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, and has first-hand knowledge of how design trends and coastal style have evolved in tandem with the island’s development—and what’s stayed the same throughout generations.
“Today beach décor is all about having a fun outlet for self-expression,” says Bobby Huber, Jr., a fourth-generation member of the family business. “Before, we couldn’t be as creative as we are today with the colors, fabrics, and all the improved technology that is being offered in the fabric industry.”
While he notes that the colors commonly used in upholstery and fabric remain reminiscent of sand, sea, and sky, bright accents are also becoming more popular than they were in previous years. Bobby explains, “Today, people want to have more fun! This isn’t their main house—it’s an escape from reality. They just want to put on their flip-flops, crack open a beer, and enjoy the salty air.”
Thankfully, the salty air and other elements are no match for the durability of new fabrics commonly found in beach-home furniture today. “You want to relax and enjoy the sunset but know that your furniture is able to take the blows of crazy kids, grandkids, and pets,” says Bobby. Fabrics such as Sunbrella, Crypton, and other “life-proof” textiles that are resistant to rain and UV-damage have seen a rise in popularity, as have pieces that can be easily customized to fit a customer’s exact vision.
That flexibility is at the core of Oskar Huber’s customer-focused mentality. “Our merchandising is always evolving and we are focused on fulfilling their every design need,” explains Bob Huber, Bobby’s father and co-president along with Ron and Don Huber. “Our accessory merchandiser has her finger on the pulse of the marketplace, is always surprising us with new shipments of her latest finds, and is always on top of what is trending.”
Speaking of trending, “Gray is the new beige (for wood finishes),” explains Bobby. “We have this beautiful new driftwood gray finish that really pays homage to the sea and has taken the LBI-market by storm.” That’s a far cry from now dated-looking wicker and rattan, and the “crate furniture” that Oskar Huber sold thousands of pieces of years ago.
Another trend that has risen in popularity amongst Oskar Huber are unique, or even one-of-a-kind statement pieces. “We have seen an increase in higher-priced accents and home décor than ever before,” says Bobby. “These items are pieces of art. They have a story to them and are conversation pieces that become the gems of people’s homes.”
And while trends may come and go, the reason behind putting thoughtful care into designing your perfect beach home remains the same throughout the years. “Those who own homes on LBI—whether it’s their primary or secondary home or their rental property—don’t want to sacrifice comfort and life’s small pleasures,” says Bobby. “They want to be able to escape life’s chaos and relax while sitting under the sun—we just provide you with the seat.”