This Bright and Airy Shore House Was Inspired by a Bahamian Hotel

Main Line designer Stephanie Kraus brought tropical prints and fun pops of color to the Ocean City residence.

jersey shore tropical house design

This tropical-inspired Shore house got its design cues from Bahamian hotel the Dunmore. Photograph by Nathan Schroder

Wayne-based residential interior designer Stephanie Kraus knows the success of a custom build comes down to the designer-client relationship. So when she was hired to bring to life, from scratch, a Bahamas-style vacation home in Ocean City, New Jersey, her first step was to make sure her clients’ aesthetic lined up with her own.

The clients, a Maryland family that summers at the Shore, wanted a high-end escape that was also approachable, fun, and reminiscent of their favorite Bahamian hotel, the Dunmore. This vision meshed well with Kraus’s knack for blending neutral patterns with bursts of color, so she got to work, partnering with Asher Slaunwhite Architects and custom builder D.L. Miner.

The project itself — tearing down an older home and then erecting a new six-bedroom residence on the oceanfront lot — began in November 2018 and wrapped in August 2020. The pandemic posed some unexpected problems, but Kraus’s clients gave her the creative freedom to dream up their dream home. Through her vibrant touches (a focus color in every bedroom), family-first ideas (a bunk-bed room featuring two twin beds above two queens), and custom pieces (built-ins galore), she did just that.

“When you step into your Shore house, you want to leave your stress behind. We decorated to feel like, ‘I’m on vacation.’” — Stephanie Kraus, designer

Family Room

Floor-to-ceiling multi-slider doors provide an unobstructed view of the ocean. The interior floor is completely flush with the deck floor, creating a cohesive indoor-outdoor space when the doors are open. In the family room, two custom L-shaped sectionals face each other, creating an area for both lounging and entertaining.

jersey shore tropical house design

The bonus room. Photograph by Nathan Schroder

Bonus Room

A custom pool table that converts to a ping-pong table is a highlight of the kids’ entertainment space. Behind the pool table are a piece of colorful wall art and a kitchenette for sodas, microwave popcorn and more.

jersey shore tropical house design

The powder room. Photograph by Nathan Schroder

Powder Room

Kraus brought tropical vibes to one of the home’s seven bathrooms via a palm-leaf wallpaper from Wallquest. “It makes a fun little room that would otherwise have no personality,” she says.

jersey shore tropical house design

The kitchen. Photograph by Nathan Schroder


The clients’ preference for a more traditional cooking space drove Kraus’s all-white design. Neutral touches — such as the organic white oak hood, rope bar stools, and gold Regina Andrews light fixtures — complement the room.

Published as “An Ocean Invitation” in the June 2021 issue of Philadelphia magazine.