This Island-Inspired Beach House on the Jersey Shore Is Every Entertainer’s Fantasy
When you build a home by the sea, you always hope for a good return on your investment. What you’ll inevitably get, however (with or without the positive ROI), is the frequent return of houseguests. That’s what one New Jersey family was banking on when they built a 4,000-square-foot bayfront stunner in the seaside town of Avalon as an escape for both them and their family and friends. “The home had to be all about their guests feeling comfortable in the kitchen, dining, and living areas,” says Delaware-based designer Megan Gorelick, whom the couple called on to realize their beach house dreams. That meant smart configurations of the layout, hardy materials, and furniture that works double-duty (hello, built-ins!). As for the style? Gorelick ventured off the home shoreline to channel the vibe of the tropics. “The homeowners love to island hop, so we wanted them to feel like they were on their own private island,” she says. Here’s how Gorelick created a guest-friendly, beach-inspired paradise along the bay.
Though 4,000 square feet gives the family of five plus their two yellow labs ample wiggle room, the design team also sought to incorporate storage space in clever—and convenient—ways. That meant a liberal use of built-ins in places like the family room, where a pair of benches flank a wall of cabinetry and open shelving. With built-ins, “you get a lot of bang for your buck, not to mention architectural detail,” says Gorelick. The designer dressed up the space with ocean-themed accents, including a pair of seahorse prints (from the homeowners’ own collection), the Coca Plum Mirror from Coastal Living’s Escape Collection, and a handwoven arrowroot shelf backing from Phillip Jeffries.
As the heart of the home, the open-plan kitchen and dining area needed to be both accessible and durable. To achieve the latter, Gorelick selected hardy materials such as vinyl fabric for the barstools and a quartzite countertop on the island, which is “natural but very forgiving,” says the designer. Concrete countertops on the kitchen perimeter also provide a hardworking prep space for the family and their guests. As with the rest of the home, the kitchen’s style leans clean and modern—with a few playful winks. Here, the show-stealing accent is a tropical blue-and-orange Lee Jofa wallpaper that’s complimented by an island splashed in Benjamin Moore’s Ocean Floor. “It puts a smile on everyone’s face in the morning,” says Gorelick.
Cool and Casual
With a pool on one level and a spacious deck showcasing pristine water views on the other, indoor-outdoor living (and entertaining) was top of mind for the design team. In the upstairs living room, glass doors fold back completely from one end to the other, making the transition from indoors to out seamless. (And with a wet bar, including a sink and mini fridge, you can rest assured that you won’t be making the transition empty handed.) An indoor-outdoor rug from Stanton and durable, stain-resistant upholstery ensure the living room can stand up to the same treatment as its outdoor counterpart.
While much of the home was designed with entertaining in mind, the master bedroom was envisioned as a personal sanctuary, with a vibe leaning toward clean, serene, and stylish. Boasting some of the best views in the home, the space reflects its bayside location with a natural palette accented with denimy blues, including a Schumacher-clad bench and his-and-hers armchairs. Simple accessories, like the woven Couristan rug and Oly Studio Clyde Mirror, keep the focus on the room’s natural artwork.
As a compact space where small changes can generally yield big rewards, the powder room is the perfect space to have a little design fun. Here, Gorelick wrapped each space in game-changing wallpaper, each adding a playful, personal touch to the often-overlooked rooms. The Kerri Rosenthal Sunshine Sunshine find brightly nods to the home’s beachy locale; the dog print (from Wallshoppe) is an ode to the family’s beloved Labradors from past and present.