For a family that loves to say “Anchors aweigh!”, Mantoloking was the destination of choice, not only for boat docking, but for the waterfront retreat itself. And an Essex Fells couple with two daughters knew how to make the most of that location, with a beach-house renovation centered on good times with family and friends.
This family hates to leave anyone off the guest list—and they entertain often, so their outdated one-floor ranch needed more than just a fresh look. The mission? Expand to a two-story beach house and introduce a style grand enough to rival even a brilliant sunset over the water, as seen through the generous front windows.
Enter the design team of Julio Botero of WL Kitchen & Home in Lodi and Robert Wilson of Robert Wilson Interior Design for Zaksons in Brick.
“The focus of the whole thing is entertaining,” says Botero of the 2018 reno. “They wanted something modern, but elegant and a classic look. They still wanted something with character.”
Warm and rich, the stained white-oak cabinetry, designed and handcrafted by WL Kitchen & Home, makes just the right impression. With an oversized island that anchors the space, the cabinetry is a focal point; it provides contrast for an array of soothing whites. The wood tones tastefully rein in the white palette that includes quartz countertops, a middle cabinet section and a backsplash of large subway tile.
“They didn’t want to make the whole thing too busy,” Botero says of the mellow backsplash between two towers—one a wood-toned SubZero refrigerator, the other an oven and microwave. (This kitchen can feed the proverbial army.)
Look to the details for what Botero calls another “statement”: the icebox hardware, a vintage accent in brass and chrome. “That’s a popular look in cabinetry,” adds fellow designer Wilson.
Because Wilson appreciates the value of natural materials, wood was a must for the floors: a walnut-stained, quarter-sawn white oak that does not compete with the cabinets’ similar stain.
Much more than eye candy, this kitchen stands out as a chef ’s functional facility in every way, from the butcher-block island end sections—perfect for hors d’oeuvres—to the top-of-the-line appliances, such as the 48-inch Wolf stove with two ovens.
There’s even a temp-controlled, light-up wine cellar with a metal-and-glass door, making good use of space under the stairs. The homeowners are wine collectors, Botero explains: “They wanted to have a good-sized wine cellar to have a good selection of wine next to the kitchen.”
In the dining room, beside windows maxed “to bring the outside in,” there’s always room for one more at the cerused oak table, where rope-backed chairs exude New Jersey beach style, says Wilson. A blackened-iron extended lantern illuminates the scene, while photographic art offers a touch of blue, one of the home’s accent hues.
With so many conveniences ingrained in this design, from a stove-side pot filler to easy-access silverware drawers, parties are never pressured. The owners “are very relaxed people, and they love to be comfortable,” says Wilson. Surely their guests will catch this spirit too, as the couple’s getaway truly lets the good times roll.
Text by Donna Rolando
Design by Julio Botero and Robert Wilson
Photography by Julian Buitrago