Coming Home: The New Kitchen Comes First

After Sandy filled their home with two feet of water, a Brick Township couple underwent major renovations to restore what was lost.

Brick Township Home
Ruthanne and Stephen Scaturro, with their two rescue dogs, in the living room alongside their new stairway.
Photo by Laura Moss.

As manager of showrooms for Ferguson Enterprises, the giant kitchen, bath, lighting and appliance gallery, Ruthanne Scaturro has helped countless people with kitchen and bath design. In need of a new kitchen after the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, she became her own worst customer—unable to make up her mind about the layout, the cabinets, fixtures and appliances.

Ruthanne and her husband, Stephen, who live on a lagoon in Brick Township in the low-lying area of Shore Acres, rode out the storm at home. “We thought we were smarter than the average bear,” Ruthanne jokes. Not so. Sandy filled their lower level with more than two feet of water, trapping them on the second floor.

“We watched the water go over the outlets, over the heating ducts,” she says. “We looked down and saw water rushing in through the back door, out the front door.” When they finally came downstairs 24 hours later, they found their furniture afloat, debris everywhere and three swamped cars.

One month later, in a house that no longer had a staircase—it was saturated and removed along with soaked walls and floors—Stephen took a ladder up to the second floor to retrieve insurance papers. When climbing down, he slipped and fell to the first floor, fracturing his spine. These days, he’s feeling “about 98 percent” and has returned to his work as director of the department of consumer affairs in Ocean County. He’s busier than ever, making sure contractors are registered and keeping an eye out for fraudulent businesses that might prey on Sandy victims.

Ruthanne was the obvious candidate to plan their kitchen. “I can help a customer pick out something in a flash,” she says, “but I was horrible, completely indecisive.” Ferguson’s Lakewood showroom (one of 18 locations in New Jersey) has been swamped. “People were buying refrigerators like they were candy,” she says. “We’ve done 200 to 300 kitchens and baths already, with many, many more on the horizon.”

Working with a $25,000 advance from their insurance company, the Scaturros replaced the staircase and damaged floors and walls. Ruthanne changed the kitchen layout to accommodate family dinners—the couple has six children and eight grandchildren—and outdoor entertaining. She chose an Electrolux Icon six-burner cooktop, double-wall oven and range hood, and called in kitchen expert, Dave McKendrick, whose company, Cabitron, handcrafted the cabinets to a furniture-finish.

The Scaturros moved back home in late March. “I was hoping to serve Easter dinner,” Ruthanne says, “I didn’t quite make it. But definitely Thanksgiving.”

Ferguson Enterprises, Lakewood, 732-905-1000; Andrew Braverman, KMF Construction, Livingston, 732-672-7010; Dave McKendrick, Cabitron Kitchen and Bath, Manalapan, 732-536-1111; Pemco Electric, Toms River, 732-341-8014; RYMAR Mechanical, Point Pleasant, 732-892-7626

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