Sometimes word-of-mouth spreads faster than a designer can even imagine. Take the case of Marnie Oursler’s South Bethany clients: “We first met this client by referral from their co-worker who had just started the building process with us on an oceanfront home down the street,” says Oursler, president of Marnie Custom Homes.
For the more recent clients, the company delivered a 2,900-square-foot coastal contemporary home that sits just one house from the beach. “This particular build—we call it Double the Fun—is a second home for our clients,” Oursler says. “But unlike many of our homeowners with second homes, these clients will be living here half of the year, so they wanted a home that worked for their lifestyle and not just for entertaining beach house guests.”
“This particular build—we call it Double the Fun—is a second home for our clients.”
As such, the homeowners didn’t want the four-bedroom, four-bathroom house (it also contains two half baths) to feel too “beachy” or nautical; they were after a more transitional style—a more permanent quality. The façade—a white and sand mix of glass walls, boxlike stacked elements and shingles—feels architecturally thoughtful and bold, more like a home base than a seasonal hideaway.
“It has a traditional cedar exterior with a modern twist,” Oursler explains. “We used NuCedar siding in Worldly Gray, which gives the appearance of cedar without the maintenance, and it comes pre-finished in 18 colors or hundreds of custom colors from Sherwin-Williams.”
The shingle style is uniquely American, closely identified with the Hamptons and the Cape Cod area. “Traditional shingle-style homes are distinguished by their wood cladding, asymmetrical façades, gambrel roofs and welcoming verandas,” Oursler says. “Here, we added a more contemporary twist to this historical aesthetic by adding black windows, neutral trim, cable railings, modern light fixtures and a glass door.”
The builder notes that most shingle-style houses tend to be sprawling, wide homes, but this particular location and lot required a rethink: “The ‘stacked’ nature of this house refers to the reversal of the home’s mass from horizontal width of the traditional shingle style to the vertical height, which is required at the beach to maximize living space and ocean views.” An elevator was installed to manage the height of the structure.
The home’s amenities make the most of the coastal location, with two outdoor showers, a screened-in porch, and a rooftop deck featuring ocean views and a fire pit. The deck’s cable rail is a contemporary element that works well in this home, as it doesn’t block the ocean view.
If indoor-outdoor living isn’t often associated with tall structures, Oursler came up with inventive solutions: “We capitalized on the northeast view by designing the screened-in porch directly under the rooftop deck. Large glass pocket doors lead into the main living area where our homeowners wanted a true indoor/outdoor living space. Don’t feel like walking up to the rooftop? New for this home, we installed a Phantom screen, which allows the screen to retract with the touch of a button.”
Related: Ocean Views Abound Throughout This Custom Bethany Beach Home