Imagining My Very Own LBI Mansion


I should be grateful to live on beautiful Long Beach Island. I truly am, but I admit to feeling pangs of envy when I pass by houses that could be featured on “Homes of the Rich and Famous.” I like to ride my bike past the new construction in my neighborhood since Superstorm Sandy. I try to remember what was there before. So many homes were devastated by that disaster. I am lucky that my house was not terribly damaged. I do notice more flooding each year on the Island and think this could be me next time. I, too, might have to raze my Cape Cod cottage. It gives me pause to think about it.

I see a lot of three-story, reverse living residences. Most are contemporary, but I spy a few neo-Victorian houses. I do like the look, but think I would need an elevator because I’m not getting any younger. Mine would have a huge kitchen with all the amenities. A marble island is essential. One that seats at least 15 people. No matter that I rarely cook or entertain that large a crowd. A wet bar would be nice along with a walk-in pantry. Everyone needs more storage space. 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a small library? I’ve been trying to give away my large collection of books. This would be a good solution. I mentally plan lots of shelves and some comfortable leather chairs. The furniture would have a reading room feel. Perhaps I’d have a faux card catalog for magazines and memorabilia. I get very excited thinking about it!

Next on my dream agenda is a theater room: nothing fancy, just three rows of plush seats. Eight across would accommodate 24 people. I just love movies and have a collection of DVDS. I would need room-darkening blinds and a popcorn machine. What fun it would be to invite my family and friends. The grandchildren would love it!

I pedal around some more, admiring landscaping. Hydrangeas and crepe myrtle trees are in bloom. There are beautiful stone walls and walks with borders of flowers. I peer at raised beds of colorful perennials. Paving stones abound, but I don’t see many lawns. Too much work, I think. I ponder what I could plant. I would need a landscape architect. Hmm, something tasteful and modest. I do love an English garden look, but nothing like I’ve seen on Downton Abbey. I need my yard to look natural and wild.

Some of the small homes have morphed into mansions, only on a much smaller lot. I ride by a stone chalet with a guest house that would look wonderful in the Burgundy area of France. I see a lot of three- and four-car garages. Multiple decks are a given, even if you don’t have a view. Rooftop decks are popular, but I rarely see anyone sitting on them. It would be a grand place to watch the stars at night. 

I spot an outdoor shower in the back of a beautiful home. It’s freestanding and looks like a small cottage. I love outdoor showers! Mine is a rough-hewn, one-person affair. It works just fine, but this one must have at least three changing rooms with space to store towels and toiletries. I’m definitely green with envy. 

EnoughI say to myself. It’s hot and I’m getting tired and cranky. I spin my bike around and head for home. Nearing my little cape, I give it the once-over. It doesn’t look so bad. It does have some quaint, old-fashioned curb appeal. I feel content for the moment. Tonight I think I’ll watch the “Tiny House” show. 

Kathleen Donnelly lives in Beach Haven Terrace.

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