It’s a classic beach house, with ocean views, resort-like grounds, and room for multiple generations. (Photos by Joe Polillio)
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Ann and Mark Baiada’s Avalon home is a quintessential beach house. It’s a constant gathering spot for the couple and their five grown children, and their children’s children—five grandkids total—all of whom live within 30 minutes of each other in and around Moorestown. Despite their proximity, life gets in the way, says Ann, and they don’t see each other back home nearly as much as they do at the Shore. “It’s the reason we bought the house,” says Ann. “It’s terrific family time.”
As frequent summer renters on the Shore, including Avalon, the Baiadas knew this house and its previous owners. When they heard it was for sale, Ann and her daughters convinced Mark to buy it. “One daughter said, ‘Can’t you just hear the little ones’ feet pattering around the house?’ and that just clinched the deal for Mark,” explains Ann.
The 100-year-old Victorian has a rich history, recorded, in part, by the New Jersey Historical Commission. The land was sold in 1892 to a local woman for one dollar, who then sold it to a Philadelphia businessman in 1900. He built a fishing cottage—the original structure—which was completed in 1910. With an elevation of 12 feet, it is still the highest house in Avalon—with views of Townsend’s Inlet and the ocean. It has withstood a century’s worth of storms without damage. Since 1952 the house has changed owners ten times. When the Baiadas took possession in December 1999, they set about renovating and adding on, taking care to maintain the integrity of the original structure. In fact, the house still has its original period millwork and two terra cotta fireplaces.
The Baiadas have added four bathrooms, a great room, the master bedroom suite, and a laundry room. “That was phase one,” says Ann. The house sleeps 25 comfortably in nine bedrooms. There’s even an apartment with a kitchen and sitting room.
After construction, Ann brought in interior designer Grace Kelly. “We tried to blend the new with the old, keeping the Victorian feel of the house,” says Kelly. “It had to be airy and welcoming.”
Once furnished, Ann and Grace hired decorative painter Jan De See to create whimsical scenes throughout the house. A favorite is a large, lifelike mural in the upstairs hallway that features the likenesses of all five children walking along a beach path. Ann also had Jan paint the room names above the doorway of each bedroom. “People used to tease us that it was like a bed and breakfast,” says Ann. “Someone said we ought to name the rooms. It started as a joke. It was just for fun, but now we call the rooms by their names.”
Phase two, as Ann calls it, was completed last summer—the pool and patio renovation and the addition of an outdoor kitchen in an open-air pool house, complete with flat-screen TV. “It’s now the destination for everyone,” says Ann.
And phase three? “We’re done,” Ann claims, while admitting a desire to convert a cottage near the pool into a cabana with a jukebox, game tables, and sleeping quarters for ten. “It’ll be nice for the grandchildren. I picture all the little cousins out there.”
Interior design: Grace Kelly, Grace Kelly Designs, Diamond Beach; 609-846-1705.
Decorative painter: Jan De See, Hawthorne; 973-427-2131.
Builder: Mike Conway Builders, Cape May Courthouse; firstname.lastname@example.org
Design/build/construction: JBH Home Improvements; 732-736-6936.
Electrical: JP Hare Electric; 732-608-3811.
Architect: Jim McGillin, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania; 610-664-6577. Architect of porch and outdoor kitchen: Olivieri, Shousky and Kiss, Collingswood; 856-854-0580.
Seamstress (window treatments, bedding): Eileen Cuzzupi, Fabric Works, Merchantville; 856-488-0733.
Landscaping: Coastal Landscaping, Rio Grande; 609-886-8295.
Pool: Avalon Pools, Avalon; 609-368-7117.
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