December 2010 Web Exclusive Article

Past Present Future

  • Photographer: JOHN MARTINELLI
  • Designer: ANNE PECORA

A Long Beach Island home is built for generations of memories

Article Photo
enlarge | The Loveladies home is clad in cedar shakes and the porch floors are ipe, two woods that stand up to the seaside climate. The front door is Douglas fir, the garage door is Spanish cedar, and the porch roof is copper.
A respect for New Jersey’s maritime history, a need to escape today’s pressures, and a desire to collect memories and objects to pass onto succeeding generations all played a role when Dr. Andrew and Anne Pecora decided to build a home on Long Beach Island.

The Wyckoff couple had rented vacation homes on LBI for 20 years, starting on the south end of the island and moving farther north to quieter towns as their children — Aimee, now 23; Stephen, 21; and Matthew, 17 — grew up. When the time came to buy a place of their own, they chose Loveladies, where they found the perfect lot (wide lagoon in the back, views of the bay, close proximity to the beach) even though it had a less-than-perfect house (small, rundown, 1960s-era with overgrown landscaping).

After using the existing home for two summers, they were ready to tear it down and build anew, says Anne Pecora, formerly vice president of design services for a company that specializes in store planning, design, and décor, and now owner of B. Oliver Designs, a design consulting firm. She had attended the Seashore Open House Tour, sponsored by the LBI Arts & Science Foundation, for 15 years and fell in love with homes designed by architect William C. Tagland. There was no question she wanted him to design their new home; Andrew Pecora, chairman and executive administrative director of the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center, agreed.

“We basically gave Bill full license to design his vision for the home because we had come to respect and love his work,” she says. “Bill gave us a sketch a week after our first meeting, and very little changed other than some fine-tuning. His original sketch is still hanging in our home.”

Tagland grew up across the lagoon from the property so he knew the best views of the lagoon from the back of the house and the bay from the front. “The key was to take into account there are views in multiple directions,” he says. Aside from designing a home that stands up to harsh seaside weather, Tagland says, height and other restrictions can lead to unique designs. In this case, for instance, he was allowed the equivalent of two stories of living space, which is limiting when a garage is included. “What I did is stagger the living spaces into four levels and then maximize floor space.”

The Pecoras also knew who they wanted to build the home: John Tilton. “After seeing a number of his builds and given his outstanding reputation, we looked no further,” Anne Pecora says. “John was crucial to all the decisions I needed to make as far as materials and level of details, such as trim and fixtures. The interest he takes in all of his work is as though he would live in the home himself.”

Article Photo
enlarge | The Loveladies home is clad in cedar shakes and the porch floors are ipe, two woods that stand up to the seaside climate. The front door is Douglas fir, the garage door is Spanish cedar, and the porch roof is copper.
Appreciating History

Even before construction began, Pecora knew exactly how she wanted the interiors to look: Americana/turn-of-the-century seashore. “Andrew and I were born in Nutley and take great pride in that — New Jersey is so rich in history,” she says. “We wanted to convey not only a patriotic theme, but also depict a slice of New Jersey’s seaside-maritime history.” Many of the furnishings and accessories are antiques and artifacts purchased on the island.

In fact, Anne Pecora is following in her mother’s footsteps as a collector of antiques. “My mother taught me that what’s truly fun about collecting is to find conversation pieces — pieces that generate interest and speculation about who once wore, used, or owned them,” she says. Examples in the Pecora home include vintage bathing suits, men’s straw hats, an old red megaphone beside an old lobster trap, buoys, oyster and bait cans from New Jersey, old signal flags, antique fishing poles, and lures. Newer pieces that continue the maritime theme include a telescope, sailboats, and a collection of sea glass and seashells from walks on the beach. “These will become antiques, and my great grandchildren will one day look at pictures of us using them.”

Article Photo
enlarge | The living room is a place for conversing and, on chilly days, reading by the fireplace. In the corner is “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” telescope, named for one of Anne Pecora’s favorite television shows as a child. The telescope is functional, but house rules require you to first don a captain’s hat.
Safe Haven

For today, though, the Pecoras take pleasure in escaping the busy-ness of everyday life. Though their main home remains in Wyckoff, they visit the LBI home year-round. “We find that each of the four seasons holds its treasures and magic,” Pecora says. “I love to come here in the winter and read books by the fire and cook recipes I wouldn’t find the time to make at home.”

There’s also mass at the lighthouse on Easter morning and designated weeks for summer guests: one for Mom and Dad’s friends, one for each of the kid’s friends (supervised, of course), one for each side of the family. That’s not to mention summer birthdays, graduation parties, and family reunions.

“Rarely is there a business obligation done here,” she says. “We consider this our safe haven reserved for family, friends, and always fun.”