This waterside escape is just one of 10 fantastic homes to be featured as part of the 24th annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour
July marks the 24th annual the Friends of the South Coastal Library Beach & Bay Cottage Tour. The 2015 outing — to be held July 22 & 23, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. — will showcase 10 exceptional beach-themed homes from Bethany Beach to Millville.
Ocean View is the site of one such home, belonging to retired financial printer Ward Richards and his wife, artist Bonnie Richards. Bonnie’s design concepts in and out were realized with the estimable aid of architect Greg Hastings, interior designer Dana Tydings and Bonnie’s good friend Sue Ryan. Together, the quartet created the lovely 4,500 sq. ft., five-bedroom, 3.5-bath house idyllically perched on White Creek.
The two-level Nantucket-style structure welcomes visitors in the foyer not only with a handwork wrought-iron chandelier with cut crystals but also a dedication floor plaque honoring Bonnie’s parents. Hastings created the archway to which the foyer leads so that the observer’s eye would carry directly to the home’s western water view.
The family room’s 10-ft. coffered ceiling presides majestically over the stacked-stone rectangle-framed gas fireplace (though the majority of the heat comes from a geothermal system). The elegant look is counterpoised nicely by homey touches, including a gray Duralee sofa, cushioned rattan lounge chair, wicker sunburst mirror and 75-year-old heirloom dresser, courtesy of Bonnie’s mother. Speaking of heirlooms, visitors to this space should be sure to note Bonnie’s intricate cross-stitch artwork (which sometimes takes a year to create), as well as the vintage Underwood manual typewriter, which Bonnie received as a birth gift from her father. Off-white, beiges and tranquil blues set the tones for the room — a manifestation of Bonnie’s insistence that their space be warm and inviting rather than museumlike. The rich maple flooring with Hershey-bar satin finish echoes this philosophy with tacit eloquence.
The kitchen flaunts an opulent 54”x 84” center island topped with White Cloud granite, which is nicely complemented by the celestial aura of the Black Absolute Polished granite countertops. Classic Shaker-style cabinetry completes the look in the kitchen’s work area. The enjoyment of that labor, however, occurs at a fascinating asymmetrical 200-plus-lb. kitchen table made of glazed concrete bordered by wrought-iron bracketing, with railroad-tie supports underneath. When teamed with the historic-glass wrought-iron fixtures that hold sway above it and the center island, the space takes on a decidedly rustic feel.
Rather than cloy the master suite with lots of furniture, Bonnie and Ward commissioned craftsman Ken Lloyd to fashion a series of built-ins, which yield precious square footage to accommodate a set of slipcovered lounge chairs and an heirloom end table that lead to an exterior deck (a trait all of the bedrooms share). And on the subject of decks, one of home’s most impressive features is the gargantuan upper-level deck, which boasts a custom-made bell tower that promises loungers a shady port even in a storm of Sussex County sunshine. The expansive master bath, meanwhile, offers a freestanding tub and a walk-in shower with Icelandic Blue Stagger Mosaic glass tiles, all bathed in the creamy Carrara marble of the countertop and floor.
With addition of the home’s other meticulously appointed guest suites — particularly the white room and pink room, which are the exclusive domain of the Richardses’ two grandchildren — what emerges is a thoroughly inviting Ocean View retreat as filled with love as it is luxury.
THE BEACH & BAY COTTAGE TOUR