‘Breathtaking Beach House’ One of Six on Annual Seashore Open House Tour

By PAT JOHNSON | Jul 28, 2015
Photo by: Pat Johnson The pool overlooking the dunes and ocean is the focal point for entertaining at the ‘Breathtaking Beach House’ in Loveladies.

The Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences has found six unique houses on the north end of Long Beach Island for its 49th annual Seashore Open House Tour, on Wednesday, Aug. 5, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., rain or shine.

On Friday, the owners of the Breathtaking Beach House in Loveladies allowed The SandPaper to get a sneak preview of their home, just one of those featured on the tour. The Johnson Brills own a software consulting company and completely renovated the 1980s-style oceanfront beach house after Superstorm Sandy in 2013. The house had not sustained any damage in the storm, said DeBorah Johnson Brill, but needed updates to bring it into the new century.

From the tower-like formal entrance, visitors climb a winding staircase that mimics the Guggenheim on a smaller scale. Enter the open concept living quarters, and the ocean views at the far end spank the retina with brilliance. The outside living area on the right, seen through windows and doors, invites you to the poolside entertainment areas.

A dining area is just before the kitchen on the left, its focal point the zinc-topped dining table on cypress trunk bases by artist Dave Leonard. Johnson Brill liked the look of driftwood, she said.

The kitchen island surface was replaced with a new “waterfall” type granite; the island is also equipped with a USB cable port for all the electronics needed for a family of four.

Overall, Johnson Brill kept the home’s palette neutral to reflect the seashore environment, with pops of color from selected artworks. The great room has expansive views of the Loveladies dunes and ocean on three sides. Large, comfortable couches and chairs beg for relaxation. Small dish planters of succulents bring the textures of the desert-like dunes inside.

The floors were completely redone throughout the house to reflect the lighter, white-washed driftwood tastes of the owners.

The high tech features extend to a smartphone-size computer that allows the owners to program the temperature in each section of the house, monitor security, control the shades for each window and even pipe in music where they want it, using their own play list.

Perhaps the most useful gadget is the automatic door to the outdoor kitchen, which opens by electric eye. “It’s great when you have your arms loaded with BBQ stuff,” said Johnson Brill.

The outdoor space must be seen to be appreciated. The expanse of sea and sky is framed by the open-work wire railing. A pergola shades the outdoor kitchen and bar while market style umbrellas shade the couches in the cocktail or conversation area. A lap pool impeccably cared for is tantalizing under blue skies.

The downstairs bath includes a sink made from a chunk of petrified wood.

Upstairs, the master bedroom suite is kept in the same serene, neutral palette. From the master, the Johnson Brills can access the upstairs deck, where lounge chairs are ready for sunning.

Farther down the hall is DeBorah’s home office, which overlooks the great room with the same beautiful ocean view. “I love to come to work here,” she said.

Their children, Jaycee, 13, and Craig, 9, have the run of the house and grounds, as does their affable golden doodle. On Friday, Jaycee was planning a wedding party between her dog and the neighbor’s Labra-doodle. The outdoor ceremony would be formal with cocktails for the grown-ups.

DeBorah Johnson Brill, a board member of the Long Beach Island Foundation, said opening her home to the house tour was one way to give to a community resource that is well used and loved by her family.

The LBIF released information on the five other homes on the tour:

“The Watermelon Lane home in Harvey Cedars gives visitors a look at a whimsical and undeniably happy home located just steps from the beach with its large and airy spaces. The house was a 50th birthday gift from the owner’s husband to his wife.

“‘The Bucket House’ on the Boulevard has intrigued many with its elevation, bold blue doors and planters. New owners have had fun renovating and redesigning this fantastic property.

“‘The Gold House’ has an interesting history; the current owners have made it a really special and unique place to enjoy.

“Completely different is the Timeless Form and Artful Function of the home on Pompano Drive built in the early ’60s by Lud Ullman and Gary Silvermaster. This 2300 square foot house is beautifully planned and gardens add to the interest.

“‘The 1883 Beach House’ is a remarkable and historic treasure. Updated several times to accommodate convenience and children, the owners have safeguarded all of the home’s original historical integrity.”

After purchasing a tour ticket and getting a wristband, visitors may tour the homes in any order; take time off to have lunch or visit the Barnegat Light Museum with its lovely gardens. Remember that socks must be the only footwear worn in each home, and no handbags, cameras, shoes, food or drinks are permitted inside the homes.

Tickets should be purchased at the LBIF for $45 on the day of the event or for $40 in advance. Call 609-494-1241 for more information or visit lbifoundation.org.


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