Cottage 1 – the Heiden home
Tracy and Clint Heiden had vacationed with their four kids at her parents’ Ocean City, Md., condo for years but longed for a family home they could call their own. When they discovered the aging 1905 Drexler cottage in Bethany Beach, they were intrigued by its history. The house had been owned for generations by the family of former state Sen. Louis Drexler and had operated as a bed-and-breakfast for some time.
Despite the heavy toll the years had taken on the home, they saw great potential and jumped at the chance to buy and restore the diamond-in-the-rough to its original charm. Beginning in March 2016, Tracy Heiden, acting as the general contractor, worked with builder Shay Gallo to complete the exterior and interior transformation in just six months.
The goal throughout the process was to retain as much of the five-bedroom home’s original character as possible and to enhance its charm with appropriate upgrades and cosmetic improvements. The original dark cherry tongue-and-groove walls and ceilings now shine with multiple coats of white paint that highlight architectural details, as well as their quirky imperfections.
The choice of a bold navy exterior paint led to a subtle Americana décor and a new name for the house: “Blue Haven.” The home was originally oceanfront but has been moved three times over the years, now resting just 80 steps from the ocean and one block from town. The Heidens said they enjoy watching the daily parade of summer visitors passing their front porch and love experiencing small-town living.
This warm and inviting home reflects a new generation who cherish its history and are committed to preserving it for the future.
Cottage 2 — the Kloster home
Lisa and Tom Kloster call their newly constructed five-bedroom beach house “It’s About Time” because it took them 20 years of renting in Bethany and talking about purchasing before they finally took the plunge in 2015. The three-story home is just a block away from the beach and the center of town, offering easy access to everything they’ve always enjoyed there.
Their goal was to build a warm and inviting home with a coastal-chic, understated elegance that was tasteful, timeless and comfortable.
Lisa Kloster has done most of the interior furnishing herself, calling her design aesthetic “tonal textural design.” Custom window seats, suspended beds, distinctive tile applications and dramatic lighting all showcase her knack for creating one unique focal point in every room. Her style is punctuated by custom chandeliers, pendants and sconces that add an elegant sparkle to the layers of warm white, taupe and soft subtle blues that evoke the ocean nearby.
Weathered wood inlays between the great-room columns lend architectural definition to the open floor plan and can also be found adding background interest to the master bedroom. Weathered wood appears again in the beamed vaulted ceiling at the top of the front stairs, highlighting the dramatic twig chandelier tucked into the turret and creating a perfect spot for relaxation with a view of the ocean.
Cottage 3 — the McCord home
Mike and Kathy McCord had been searching for a vacation home on the New Jersey shore for several years, but they couldn’t seem to find just the right one. After a friend recommended they look in Bethany, Kathy McCord found this newly completed home in 2016 and knew immediately it was perfect for their active family. She brought her husband, Mike, and one of their sons to look at several properties, never revealing which home she had chosen. As soon as her son walked into this home, he said, “Oh, Mom — this is it!” And it was.
The five-bedroom, 5.5-bath beach home is located on the historic Loop Canal, just 1.5 blocks from the ocean and two blocks from downtown Bethany. The location fulfills the family’s desire to have easy access to all the recreational activities the area has to offer, including kayaking right out their back door.
The design features a spacious main living area on the upper level, anchored by a central kitchen that is infused with natural light and provides plenty of space for their large extended family to gather both inside and out for meals and conversation. Warm pinewood floors and a stone-faced gas fireplace keep it cozy, while teal accents and plantation shutters complete the coastal cottage appeal.
Cottage 4 — the Madigan home
As former Sea Colony owners, Maria and Mark Madigan had many fond memories of family vacations in Bethany when their children were young. After several years’ absence, they were ready to return to build new memories in Bethany with their three adult kids. Their long search for a lot within walking distance of the beach, and with enough space for a pool, was finally successful. Overlooking the town’s iconic “totem pole,” their new 3,200-square-foot home is close enough to the ocean to be dubbed “Bethany Breeze.”
The heated backyard pool, adjacent to the fully-outfitted family pub, is embellished with custom tilework and is guarded by a friendly mermaid. The interior décor is a warm blend of traditional and contemporary coastal styles accented with tropical artistic touches from Maria Madigan, a talented graphic artist.
Her goal was to create an oasis of calm, with shades of coastal blue, to soothe her busy family when they escape the stresses of the family business back in Virginia. They now look forward to creating new memories in the town they loved so long ago.
Cottage 5 — the Eng home
Years of vacation visits to the Delaware shore led upstate New Yorkers Janine and Wing Eng and their two kids to Bethany Beach, where they found that the happiness level and ready access to the ocean made for the perfect spot to re-create an updated version of their original California surf shack from years ago. Connecting with a builder and architect who shared Wing Eng’s longtime love of surfing made for a perfect alliance.
They opted for a modest three-bedroom, three-bath home of 2,500 square feet, where the spaces are functional and efficient, and are distinguished by interesting interior nooks and pleasing exterior roof lines. An open floorplan with plenty of windows bathes the space in natural light, keeping it bright and airy, despite the northern exposure and wooded neighborhood.
Bright green shakes on the chimney hint at the colorful touches that permeate the design and décor inside. Soft gray walls serve as a neutral backdrop for fun pops of color seen in the mustard-yellow pocket doors, green kitchen tile and multicolored accessories. Other inventive elements include a fireside hideaway for their beloved yellow Lab and a pair of cozy high-perched lofts that connect their college-age kids’ bedrooms.
Wing Eng is an accomplished amateur woodworker whose creations combine well with Janine Eng’s refurbished found treasures, adding a distinctly artistic touch to their décor. She enjoys balancing his rustic wood elements with an occasional bit of “bling,” as seen in the glass teardrop chandelier in the dining room, chosen to contrast with the bulk of the distressed wood table he created below. Just one year after its completion, the family is finding their new home has fulfilled their longing to always be near the water.
Cottage 6 — the Verger home
After owning a vacation townhome in Bear Trap for 12 years, Judy and Carey Verger built this traditional cedar shake house on White’s Creek in 2014 to be their permanent home upon retirement, as well as a vacation magnet for their three adult children. The house is a spacious 5,000 square feet, boasting six bedrooms, 5.5 baths and 10-foot ceilings, with plenty of space for the extended family to spread out over three floors.
Opportunities for outdoor family fun and relaxation abound, with a screened porch, covered deck, patio, fully-equipped outdoor kitchen, 20-by-38-foot pool and a dock for the family boat. Bringing the outside in was a top priority and led to the multi-level window configuration in the family room, designed by the owners to highlight the stunning water views.
The home’s décor is a true reflection of this family’s history, varied interests and extensive travel and is highlighted by Carey Verger’s impressive carpentry skills, displayed in multiple custom-crafted items throughout the home. Judy Verger’s whimsical collection of pigs can be found tucked in unexpected spots on every floor.
Cottage 7 — the Maher-Hiett home
As Janet Maher and Dan Hiett moved from Arlington, Va., and made the transition to become full-time Bethany residents last year, Maher began the process of transforming their beach home into their permanent residence. Her aim was to keep the home light and airy, but still homey and comfortable, warmed by darker wood tones that reflect their former life, but softened by a palette of blue and tan to reflect their new life at the beach. Treasured heirlooms and antiques blend seamlessly with coastal styling to create the balance she’d planned.
Situated on a corner lot, the four-bedroom home boasts more than 800 square feet of porches and decks and is perfect for handling their two dogs and four active grandsons. A spacious kitchen anchors the home and is flanked by a sunny breakfast nook and a formal dining room. A mudroom, conveniently located off the rear deck, offers a laundry and great storage.
Multiple roof lines, designed to accommodate a side-entry garage, also provide visual interest from every angle on the exterior of the home, with dormers, awning windows and a cupola to add to the charm.
Cottage 8 – the Oursler home
Local builder Marnie Oursler’s dream since college was to live east of Route 1 in North Bethany. She finally made it in 2016, with the construction of her 6,500-square-foot, six-bedroom home in Ocean Village, just a short block from the beach. The house has been filled with family members and friends ever since, and it’s easy to see why.
The inverted floor plan offers plenty of privacy and space for both her and her guests, with a spacious main living area separating their quarters from hers. The master suite tops it all with an ocean-view retreat that includes a fireside sitting room and an expansive marble master bath.
The beach-themed décor is both casual and classic, with references to her new TV show “Big Beach Builds,” which debuted recently on the DIY Network. Fun touches include numbered dining chairs, a scattering of colorful surfboards and a game room with a custom pool table designed by Oursler.
Having grown up in a family of builders that spans four generations, she has honed her skills over time and developed a personal style that is distinguished by design features seen in many of her homes in the area. Signature elements include 8-foot raised-panel bedroom doors, coffered ceilings, sliding barn doors, picture-frame patterned stairwell landings and the use of weathered wood accents — all found in this home and familiar to those who visited her South Bethany home on the 2013 tour.
Cottage 9 — Camp Bobb (Jodi Macklin, Daryle Bobb, Tammy Mendelson)
After 25 years of shared vacations in Breakwater Beach, the extended family of Sandy and Stanley Bobb had grown to 20, and their 1992 oceanfront beach house was bursting at the seams. At that point, the Bobbs passed the baton to the next generation, to tackle the task of rebuilding their beloved beach retreat, affectionately known as “Camp Bobb.”
The new 7,100-square-foot home resembles a contemporary two-story farmhouse and is designed to comfortably sleep 28, with 10 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms. A wide, light-filled vaulted entry, straddled by two guest wings, leads to the spacious main gathering area where, on any given weekend, all three generations can be found enjoying the kitchen, dining and living room that span the rear of the house. Folding glass doors offer the option to completely open that area to the screened porch, seamlessly expanding the living space and panoramic ocean views dramatically.
Upstairs, three oceanfront master bedroom suites accommodate the Bobbs’ three adult children, while they enjoy their own master suite near their grandkids’ two bunkbed suites. To keep things simple, all 11 bathrooms sport the same penny tile floors, distinguished only by a different color tile in each room. The décor is clean and simple with an emphasis on low maintenance, comfort and indestructibility, so that the family can focus on continuing the fun family traditions begun at “Camp Bobb” so many years ago.
Cottage 10 — the Deutsch home
After vacationing in North Bethany for more than 20 years, the need for more space for their growing multi-generational family led Judith and Daniel Deutsch to this 6,000-square-foot oceanfront home in the quiet enclave of Breakwater Beach. Under the guidance of architect Scott Edmonston, they were able to transform the exterior face with wall-to-wall windows to bring the seaside in from all angles and bathe the soaring spaces in natural light from the towering three-story glass entry stairwell.
The first-floor quarters offer a central lounge fronted by a pair of identical oceanfront master suites and flanked by four additional guest bedrooms with connecting baths.
Decorator Karen Shapiro’s customized decorative effects have created a California beach-house style that is simple, clean and contemporary. Oversized upholstered furnishings floating on a sea of white shag fill the main level upstairs with distinct seating areas that offer multiple opportunities for taking in the commanding ocean views.
Topping it all is an office set into the open rafters that boasts a perfect spot for watching the sunrise on the ocean and the sunset on the bay.