A New House With Old Charm

It was built in 2007, but this New Jersey home has the look of a century-old beach cottage, thanks to some good old-fashioned design moves. HGTV Magazine shows you around.
By: Jessica Dodell-Feder

©Lucas Allen

©Lucas Allen

©Lucas Allen

©Lucas Allen

©Lucas Allen

©Lucas Allen

©Lucas Allen

©Lucas Allen

©Lucas Allen

©Lucas Allen

©Lucas Allen

©Lucas Allen

©Lucas Allen

©Lucas Allen

©Lucas Allen

The Lived-In Look

When most people think of new construction, they probably don’t picture weathered wood floors, 1950s-style appliances, and furniture with chipped paint. But when Sandy Gingras (here with her husband Victor) had the chance to build the home of her dreams on Long Beach Island, NJ, those are just the kinds of features she went for. “I never wanted a house that was elegant or formal,” says Sandy, a writer/illustrator and owner of two local gift shops called How to Live. “I’d much rather be in a place that reminds me of the simple beach cottages I grew up with.”

From the Ground Up

Sandy knocked down the dumpy 1970s house that originally sat on the property, located steps from the water. She had to keep the home’s original foundation because of zoning regulations, so she built upward, spreading 2,000 square feet over five narrow half stories. She hired an architect who specializes in historic beach homes, and stuck to low-maintenance materials in soft colors. “People always assume our house has been around for ages,” says Sandy. “It’s the ultimate compliment!”

Entryway

Look old: Pine floors stained a mix of Puritan Pine and Driftwood by Minwax. Actually old: 100-year-old piano painted Crocodile Dreams by Valspar. “Old things have a sweetness to them,” says Sandy. “I wanted to capture that in my house.”

Living Room

Instead of drywall, the walls are covered with pine planks designed to look like exposed studs. The slipcovered sofa is from Pottery Barn, and the striped rug is from wayfair.com. Although they’re new purchases, they fit right in with the room’s vintage pieces, including the pine coffee table, which was a desk before Sandy cut down the legs.

Living Room

The wicker armchair is from a local furniture shop. The wood clockface by artist Steve Hayden looks old, but it’s not. What’s actually old? Sandy and her dad’s slatted box seats from the original Yankee Stadium, scored for $20, stripped of paint

Exterior

To capture as many views as possible, there are patios off every floor, plus a wraparound deck with seating built by Sandy’s husband, Victor Zielinski. The couple—as well as Sandy’s son, Morgan; his girlfriend, Nicole; and golden retriever, Quincy—find it’s the best place for sunset-gazing.

Exterior

Looks Old: Hand-painted wood signs by various artists and cedar shake siding that has already faded to a silvery gray

Dining Area

Since the only spot for a dining area was just beyond the front entrance, Sandy chose scaled-down furniture. She gave the wood table a coat of cream paint and teamed it with cross-back chairs from Pier 1. The capiz shell chandelier from West Elm does double-duty: “It’s a light, of course, but when we get a good breeze, it also makes the most beautiful-sounding wind chime,” says Sandy.

Dining Area

Actually Old: Salvaged porch post, picked up on a farm in Iowa

Dining Area

Looks Old: Dining table painted cream, then sanded for a weathered look

Kitchen

The kitchen has a distinctly retro feel with white laminate counters, schoolhouse pendants (from Pottery Barn), and a refrigerator and stove (both by Elmira Stove Works) that are new but reminiscent of 1950s-style appliances. To keep the room cheery, Sandy went with chartreuse glass tiles for the backsplash. Vintage glassware and other items that Sandy’s collected stock the open shelves.

Kitchen

The island, which has a 2-inch-thick butcher-block top, is clad in simple pine planks, painted Ultra White by Valspar. The metal shop stools from an industrial furniture company only look old, the nightstand from Sundance Catalog, and the wood and metal art above the bed is from a local artist.

Master Bedroom

Vaulted ceilings and tons of windows make this room a sunny spot to wake up in. The iron bed frame, accented with glass finials, is from Pottery Barn.

Master Bedroom

Sandy originally painted the floors a pristine white, but after a few days, they were covered in footprints. She sanded them down for a weathered look, and “now, you don’t notice a speck of dirt,” she says. The simple wood bench at the foot of the bed I from an antiques store.

Spot the Vintage

Looks old: Vintage-style foldout desk from Ballard Designs. Actually old: Frames made from salvaged wood molding, sold at Sandy’s shop.

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