It’s one of the hottest tickets in the area each summer, as lovers of beautiful homes and coastal décor take advantage of the rare opportunity to enter into otherwise private abodes, and see some of the best and most beautiful of the area’s dwellings.
The 15th Annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour — set this year for Wednesday and Thursday, July 26 and 27 — will open the doors to 10 of coastal Delaware’s finest residences from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. each of the two days, where tour-goers will have the opportunity to explore their floorplans, get a glimpse of spectacular views of bay and ocean, pick up some decorating inspiration and generally imagine “what if.”
And — beyond the feast for the eyes and imagination — it’s all for a good cause. The proceeds from the event, sponsored by the Friends of the South Coastal Library, a volunteer fund-raising group, will support the much-anticipated expansion of the library, which is located at 43 Kent Avenue in Bethany Beach. In support of that cause, Gov. Ruth Ann Minner is once again serving as honorary chairwoman of the popular summer event.
Just as the views over the area’s natural wonders are many and varied, so too will tour-goers again have the opportunity to see reflected a variety of styles in architecture and furnishings. That should mean something to appeal to everyone who embarks on the once-yearly chance to take a peek inside.
“Tourgoers … will visit oceanside, bayside, canal-front and lakefront homes, as well as some in interesting inland locations,” Friends member and tour coordinator Joan Gordon promised.
That means participants can revel in the exciting angles of the lakefront home of Lannis Dubois and Cherrie Rich on Lake Bethany, take in the quiet coastal feel of the Gregg house in Bay Colony, visit the new conservatory in the restored historic Athan Dugdale home in Ocean View, revisit fond family memories in the Salt Pond home of the Anfinsons, pick up decorating tips from professional decorator/owner Rose Ann Spinosa in South Shore Marina or enjoy the marked sense of well-being for which the Marsilii house in Ocean Ridge West is known. And that’s just to name a few.
Depending on their schedules and desire, visitors may go through the 10 featured homes all in one day or over the two days of the tour. That will allow them to savor each stop on the tour across the two days or to get in a quicker visit to each home in a single day, if they so wish. The tour program — which serves as the ticket — describes each of the homes and where it is located, allowing tourgoers to decide what order they want to create for their own customized tour. They can select their itinerary by location or theme, or just blow with the summer breezes.
Though the tour traditionally sells out before it unfolds each year, a limited number of tickets, at $25 each, were still available at locations around the area early this week. Those locations include the South Coastal Library itself, as well as at the Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce near Fenwick Island; Japanesque, Perfect Furnishings, Rose Garden and Sea Needles in Bethany Beach; at McCabe’s in South Bethany; at Carolina Street and Southern Exposure in Fenwick Island; and at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach.
Any tickets remaining on the days of the tour themselves will be available only at the South Coastal Library, Gordon noted.
But there’s more to the price of admission than just a ticket.
A special tour tote bag with copies ChesapeakeHome and Delaware Beach Life magazines will go to each participant, along with the program booklet. And surgical booties donated by Beebe Medical Center will help keep sand and soil off all those beautiful rugs and floors. (Children under 12 and babies are also not permitted in the homes during the tour.)
And once tourgoers depart the featured homes, there could be more treats awaiting them, for, in conjunction with the tour, the Friends group always incorporates two raffles.
Gordon said the popular “Dinner for Two” raffle this year offers winners a chance to dine at The Den at Bear Trap Dunes, DiFebo’s, Magnolia’s, Oak Arbor Inn, the Parkway Restaurant or Sedona.
“For this year’s Special Art Raffle, we are fortunate to be offering pieces of artwork from Roseann Cialella, Aubre Duncan, Carol Dyer, Dorothy Harrison-Braun and Laura Hickman,” Gordon added.
Tickets for either raffle (or both) cost $1 each or $5 for six. They are available at the library now and will be sold at selected houses on the days of the tour. Special tour T-shirts are also available for $10, with the proceeds again going to the support of the library and its planned expansion.
House #1: Dubois/Rich House, 939 Lake View Drive, Lake Bethany
Beautifully positioned and nestled on the shore of Lake Bethany, the home of Lanis Dubois and Cherrie Rich is an idyllic setting for the gathering of friends and relatives. The house was recently renovated in 2005 to take full advantage of the natural beauty of the setting and the charm and tranquility of the community. The end result is a vision come true — a dramatic, fresh, year-round residence with high ceilings, exciting angles, geometric nuances and stunning lake views. Every day seems like a vacation to the owners and their guests.
House #2: Gregg House, 29765 Sawmill Drive, Bay Colony
Completed at the end of 2004, the home of Donna Gregg is the perfect gathering spot to slow down — way down. The style of the home is a creation blending beach elements of the South Carolina Low Country, the Florida Keys, Nantucket and the Delaware beaches. The interior walls are painted a pale moon yellow with a flow of coordinated lively, warm colors in the wallpaper, drapery, furniture and throw pillows. As you approach, breathe deeply and get ready to take in the essence of resort living.
House #3: Cangianelli House, 34425 Quail Lane, Bay Colony
Sitting opposite the community marina, the home of Jeanne and Leo Cangianelli is a “fun, comfy, beach house where our family and guests can kick back and relax,” to quote the owners. Furnishings, collections and color schemes are tasteful, vivid and sophisticated with a subtle mix of old and new, traditional and unexpected. Among other things, Jeanne collects antique and some modern bamboo pieces and the home is filled with exquisite examples.
House #4: Athan Dugdale House, 17 Central Avenue, Ocean View
Surrounded by majestic trees in the quaint town of Ocean View, this historic restored home was originally built by Sea Captain George W. West in 1883. Jean Athan Dugdale, present owner, fell in love with this enduring beauty almost at first sight. She purchased the home in 2003, began the renovation and modernization process in 2004 and added the master suite and the English conservatory in 2005. William Morris’ wallpaper designed for houses of this period, skilled craftsmanship and a devotion to artistic excellence are featured.
House #5: Taylor House, 430 Canal Way West, Salt Pond
Situated on the Assawoman Canal in the Salt Pond community, the residence of Karen Taylor and Louis Herndon is spectacularly furnished with sumptuous designer fabrics, window treatments, wallpaper, pillows, colors and accessories. The color palette throughout is friendly and French in feeling. The house, like many waterfront homes, has an inverted floor plan with the main living space on the top level. Departing, walk out to the canal and turn to see the surprise on the back of the house.
The home of Lawrene and Thomas Anfinson is a reflection of the memories gleaned from visits to their grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ homes. Comfortable décor, the use of primary colors and family treasures and heirlooms are noteworthy. Almost every family heirloom, including wedding gifts, presidential letters, black and white photos, toys, artwork and baseball memorabilia, has a story behind it. There is a wonderful sense of history and family members and visitors alike are reminded of the Anfinsons’ California and Norwegian heritage.
House #7: Feulner House, 7 Kittywake Road, Ocean Village
The home of Linda and Ed Feulner is a coastal oasis where family and friends can come and relax and enjoy themselves in the beauty of the beach. Built specifically with extra wide hallways, extra high ceilings, expansive windows and well proportioned living spaces, the Feulner residence feels open, airy and in touch with its natural surroundings. The predominant hue throughout the home is that of the beach and sand, with brilliant splashes of blues throughout.
House #8: Spinosa House, 37 Inlet View Court, South Shore Marina
Even before this spectacular beach home was completed, Rose Ann and Patrick Spinosa felt that they had definitely found the perfect location to gather beautiful memories with their children and grandchildren. The Spinosas wanted a home that had a European flair and special touches, such as a grand spiral staircase, balustrades on the decks and water views in every room. An interior decorator with 23 years experience, Rose Ann designed the concept for the floor plan and had the entire home decorated in her mind before the first piling was driven.
House #9: Stone House, 12 South Shore Drive, South Shore Marina
Occupying a wonderful vantage point, the home of Susan and Bob Stone has breathtaking, 360 degree views of the Indian River Bay and Inlet. Rich mahogany planking floors, magnificent faux painted walls and a collection of Will Barnet serigraphs are featured. The second level, with its open floorplan and wondrous views, is the primary living and entertaining area. While on this level, don’t miss the Harbor Master Office, so named because of its prominent location and commanding views of the water.
House #10: Marsilii House, 305 Le Pointe Drive, Ocean Ridge West
As you walk through the lovely home of Regina Marsilii, there is a sense of calm and well-being. Shades of sand abound and flow from room to room, level to level. One living area leads gently to the next. Special memories connected to the house include working closely with her husband in the planning, designing and construction of their home in August 2000. The combined dining and kitchen areas were specifically constructed to accommodate large Marsilii family gatherings and food preparation as the owner and her children are gourmet cooks.
House #6: Anfinson House, 414 Canal Way East, Salt Pond
The homes for the 2006 tour are described as follows: