House to Home

On The Water's Edge
This Nantucket-style home was built to withstand
the humidity and look good doing it

By Geraldine Bergonzi

Homebuilders and buyers from the Jersey Shore are well aware that if you want to build new, you have to knock down something old.  That being said, Eustace Mita recently completed construction of a brand new 3,500-square-foot Nantucket –style beach home that looks as if it’s been there for many years.  Situated on a lagoon and overlooking an adjacent park and the Intacoastal, the home has all of the modern amenities and conveniences, while retaining a historic flair.

“When designing the house, our primary focus was on how one lives on the water.  Our objective is to take the outside environment inside, and create the peach of mind that the water gives to the human soul,” explains Mita.  “Seashore living is focused on the kitchen, dining, and family rooms.”  Architect Tom Witteman helped bring that vision to light.

The exterior is true to Nantucket style, but incorporates newer products that require less maintenance and are more moisture resistant.  In place of the historically used cedar shade, the house is sided with a Hardieboard product that is a cedar impression made of a cement derivative.  Mahogany was selected for the front, as well as the garage doors.  Bay windows are topped with standing seam copper that weathers nicely and retains an authentic classic look.  Roof line peaks are trimmed with a scroll detail made of a plastic and fiberboard composite that requires no maintenance.  (A trellis of the same Azek product was fabricated and installed by Lou Deman.)  Rich, chocolate brown roof shingles are speckled with a peach tone and also lend the impression of cedar.  And in place of the often used Trex product, Mita said, a harder wood from South American, called Ipe (ee-pay), was chosen for the front stairs.  “It’s eight times the thickness of mahogany and so dense that it’s perfect for the shore,” Mita says.

A widow’s walk, together with first and second level radius balconies, continues the quaint New England feel.  “I call them Romeo-and-Juliet balconies,” adds Mita, “They soften the look and create a nice visual effect.”  The look continues inside with an abundance of finish trim, wainscoting, and beamed/coffered ceilings.  “We went nuts with trim!” says Mita.  There is a big emphasis placed on the kitchen as the hub of the home.  Appliances are top of the line, including a Sub-Zero refrigerator and Wolf range and oven.  Over the cooktop, an arched mantel, trimmed with appliqué and decorative corbels, creates a fireplace effect.  On the backsplash, a 3-D shell design is bordered by translucent tiles that shimmer with natural light and are also backlit for evenings.  Bob McCarty of Design Studios created the warm palette with glazed cabinetry that was imported from Canada.  Raised panels and a rope appliqué lend depth to the glaze treatment.

In addition to five bedrooms and five baths, the layout offers a few unique beach amenities.  The first floor is equipped with an extra shower, as well as an additional stacked washer/dryer to accommodate beach or pool towels and bathing suits.

In the family room, a flat-screened TV is enclosed above the fireplace which is flanked by built-in bookcases.  These, too, are made of a composite that stands up to salt air, and won’t expand or contract with changes in humidity.  Mita adds, “Because the beach houses are relatively small, you have to get creative with the space.  The front door is actually located on the side of the house and allows you to enter into the center hall.  The plan made a more efficient use of the space and made it possible to include a library/den.”


EXECUTIVE OFFICES . 2501 Seaport Drive . Suite SH400 . Chester, PA  19013 . P 610-497-9700 . F 610-497-9100