“It’s not just about the parties,” says architect Warren Bohn, creator of elaborate backyard spaces. “It’s also about spending time with the family, from grandkids to grandma.” So, when called upon to transform the grounds of this Deal summer home, Bohn set out to create a space that would work as a gathering spot for all ages, at all hours of the day.
The project began more than six years ago when the homeowner (who wishes to remain anonymous) asked Bohn, whose architectural firm has offices in Manhattan and Miami, to work his wonders first on the house, then the backyard. The house itself is a 100-year-old grand Victorian. “Our first phase was to reinforce the Victorian charm of the home,” says Bohn. “We brought it back to its romantic roots and updated it with more light.” Once that was accomplished, Bohn and the homeowner turned their attention to the sprawling backyard.
While the bones were good—the pool and tennis court were already there—the 800-pound gorilla was a beat-up former carriage house that towered over everything, becoming the unintentional focal point of the yard. “There was no unity to the space, and that dilapidated carriage house served no purpose,” says Bohn.
Bohn’s concept was to create a unified space with two distinct functions: daytime recreation and nighttime revelry. “It’s breezy and chic during the daytime,” says Bohn, “and sexy and glamorous in the nighttime. It changes personality.”
Working with Deal-based Monmouth Custom Builders, the team remade the old carriage house into an ultra-chic pool cabana complete with a large bar area, DJ booth, upstairs home gym and full bath. The project included two other refreshment cabanas—one off the tennis court and the other off the back deck of the house—as well as the addition of a hot tub, new stone surrounding the pool and dramatic evening lighting.
“The timeline was tight,” says Jon Levy, vice president of Monmouth Custom Builders. “We started in January and had to be completed by Deal’s construction moratorium in June.” (The borough bars construction during the summer months.) The company called in extra manpower to make the deadline, and construction was seamless. “As builders, we love to build things,” continues Levy, “but our favorite thing to do is backyards. This is our favorite backyard.”
The result is a new twist on the good old outdoors. “It was very important that we make the backyard feel contemporary,” says Bohn. “There are no trellises or gazebos. It’s definitely in contrast to the Victorian style of the home.”
Aesthetically, there’s a simple color palette of grey and white, says Bohn, to offset the blue of the sky and the pool, and the green of the coastal landscaping. Furnishings and accessories add an international flair: the furniture is from Spain, the stone from a quarry in China, the zebrawood of the bars from Africa and pool umbrellas from Italy. “The overall effect is you’re transported away from the Jersey Shore to Miami or to the South of France,” continues Bohn.
As for the homeowner, Bohn says, “his pleasure in life is entertaining people. He does it grand, but he does it in a way that’s very warm and wonderful.” The only problem? Summer is too short.
Monmouth Custom Builders used a combination of exotic and standard-issue materials when creating this outdoor living space.
Cabana cabinets: Zebrawood
Cabana counters: Caesarstone in blizzard white
Upper: Cedar impressions
Lower: Coronado stone
Cabana windows: Andersen
Pool decking: Stone imported from China
Pavilion ceilings: Mahogany
Pavilion roof: Standing seam aluminum
Builder: Monmouth Custom Builders, Deal; 732-517-0400; Monmouthcustombuilders.com
Architect: Warren Bohn, Bohn Architecture and Design, New York and Miami; 212-229-2800; Bohndesign.com