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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.
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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.”

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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!”

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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.”

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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 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.

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