Westfield. Third-Level Staircase: sconces, Solaria Lighting; hanging light fixture, Tomlinson/Erwin-Lambeth. T=To the Trade.

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