Home 1 — The Bay View Park home
Presentation of Home 1 is sponsored by its builder, Bruce Mears Designer/Builder.
After spending 16 years in a North Bethany oceanview home, this family fell in love with the water views of their friends’ new home in Bay View Park. When the lot next door became available, they jumped at the chance to create a new family retreat with water sports, easy ocean access and stunning views of the bay. The three-level Hamptons-style home was completed in 2019. Clean lines coupled with a soft palette of neutrals and sea-glass blues allow the panoramic views from every room to take center stage. Warm wire-brushed oak floors and upholstered furnishings in subtle patterns and texture create a comfortable understated style.
The lower level includes a family room with expansive glass sliders that lead directly to the patio, pool, hot tub, fire pit and a dock for accessing the family boat, kayaks and paddleboards. A staircase engulfed in light leads to a second-floor foyer with views to the bay through a glass-walled office. All four of the en suite bedrooms on that level enjoy water views, with several connecting directly to exterior decks.
The third floor has an open floorplan anchored by a large chef’s kitchen. Glass sliders lead to a balcony and screened porch topped by a rooftop observation deck. A fifth water-view guest bedroom can be found there as well. Although the beach is just a short walk away, the family has found it hard to leave their new home on Little Assawoman Bay.
Home 2 — The Gay home
After vacationing in Bethany Beach for 25 years, Diane and Bill Gay decided to build and retire to the area, moving from Northern Virginia in 2012. Their four-bedroom, 4.5-bath home is situated on a quiet wooded lot in Middlesex Beach, just a short walk from the beach. It is one of the first homes in the area to be more than 94 percent American-made, using predominantly U.S.-manufactured building materials in order to create more American jobs.
The blue-and-white exterior palette is complemented inside by soft grey walls, white sheers and crisp bed linens, creating a soothing sense of comfort and calm warmed by scraped maple floors. An entry hall filled with intricate wall-mounted Korean wooden screens and carved wooden chests offers hints of the “East meets West” décor throughout the home, marrying artwork and accessories from the couple’s years in the Far East with traditional Americana accents of red and blue.
Distinctive architectural features include local builder Marnie’s signature oversized front door, tall wainscoting, 8-foot panel doors, wide baseboards and distinctive patterned wood floor landings.
Home 3 — The Blazer home
Presentation of Home 3 is sponsored by its builder, Bruce Mears Designer/Builder. Having vacationed in Bethany Beach when their children were young, the Blazer family was eager to build a vacation home that would be a fun place to share with their teenage boys. Architect Scott Edmonston helped them create a sleek contemporary escape with a casual coastal style that was very different from their rustic Mediterranean home in Potomac, Md.
The three-story home is tucked in amidst the pines on a corner lot just over a block from the beach, allowing it to capture ocean views from the upper level lounge. Completed in 2019, the 5,500-square-foot home includes six bedrooms and eight baths. A massive steel-cabled staircase is central to the open layout on the main floor, leading to the boys’ bedrooms and recreation area on the lower level and the master suite and guest rooms on the third floor.
Vivid orange accents appear throughout the home, in the furnishings, textiles, wall coverings and art, offering a warm contrast to the crisp white interior and abundant use of glass. Practical upgrades include integrated electronic control of lighting, window shades, security and audio/visual effects. Flooring throughout the home is sustainable wood-look cork.
Home 4 — The Howard home
Known as the “Lilyflower Cottage,” this cozy 1936 cedar-shake Bethany Beach home still welcomes visitors with an array of lilies, roses and hydrangeas, in tribute to its origins. Purchased by the Howard family in 1964, it has been in the family for five generations of summer vacations.
Frank and Claire Howard bought the home in 1991, renovating it 20 years later as their four adult children began to return with their own families to enjoy summers there. The entire family worked together with Mark Dieste Design Build LLC to ensure that the renovation maintained the original cottage feeling, seamlessly integrating the new open spaces with the old layout and expanding the original footprint to include eight bedrooms and four baths.
Indestructible antique heart pine floors and washable white slipcovers allow the ever-expanding family to relax in a carefree fun setting where “the dogs are welcome, the little ones can play and comfort is key.” The spacious open kitchen is anchored by an expansive marble island designed to bring everyone together to cook, eat and play games while the grandkids busy themselves at the portable in-house putting green. Baskets of whelk shells, soft sea-glass accent colors and sailboat images abound amidst an array of Claire Howard’s prized artwork showcased throughout the home, creating a warm beachy setting designed to continue enticing generations of the Howard family for years to come.
Home 5 — The Anastasi home
Crepe myrtles and hydrangeas combine with the Nantucket-style cedar-shake siding and blue-and-white striped awnings to give this cozy 1969 home a charming facade. Having summered in Rehoboth, Bethany and South Bethany for many years, homeowners Cindy and Danny Anastasi were excited for the chance to renovate an older Bethany Beach cottage ideally located just a block from the ocean and all of the town’s amenities.
Renovations commenced in 2018, with a newly expanded front screened porch, upgraded kitchen and bathrooms, and a realignment of the first-floor layout to provide easier access to the three first-floor bedrooms and backyard grilling deck. The addition of a new second-floor master suite with an adjacent office/exercise loft completed the update, allowing for a quiet retreat for the homeowners.
The home’s eclectic style is beachy and casual, maintaining the original cottage feel with locally sourced art and accessories. The open-concept kitchen/dining/family room allows for easy-flow entertaining out to the family’s favorite gathering spot on the front porch, where they enjoy their prime people-watching spot in the center of town.
Home 6 — The McInnis/Seleznow home
Having lived directly across the street from this 1989 waterfront home for several years, JoAnn McInnis and Eric Seleznow jumped at the chance to purchase it in 2020 and finally enjoy an unfettered view of the Salt Pond. While the “bones were good” and the view spectacular, the 3,400-square-foot home was vintage 1980s and was definitely in need of an update. Just as COVID arrived, the homeowners began the renovation process, taking on the task of selecting and purchasing all of the needed materials themselves. Miraculously, everything arrived on schedule.
The design goal was to create a “clean, modern organic feel” with white walls, matte-finished light woods and a consistent palate of soft, warm grey with crisp white and black accents, not unlike their previous home from the 2019 tour. The renovation entailed gutting the kitchen, refinishing the pickled white oak floors and removing the popcorn ceilings, followed by the installation of all new kitchen and bath finishes and fixtures, new door hardware and the addition of a fully-equipped entertainment bar adjacent to the dining and living areas.
The biggest challenge was re-engineering the bulky three-level stairs with a modern cable rail system to complement the lighter open contemporary style. The highlight of the home is the 300-degree span of glass panels and sliders that surround the living area, with the water and marsh views that the couple had been yearning for.
Home 7 — The Branda/Reed home
Presentation of Home 7 is sponsored by its architect, David D. Quillen Architecture. Joyce Branda and Stanley Reed found an idyllic spot for their summer home in the Salt Pond, nestled amidst towering pines on a peaceful cove, right next to her sister’s house. Completed in 2018, the five-bedroom, 4.5 bath lakefront home takes full advantage of the verdant water views, becoming a seamless part of the sylvan setting. The home was carefully sited by the architect to flood the front of the house with morning sunlight and the rear of the house with the golden glow of nightly sunsets on the pond.
The curved wall of the entry foyer creates a round welcoming space that is repeated in the dining room’s proscenium-style arched ceiling and in the curved powder room nearby. Bedrooms are purposely modest in size, reserving the primary square footage for communal spaces on the first floor, where a spacious kitchen anchors the open floorplan, allowing wide water views across the rear of the home. Vaulted ceilings in the second-floor rooms create visual interest and depth on the rear exterior façade.
The homeowners made all of the design and décor selections themselves, utilizing local artisans, consignment shops and regional galleries. In tribute to Joyce Branda’s recent retirement from her legal career, and Stanley Reed’s eventual retirement from his, the architect created a backyard sculpture titled “Lady Justice in Repose,” a reminder to the couple to enjoy their peaceful setting.
Home 8 — The Dekarske/King home
Presentation of Home 8 is sponsored by its architect, Scott Edmonston of SEA Studio Architects.
This contemporary vacation home, built in 2018, is tucked into a quiet cove on White Creek, where it enjoys sweeping waterfront views from every room and boasts sustainable environmentally-friendly construction. The homeowner grew up spending summers in the area and jumped at the previous owner’s desire to sell the spot to someone who appreciated it as much as he did.
Oversized floor-to-ceiling glass sliders maximize the views in the main living area, while a dramatic exposed wood ceiling adds depth and character to the modern coastal decor. Two guest rooms with water views and a connecting bath complete the first floor. A dramatic floating cable-and-wood stairway rises to an upper-level office and master suite with expansive water views, sleek custom cabinetry, a spa-like master bath and a spacious deck for capturing evening sunsets. A lower-level media room provides access to a screen porch for casual dining and outdoor waterfront recreation.
Home 9 — The Sea Del home
Nestled in the dunes of North Bethany, this 2015 stucco-clad cube is flanked on its western front by a soaring elevator tower paired with a shaft of horizontal wood slats that mirror the home’s slatted wood undercarriage, creating a dynamic geometry of linear contrasts. The attention to detail that is the hallmark of renowned D.C. architect Robert Gurney and local design/builder Bruce Mears combined to create this five-bedroom modern home whose contemporary design boasts extreme linear precision, with every screw and grout line in perfect alignment.
Gurney’s signature style incorporates a vibrant interaction of light, form, texture and geometry that is evident in the balance of horizontal and vertical lines. The simplicity of crisp white walls and oversized black-framed glass panel windows and doors allows the panoramic ocean views on every floor to take center stage, flooding the space with natural light. Reclaimed walnut floors add warmth, while pops of bright red, yellow, blue and orange enliven the art and soft textural furnishings.
The emphasis on a minimalist aesthetic requires an abundance of built-in storage to minimize clutter, especially in the bedrooms, where banks of sleek closets take the place of traditional dressers. Typical of modern styling, baseboards are recessed and windows are trimless, with remote-controlled shades in the place of traditional window treatments. The homeowners now enjoy gathering regularly with family and friends in their oceanfront escape, cooking together in the open-air kitchen with the glass sliders wide open to the sea breezes and breathtaking water views.
Home 10 — The Sea Break home
Presentation of Home 10 is sponsored by its decorator, Gail Lednum of Creative Concepts Furniture. Although the homeowners hail from New Jersey, the family has vacationed in the Bethany area for many years. In 2018, they bought an older oceanfront home, but — wanting more light and better views of the ocean — they decided to rebuild an energy-efficient home that maximized the footprint on the lot and showcased the ocean views. Construction and interior design of the 5,770-square-foot home was completed by Marnie Custom Homes in June 2020.
A dramatic exposed-tread staircase with towering windows links the four distinct levels of the home. The ground-floor entry opens to a beachfront recreation room complete with ping-pong table, TV lounge, exercise room, fully-equipped bar and beach prep room filled with drinks, ice, snacks, towels and hats. The main floor includes a spacious great room, kitchen, dining room, screen porch and deck, all offering panoramic views of the ocean and a relaxed coastal elegance with easy-care surfaces and engineered wood floors. The home features natural fibers, old-wood accents and comfortable furnishings in a neutral palette.
Five en suite guest bedrooms occupy the third floor, while a private primary suite and adjacent office space with breathtaking ocean views fills the fourth level. Oval accent windows appear on each level and feature a diamond-shaped insert that is repeated in other design elements throughout the home.