Seven Inspiring Jersey Shore Houses

How do you embrace a loosened-up vibe without veering into trite beach-house trappings at your Shore place? Consider this your idea book.

Our Shore homes are the unfussy counterparts to our city and suburban sprawls — a little more comfortable, a lot less serious. But they pose a design dilemma: How to embrace a loosened-up vibe without veering into trite beach-house trappings? Consider this your idea book: seven inspiring Shore homes (you know, the ones you’ve always secretly wanted to peek inside) that go beyond shells and starfish for true seaside style.

Rooms With a View


A modern Avalon beachfront home designed by Roxborough-based Purdy O’Gwynn Architects. Photograph by Halkin Mason Photography

The space features a soaring sloped ceiling and a wall of windows that flood the open kitchen, dining area and living room with light. Photograph by Halkin Mason Photography

Window seats stretch across a second-floor balcony level and provide a retreat for kids while still letting them be part of the action downstairs. Photograph by Halkin Mason Photography

Cape May

Philly-based design firm Floss Barber gave a 1970s California-style home in Cape May a modern renovation. Photograph by Sam Oberter

A serene two-story living room overlooks a sprawling back deck and pool, and a sandy sitting nook — draped for shade — is a perfect place to take in bay views. Photographs by Sam Oberter

Cottage Feel


Meg O’Kane, an interior designer and co-owner of North Jersey-based Tory Haynes Interiors, partnered with Point Pleasant’s Dearborn Builders to create her classic shingle-style beachfront home in Mantoloking. The kitchen — which opens to an ocean-side porch — mixes “the colors of sea and sand” with a pale blue tile backsplash and touches of warm cerused cypress. Photograph by Sam Oberter

Left: O’Kane converted unused space in a hallway off the dining room into a game nook where family and friends gather over puzzles during rainy Shore days. Right: Guests coming in from the beach can rinse off in the outdoor shower, tricked out in cabana-like stripes. Photographs by Sam Oberter

The master bathroom is a combination of cozy (shiplap walls and a cerused cypress ceiling) and cosmopolitan (Carrera marble countertops and unlacquered brass fixtures). Photograph by Sam Oberter

Light and Bright


In Margate, a family of five lives in an open-concept, energy-efficient home by Boston-based ZeroEnergy Design. Photograph by Eric Roth

A floating staircase, a subdued palette and low-profile furnishings keep the space feeling fresh and modern. Photograph by Eric Rot


Left: A charming guest cottage in Avalon by Asher Associates Architects, based in Jenkintown and Stone Harbor. Right: The centerpiece of the home is a winding wooden staircase: “We designed the house around this. It’s intended to be a little bit whimsical,” says Asher partner Mark Asher. Photographs by Bill Horin

By the Sea


Left: Society Hill-based Ambit Architecture designed this modern Strathmere home — all sweeping windows and Atlantic white cedar — to maximize its ocean and bay views. Right: Inside, glass doors leading out to the back deck tuck away into the wall for an unencumbered view of the bay. Customized built-ins — like the kitchen, island and bookshelf — make efficient use of the home’s small footprint. “We packed it in like a yacht,” Ambit partner Sam Kim says. Photographs by Ambit Architecture


Left: In another Asher-designed Avalon home, an airy master bedroom features a balcony that overlooks the bay. Right: An outdoor walkway connects the main house to a guest bedroom above the garage. A mahogany ceiling, cable rails and wood decking lend it a nautical feel. Photographs by Mike King

Published as “New Wave” in the July 2017 issue of Philadelphia magazine.