Recipe for a Shore Thing

Take the sound of the ocean, blend in a beauty palette and sprinkle with family love, and you have a delicious retreat.



A FRANKLIN LAKES COUPLE JUST CAN’T GET enough of the Jersey Shore—and the wholesome, sunny times that build family memories. So when the opportunity arose to move up to the beach-front in Mantoloking, they couldn’t resist. This was just a few doors down from the expanded Cape Cod-style home that served as their happy retreat for 36 years, but what a difference! Now they can sit on their couch and marvel at the ocean, and there is room enough for the entire family, including two children and four grandchildren.

“The larger kitchen and living areas have made it a great place to gather, not to mention the improved views and the wonderful soothing sound of the ocean,” says the homeowner. 

Such a momentous move for a couple devoted to the Atlantic Ocean since their childhoods called for a home design worthy of this step-up. And in the spirit of the Shore, that could only mean inviting the beauty of the beach inside.

Their designer Ron Nathan, of the Wyckoff firm Ron Nathan Interiors, let the palette work its magic by reflecting the ocean’s dark blues as an accent hue in the first-floor living space. Some striking examples are the kitchen’s checked chairs and the living room’s custom wool rug, but it’s present also in the details, such as the trim of the couch. Built in the 1990s—and renovated after Superstorm Sandy—their new home is eclectic with a modern flair. While contemporary décor often plays gray against accents, in this case “we wanted a warmer, friendlier feel,” says Nathan, who also updated furnishings in their former beach house as well as their Franklin Lakes home. So he chose lots of creamy tan—to mirror the sandy beach—and let it dominate the window treatments, walls and living-room seating. A recycled dining-room table has a ceruse finish, keeping with that beachy-chic vibe.

But this is more than a color story: Wise to the ways of the Shore, the couple knew the virtue of performance fabrics that can stand up against intense sun, along with the occasional sand and salt that children might bring in. His clients’ timing couldn’t be better, Nathan says, because today’s performance fabrics are soft—not what one would expect from furniture durable enough for outdoors—and come in many varieties. With walls of windows reflecting the ocean at every possible angle, fading was inevitable, but “these fabrics are UV-friendly so you don’t have to worry,” he says.

To create interest, Nathan also sprinkled about nautical decor like the wooden schooner over the fireplace, but says these objects took second place to the colors, finish and texture played up in the open, airy design.

Nathan focused most of his effort on the first-floor living area, but also styled the master bedroom and sitting area with a beige-and-pale-green combo. There’s a wall of windows, once again maximizing the view.

With the work done and time for fun, the family is right where they want to be: “My husband spent his youthful summers a few miles down the road in Ocean Beach, and those friendships have shaped his life,” says the homeowner. “It was our hope to have that same experience for our kids and grandkids.”

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