From the August/September 2013 Issue:


    Writer: Meg Fox | Photographer: John Martinelli | Interior Design: Donna Grimes | Kitchen Design: Francie Milano, CKD | Architect: Jay Madden, AIA | Builder: Scott Peraria Builders, LLC |

A couple’s affinity for the water, the charms of yesteryear and the ties that bind guide the color palette and design of a beloved beach home

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enlarge | A pebble-like stone chandelier, weathered wood finishes and a cool blue palette announce the home’s beachy ease. “It was important to have the stairway as open as the engineering would allow so you can see all the way into the living room and the water,” homeowner John Laub says.
“We love the island,” say homeowners Lisa and John Laub, who purchased their first vacation home in the Harvey Cedars section of Long Beach Island in 1999. “Harvey Cedars is the perfect town,” adds Lisa Laub, noting that the merchants know your name, the neighbors are like extended family and everything—beach, activities and the main boulevard—is just a short walk away.

A water view was the only thing missing from that first home. The Laubs kept their eye on a vacant bayfront lot down the street until it became available for purchase in 2010. With panoramic views of the bay, “we knew it was an amazing spot,” she says.

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enlarge | Fabrics and furniture simultaneously reflect sophistication and ease in the family room. A light gray pebble fireplace with seashell insets chosen by the homeowner personalizes the look and works well with the blues in the room, Grimes says. Custom built-ins are made of reclaimed wood. Free-floating shelves—stained to blend with the built-ins—display seashore treasures.
Team Building
The couple spent a good deal of time planning the design of the home along with the team that would help them build it: architect Jay Madden, builder Scott Peraria, interior designer Donna Grimes and kitchen designer Francie Milano. “We literally kept big spiral notebooks filled with photos for inspiration,” John Laub says. Many of the ideas were reinterpreted, tweaked or edited with input from the team. “It was a collaborative effort” that resulted in a style all our own, he adds.

The 3,000-square-foot, shingle-clad house with a gambrel roofline and natural cedar siding reflects classic Hampton’s-style architecture, similar in feel to neighboring Madden-designed homes they admired. “We wanted everything to be traditional in feel, look like it had been renovated over time” or been in the family for generations, Laub recalls. For the interior, every room would have something that’s blue, something that’s natural or something that’s time-honored to reflect the home’s surroundings and the couple’s penchant for classic coastal design.

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enlarge | Mismatched seating gives the breakfast area the desired gathered-over-time feeling. Made in America, the thick and heavily distressed alder-top table accommodates a crowd. Sand-colored walls are offset by white trim and dark, hand-scraped, engineered maple floors.
Ocean’s Away
Cool blue-painted walls announce the home’s at-the-beach-feel in the sun-drenched foyer along with distressed wood furnishings, crisp white trim and contrasting wide-plank wood floors. “When I meet with clients I always work on a central color so the house has good flow,” says designer Donna Grimes, owner of Serenity Design, a complete home design center in Ship Bottom. Though she used blue in different ways—as a focal point, as an accent and in a variety of textures—they all work together.

The entry closet, wrapped in tongue-in-groove siding with a whimsical knotted rope pull as a door handle, underscores the home’s nautical spirit. “We tried to incorporate funky things that give you a smile,” says John Laub, who bought the handmade rope from a nautical website.

Builder Scott Peraria encased the walls and ceiling in the master bedroom in the same Atlantic white cedar planks for classic coastal style. Painters resisted the urge to fill in the holes or joints when applying the white finish at the instruction of Grimes and the homeowners. “We didn’t want it to look perfect,” Laub says.

An assortment of vintage finds also gives the new house a sense of history, such as the artful stained-glass window incorporated above the powder room door. The Victorian-style screen door leading from the kitchen to the laundry room was new, but Grimes had it aged in a layered finish with strokes of blue peeking through. The Laubs didn’t have to search too far for the vintage glass doorknob that gives the door an air of authenticity. “We found it in the basement of our main residence,” a 110-year-old Empire-style home, Lisa Laub says.

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enlarge | Draperies blow in the breeze in the romantic and relaxed master bedroom, a skillful mix of elegant and casual. Paneling is a shore house staple.
Refreshing Mix
Grimes and certified kitchen designer Francie Milano enjoyed working on the home’s mix of old and new. “I think it’s the best way to create a warm, inviting environment,” Grimes says. In the kitchen, Milano designed the layout and white recessed cabinetry in Wood-Mode’s Cottage Lace, “a delicately distressed finish reminiscent of heirloom furniture,” she says. The blue Bertazzoni range takes center stage and is surrounded by old-fashioned touches: bead-board detailing, a handmade soft blue subway tile backsplash and a tin picture-frame inset.

Living areas are designed for entertaining and ease. “We want people to feel comfortable putting their feet up on the couch, not worry about spilling a glass of wine” or fret about kids running around in wet bathing suits, Lisa Laub says.

Driftwood-inspired stools with rush seats around the kitchen island have a “beachy bungalow feel,” Grimes says, while a variety of benches and chairs in the breakfast room pull up to a thick, heavily distressed two-tone table. “We didn’t want things so matchy-matchy,” John Laub recalls, adding that the pieces look like they might have been handed down over the years. He and his wife credit Grimes with giving them the confidence to mix things up with pieces from different manufacturers that all work together.

In the family room, rustic meets refined as it does elsewhere in the house. I’d call it “sophisticated cottage,” Grimes says of the interior’s eclectic scheme. Paisley print sofas dress things up a bit, but reclaimed wood built-ins, a pebble stone fireplace and other accents take it right back down to the beach, she says.

Details make the difference
1. Natural light floods into the house through classic seeded glass doors in the entry.
2. Builder Scott Peraria clad the entry closet in tongue-in-groove paneling, mimicking a coastal cottage look the homeowners admired in a magazine. Homeowner John Laub found the handmade rope pull—typically used for bells—on a nautical website.
3. A Victorian style screen door—leading to the laundry room off the kitchen—takes the new home back in time with the sound of the door closing and creaking “up to about 100 times a day,” Lisa Laub says in amusement. Strokes of blue appear in its faux aged finish. A vintage glass doorknob is the finishing touch.
4. A salvaged stained glass window gives the new house instant charm and channels light into the powder room, as do transom windows above doorways and windows. Solid five-panel doors (used throughout) and a porcelain bead-board chair rail are other time-honored touches.

Designer Tip
Wide-planked floors are highly desirable in today’s interiors, but in coastal areas hardwood floors wider than three inches are subject to cupping, expansion and contraction, designer Donna Grimes says. Engineered wood may be a better choice in coastal climates because it offers greater stability, she says. Her clients chose wide-planked and hand-scraped engineered maple.


Overall: interior design, Donna Grimes of Serenity Design in Ship Bottom; architect, Jay Madden Architect in Harvey Cedars; builder, Scott Peraria Builders LLC in Ship Bottom; landscape design, Bay Avenue Plant Co. in Surf City. Foyer: console, GuildMaster (T); wall color, Sheer Romance (#837) by Benjamin Moore; stone chandelier; Regina-Andrew Design Inc. (T); flooring, hand-scraped engineered maple. Kitchen: design and cabinetry (Wood-Mode Springfield Recessed in Cottage Lace), Francie Milano Kitchens Inc. in Ship Bottom; range, Bertazzoni; countertops, espresso granite in “leather” finish; kitchen décor elements, through Serenity Design: backsplash, handmade blue subway tile, Ecospec Tile LLC in Covina, California; barstools, Lexington; mercury glass pendants, Regina-Andrew Design Inc.; Victorian screen door, Victorian Trading Co. (online) with aged finish applied by Serenity Design; vintage knob, homeowners. Breakfast Room: dining table, Woodland Furniture in Idaho Falls, Idaho (T); dining chairs, Swedish Farmhouse/Chinossere finish from Steven Shell (T); benches, Trade Winds Furniture in Charlotte, North Carolina; chandelier, Arteriors Home (T); Roman shades, made by Serenity Design with fabric from Ado Corp. in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Powder Room: design and custom vanity with a brown glaze and custom shell mirror, Serenity Design; countertop, Calacutta gold; backsplash, porcelain bead-board; salvaged stained glass above door, Golden Oldies Ltd. in Flushing, New York. Family Room: paisley sofas and blue swivel chair with white piping, Four Seasons Furniture in Seagrove, North Carolina; wicker chair and ottoman, Braxton Culler Inc. in High Point, North Carolina; coffee table, Caracole in Greensboro, North Carolina; custom side table with glass top, custom reclaimed wood built-in’s, floating shelves and stone fireplace façade, Serenity Design; window treatments, Ado Corp.; wall color, Tumbled Marble (#1031) by Benjamin Moore. Master Bedroom: iron bed, Wesley Allen Iron Beds in Los Angeles; bedside table, Hooker Furniture Corp. in Martinsville, Virginia; burlap upholstered French chair, Four Hands in Austin, Texas; handpainted pillow of great blue heron, Art Pillows by Nancy Glines in Tuckerton; chandelier, 2nd Ave. Lighting in Yorkville, New York; fireplace with blue Macaúba marble and metal compass insets, Serenity Design; window treatments, Ado Corp. Master Bathroom: custom distressed black-painted cabinetry and custom oyster shell mirrors, Serenity Design; Carrera marble countertops, flooring, and wall tile, Carrera and black basket-weave, Elon Tile & Stone in Mount Kisco, New York. Kids Bedroom: shutters, here and throughout, Hunter Douglas through Serenity Design; paisley bedding, Sardinia pattern from; custom painted twin beds, furniture and lamps, homeowners. Bunk Bedroom: custom bunks, Serenity Design; oversized chair, Braxton Culler Inc.; wall color, Breath of Fresh Air (#806) by Benjamin Moore. Kids’ Bathroom: design, Serenity Design; cabinetry, Fairmont Designs in Buena Park, California; countertop, IceStone® (Sky Pearl); flooring, 8-by-17-inch Tibet blue porcelain by Edilcuoghi and white subway tile, all through Serenity Design. T=To the trade

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