Reimagining a Three-Generation Retreat in Stone Harbor

This family gave their 1980s-era home a fresh start.

Stone Harbor living room window boasts a waterfront view

Storm-resistant windows let the sunshine in and inspire nighttime star gazing. Photo: Jacob Snavely

If you’ve enjoyed the magic of a family getaway to the Jersey Shore, you might agree that the best souvenirs are happy memories made under the summer sun. For the Chung family of Stone Harbor, the Shore is particularly beloved because three generations of family have enjoyed their 1980s-era home located just two minutes from the ocean. But when it became clear that the house no longer met their daily living and entertaining needs, the grown children suggested reimagining the interior. Ultimately, two generations of family members agreed to redesign the home rather than start from scratch.

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Boutique interior-design firm Toledo Geller of Franklin Lakes accepted the project and set out to optimize outdated spaces so this getaway could seamlessly evolve with the years. Designers Virginia Toledo of Sparta and Jessica Geller of Essex Fells melded timeless architectural details with the family’s trendy style.

“This was a unique project because, instead of a knockdown, the homeowner made the best of what the space already offered,” Toledo says. Adds Geller, “Happily, the grown children who had spent many years in their Shore house had a say in the decorating process. Everybody wins because the modern, more subdued design appeals to the younger crowd and the classic style will stand the test of time.”

Foyer in Stone Harbor home has a lavender console

The foyer welcomes guests with a lavender console. Photo: Jacob Snavely

The designers honored their client’s late wife by infusing lavender, her favorite color, throughout the home. This happy hue, found on an eye-catching lacquered console table, welcomes guests to the foyer. As a nod to the Jersey Shore setting, nautical-inspired shiplap paneling was installed on several walls, and an architectural keystone was added to an entrance wall, along with salvaged pieces of vintage seashell as a backsplash.

Stone Harbor kitchen shows off blue cabinetry

An 80s-era kitchen turns hip with blue cabinetry, modern lighting, neutral wood and an oversized island with stools. Photo: Jacob Snavely

A spacious kitchen wows with dusty-blue cabinetry, mod pendant lighting, neutral wood accents and dramatic vaulted ceilings that were updated with decorative beams. The sink and island have been repositioned to maximize the breathtaking ocean view. “Our family is so pleased with the new design,” says homeowner Young Chung. “It is a calm, joyful place to spend quality time. We especially appreciate the kitchen, where we bake cakes and make ice cream to celebrate the summer birthdays in our family.”

Stone Harbor bedroom outfitted in mid-century furnishings

Bedrooms are outfitted in mid-century furnishings. Photo: Jacob Snavely

Adjacent to the kitchen, sofas and chairs in a monochromatic mashup of textures round out the lounging area. One of the family’s top requests was to revamp the floor plan to optimize views and add a second bedroom on the main floor. Doing so brought the bedroom tally up to six, enabling more guests to visit the beach retreat. One large and one small bedroom evolved into two roomy suites, each outfitted with mid-century-modern furnishings and casual cotton, linen and seersucker bedding. Beachy-green and blush-pink hues in the adjoining bathrooms add a calming, spa-like vibe.

Stone Harbor living room has an open, airy floor plan

An open, airy floor plan offers plenty of room for multiple family members to simultaneously cook, dine, watch television and work at their laptops. Photo: Jacob Snavely

These days, the freshly redesigned beachside getaway serves as party central. Although family members go their separate ways as they travel extensively every year, all three generations reunite each summer in Stone Harbor to create new memories in the sand and surf.

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