Home Improvements

CONTRACTING FOR SERVICES ON LBI AND THE SURROUNDING AREA: HOME IMPROVEMENTS AND THE KEYS TO SELECTING THE RIGHT CONTRACTOR FOR YOUR PROJECT From selecting real estate, building a new home or remodeling an existing home to designing outdoor living areas, installing swimming pools and updating essential services, the search for the right service provider/contractor can be challenging and time-consuming. Brian Swank, BLA – Reynolds Design Team -“Design Concept Rendering” Whether they be architects and designers to landscapers, carpenters, plumbers and pool contractors—sifting through websites and scouring newspaper advertisements prove that finding a contractor is not difficult. Finding the rig

Renovate or Remodel

Looking to renovate or remodel on the island and stay within budget? The design-build process may be the best approach for you. Photo By Bridget Horgan Bell The full-service design-build method bypasses the need for a client to go to contract with two separate companies, an architect and a builder, as it combines both aspects of the building process: architecture and construction. Instead of initially hiring an architect to design plans and send them “out to bid” to numerous builders, the design-build option keeps both services, architectural and building, in-house with one point of contact and under one contract. Under Construction in Ship Bottom, Long Beach Island, offers this method which

Next Level

Photos by Steve Belkowitz The staircase is one of the main focal points in your home. Its fundamental purpose is to provide access to the different levels of your house, but it also adds beauty, personal style and architectural interest to a home’s design. Most of us don’t choose a staircase very often. Stairs and railings come in many varieties, shapes and sizes, and the process can feel intimidating at times. A good place to start is by looking at the style of your home. A modern, sleek staircase will look best in contemporary homes, and traditional colonial homes generally feature a straight staircase that lines up with the front door. The parameters of your project are just as important

No Maintenance Backyard

GardenMark Artificial Grass - For Your Dream Summer Summer— most often synonymous with spending long, dreamy days outdoors with friends and family. The most telltale signs of summer include a quick round of catch with the kids on a beautiful lawn, an afternoon bocce session with the neighbors or practicing putting on your own green. GardenMark Artificial Grass is ready to turn all of these dreams into a reality. If lawn mowing or regular trips to the home center are your favorite pastimes, then GardenMark isn’t for you. All of our products are extremely low maintenance—so none of that is required. GardenMark markets three high quality styles of artificial grass that replicate the appearanc

Before Taking the Plunge

Whether you are a stone’s throw from the beach or have a boat docked in the bay, nothing brings on mental repose quite like floating—or swimming—in a relaxing pool of still, tranquil water that is nestled in the privacy of your very own backyard. But putting in a new pool doesn’t have to be an exasperating undertaking. For those considering the installation of a swimming pool or spa on their property, there are a few things to consider before you jump into the deep end. David Ash, Jr., owner of Surf City’s David Ash Jr., Landscape Contractors has more than 30 years of experience transforming ordinary properties into dream-like outdoor living and entertaining spaces, including their highly re

Waterfront Appeal

Photos by Jay Rosenblatt Photography After an afternoon boat ride along the Barnegat Bay, you may find that you see Long Beach Island from a different point of view. One of the most unique aspects of LBI is it’s expansive amount of water. With all of it’s beauty and the effect it has on our senses, we as homeowners and visitors want to know how we can utilize these natural elements to their fullest potential. As landscape designers and builders, Bay Avenue Plant Company is always enthralled with the challenge of designing around the water and using the water as an inspiration for their projects. In this North Beach project, Bay Avenue was fortunate to begin with such a beautiful home nestle

Let Nature In with an Outdoor Shower

Those with coastal homes are no stranger to the perils of living close to the surf—but few of these challenges are as pesky than when the surf comes home with you. Tracked-in-sand and sunscreen-laced soles sliding across your floors are notoriously difficult to clean—and just plan annoying. An obvious solution, of course, is an outdoor bathroom – and it’s one that many LBI-dwellers have invested in during recent years. One of the most popular local contractors specializing in these enclosures is the Outdoor Shower Distributing Center, which manufactures the “ToddPodd” line of showers, lockers, and cabanas. These enclosures have a plethora of choices and sizes to fit your home on the beach or

Directional Down Lighting

After a long day at the beach, a late dinner is even later than expected on the bay in Beach Haven. Two generations of children set the table under the disappearing sun. As guests arrive to enjoy cocktails, darkness sets in and the outdoor lighting comes on and provides necessary lighting to recognize faces. Clusters of candles create glimmering points on the table, but the passed food and smiles are lit by the soffit down lighting from two stories above. This is a typical evening on LBI where downlighting improves entertaining and extends time outside. In Southern Ocean County, our lighting team strives to create a lighting plan that lights from above the ground. Down lights are design

Tiny Home with a Big Heart

Photos by John Martinelli The micro home movement is one of the most fascinating architectural and social phenomena of our time. Appealing to those in the market for a second home or homeowners who are looking to downsize, a house less than 500 square feet guarantees lower living costs and decreased maintenance while offering a simpler, decluttered perspective on life. But millennials are not the only ones adopting minimalism principles by moving into tiny homes, cutting their wardrobes and donating their possessions. Little did Thom Sweeney know that when he and his wife, Helen, took a chance buying the smallest home on Long Beach Island in 1980, this advertising executive-turned-interior

Spring has Sprung

The season of rejuvenation! The first sunny warm days of spring bring us all outside and into the garden. Planting annuals in beds or pots marks the beginning of the best time of year if you are a gardener. As excited as we are, spring can be tricky so be careful to pick the right plants. Choose plants that like the cool weather. Typically, garden centers sell the appropriate annuals for the season and the ones to come. Planting too soon can often cause plant to suffer or not make it at all. Remember to help your plants get settled, give them a fresh coating of mulch, some fertilize and most importantly keep them watered. If you were lucky enough to plant your bulbs in the fall, you wil

The Right Design

Photos by Patrica Burke If Pinterest and HGTV have tempted you with a DIY kitchen renovation, before catching yourself uttering “that’s a piece of cake, I can do that”—think again. Unless you have a design degree, industry contractor insight, and years of experience combing through proper aesthetics, function and style with financially reasonable and well-timed execution… meticulously planning, designing and constructing a fabulous kitchen is not as simple as it may seem. However, enlisting in the guidance of a professional kitchen designer will ensure you design the kitchen of your dreams, without the stress and guesswork that accompanies any construction project—especially one that is the

Generations of Décor

Photos By Caitlin Denbleyker It’s no secret that Long Beach Island has developed rapidly in recent years—almost every time you cross the Causeway, you can expect to see larger and more complex beach homes mid-construction, a couple new restaurants or eateries, and rebuilt storefronts. That change is easy to witness on the outside, but Oskar Huber, a favorite furniture retailer amongst locals, has the unique experience of also getting to peek inside. Serving LBI for over 50 years, they’ve witnessed the island solidify its reputation as a premier destination for vacationing families, those looking for a second-home for entertaining, and everything in between. Oskar Huber has furnished them all

Beyond the Sheets

Don’t let the name fool you—Between the Sheets, one of Long Beach Island’s most beloved interior design companies, doesn’t just deal in luxury linens for the home. Kristin Nissen and Maryann Schmid have provided an inclusive shop for home-decorating and design needs for over 25 years. Between the Sheets specializes in coastal-chic designs that cater to the lifestyle of the second homeowner. Ensuring that each client feels surrounded in “comfort and elegance” throughout the home is a key component of their decorating strategy—whether it be navigating the tricky transition from indoor to outdoor living, transforming master suites into “master retreats,” or even just sourcing the perfect finish

Farm to Beach House

Photos by Ann Coen From hipster coffee shops of Williamsburg to millennial studio apartments of Silicon Valley, the trendy incorporation of vintage reclaimed barn wood has been arguably the most coveted accent to any home design project for the past few years. Revered for both its charm and versatility, the allure of these solid, weathered, one-of-a-kind beams is not only desirable from a structural perspective (think about it: the wood has had decades of elemental exposure to do all the warping, splitting and fading that it’s ever going to do), but as a conversation piece it offers a sense of pride in ownership when discussing the history and intrigue behind where a certain lot of wood came


Photos by Ann Coen For years, and under the shadow of the lighthouse, LBI denizens could find the iconic Rick’s American Cafe – though usually they’d find it after dark. Reminiscent of its namesake – the main setting of Casablanca—it was not, though you may have encountered a brawl or two worthy of a blockbuster on any given evening. Known for its blackened sea bass, cold beer, live music, and even livelier crowds, Rick’s was famous (and sometimes infamous) amongst locals. Today, what stands in its place is the opposite of the dark, nicotine-stained walls you’d expect from a traditional waterfront watering hole. The Daymark, owned and operated by The Arlington’s Paul and Brian Sabarese, is a

Inspired by Exquisite Landscapes

A morning in the Sabine household begins with an all too familiar scene: a mother of three, unruffled, coffee in hand, packing lunches and getting her older children ready for school. In true mom-fashion, she may even have a toddler on her hip and a golden retriever by her side. But that’s where any similarities of this artist’s life and any other average mom’s ends. While mesmerized by a canvas inside of her home’s very own art studio, Elizabeth Sabine, the woman with a cheerful smile and determined eyes, silently communicates her thoughts, her emotions—the way she perceives the world— with nothing but a bit of paint and coarse bristles. Largely influenced by the impressionist [but also mod

Maximizing Resources

Photos by Stephanie Butchin When Michael Pagnotta began his namesake design and building firm in 1990, he knew that he was on to something. Offering both the services of architecture and construction for homeowners looking to build was a relatively new concept melding two distinctly separate trades—yet combining them was the most effective way to carry out the main goal of all of his clients: maximizing resources while creating the best home possible. “We believe that every client, no matter who they are, have some kind of limited resources with which to complete their home,” points out Pagnotta. And he is right. The three main constraints that are top priority for his clients are time, spac

Custom Coastal Living

Photos by John Martinelli There are many important phases when it comes to the planning, design and building of a custom coastal home. Once the size, structural elements, floorplan and overall design have been carefully determined with respect to your desired lifestyle at the shore, the architectural plans, specifications and allowances are finalized and the actual building process moves forward. Your homebuilder should seamlessly handle the permits, proceed with site preparation and begin the technical aspects of the build. Finally comes the exciting time to make those decisions that will bring your home to life: The stage of homebuilding called ‘the selections process.’ The selections pro

The Shack

Long Beach Island is known for its multimillion-dollar and architecturally significant homes, however, sitting in a marsh along Barnegat Bay, one small, rustic, weather-beaten cabin captured the hearts and imagination of multiple generations of Long Beach Island residents and vacationers -- The Shack. Located off to the right on Eastbound Route 72 as you crossed Bonnet Island, the Shack called out, “Welcome to LBI,” for over 80 years. Photo by Ann Coen From Gunning Club To Symbol of Survival The Shack was an ordinary hunting cabin built sometime in the 1920s. Known as the Happy Day Club, it accommodated duck hunters and provided hunting supplies such as decoys, sodding, and sneak boxes (a u

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