Providing Custom Design-Build Services Along the Jersey Shore Since 1990



"This was the first year they have entered the awards, and to take home top honors on the first try is impressive," says Ken Kaline, Director of the Awards.

Our oceanside addition and renovation gave new life to this non-conforming property. We met very difficult CAFRA and zoning regulations to re-create this home.

The Grey Area

One of the first issues confronting a beach property owner is whether their existing home is worth renovating or adding onto. Often times, an existing dwelling is better off being torn down to allow for a nice new home. Some homes in the "grey area" need to be investigated before an intelligent decision can be made with confidence.

 One of the first questions we ask is if there are compelling reasons to keep a structure. A grandfathered footprint that wouldn’t be allowed by current zoning regulations would be a good reason to go through the cost and effort of maintaining and improving a poor structure.  Maybe the home is too large by current standards, or infringes in a setback, which allows it better views than it would enjoy legally.

In these cases it may be better to hold onto the existing structure and give it new life. It's usually a much more expensive way to create a new home however. The costs in renovating a structure are very high. Any demolition must be done by hand, and with laborers that will not destroy the elements of the home worth keeping. Existing systems are typically incompatible with new standards and have to be replaced while working within finished areas. These are two of the many reasons why renovation costs exceed those of new construction.

Sometimes sentiment for an older home, particularly one that’s been in the family for several generations, can be a reason to avoid the bulldozer. In cases where the tear down still makes the most sense, we can offer to integrate into the new design some of the actual elements of the older home, such as the old front door, an interesting window, or fireplace mantel.


The Trigger

Do you have to remove and/or expand the existing windows? Then you might as well tear it down. The new requirements for wind-borne debris resistant windows call for specific performance that can’t be met by typical replacement windows. Once a window is re-framed, the interior finishes including drywall, window headers, insulation and electrical wiring are affected. The costs of window removal tend to snowball quickly. If your windows of your beach house need to be replaced in their entirety, then that typically becomes the trigger to remove the dwelling and start new.

These suggestions are based upon the assumption that the shore house is seen as an investment, and one that will attract buyers in the future. As I write this in 2011, most buyers are only interested in new homes that feature the latest amenities, low maintenance and comforts on the market.  With new home construction hovering around $150-200 per foot, a typical 2400 sf home can be built new from $360-480,000. A total renovation to an existing dwelling can easily fall into the $250,000+ range.


This is the same home prior to our design and construction changes.

Energy conservation has always been important to our firm. In recent years with the skyrocketing cost of fossil fuels, and the movement toward “green building” we are receiving more interest in our energy-efficient designs


We start each project with appropriate site responsive design in order to take advantage of the positive attributes natural light, prevailing breezes and vegetation. We design with the path of the sun in mind so we can welcome the desirable, controllable southern exposure and avoid or ward off the direct gain of the low-setting western sun. The demand for water views requires huge expanses of glass that is a challenge in itself.


We utilize energy-efficient high-performance glass, and make good use of overhangs to protect glazing from direct gain and driving rain.


We recently were able to save the structure of an historic movie theatre and gave it new life as a retail center.
The old Colony Theatre in Beach Haven before our renovation.

This triplex in Beach Haven was a design challenge for several reasons. The existing conditions were absolutely terrible but the structure was a non-coforming five unit apartment building (see below) that would lose its multi-family zoning if it were torn down. It also sat in the Historic District which further limited what we could do.

A completely "remuddled" four-square home in Beach Haven before our renovations (see above).