Friends of the South Bethany Library will welcome thousands to its 27th annual Beach and Bay Cottage Tour
In 1991, George H.W. Bush was president of the Unites States, Nirvana’s Nevermind was released, Terminator 2 was the top-grossing movie, and the Friends of the South Coastal Library debuted an Eastern Shore classic: the annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour. This year, 10 more exceptional homes have been curated to the delight of tourgoers, including the home of Bird and JP Bishop in Bethany Beach.
The ocean-facing 5,000 sq. ft. home in Pelicans Pouch bears little resemblance to what it was when Bird and JP acquired it in 2016. The open but otherwise eccentric, even quirky, floor plan of the 1990s-built structure had to be essentially gutted in order to create the sunny and bright getaway the couple enjoy today with their three children. The roof was shot, and walls had to be torn down. There was a two-sided fireplace, which, for reasons unknown, was situated between a bedroom and a hallway. The house was odd to put it mildly — but it was an outright steal, so JP and Bird gave the owner his full asking price and rolled up their sleeves.
Bird brought in builders to bid on the reno. Some scratched their heads in bemusement; others turned down the job outright. But all of them agreed on one vital point: The house had outstanding structural integrity. “It’s true; the house had great bones,” said Gail Lednum, design consultant for Creative Concepts in Ocean View and the interior designer Bird brought in to help her visualize and execute the massive task they had ahead of them. Gail was joined by Bethany Beach architect Scott Edmondson of Sea Studio and Dewson Construction in Wilmington — a trifecta of uber-talented professionals whom Bird couldn’t praise highly enough.
The new house leans contemporary and is deliberately well-balanced, with four of the six total bedrooms situated on the third-level, two on each side of the hallway, separated by an inviting loft-type space. The first level is essentially used as an entryway, with a foyer, laundry room and storage space.
It’s on the second level where the living begins. The kitchen received all-new quartz countertops and a center island in bright, crisp tones and a radiant subway-tile sea-glass backsplash that runs all the way to the ceiling — simultaneously adding an exciting dimension to the space while complementing the linen-finish cabinetry. The kitchen is also the only space that retains the original flooring, which was installed only two years prior. What tourgoers are sure to appreciate are the stunning ocean views available from this vantage point, as well as from the rest of the house.
To the right of the kitchen is a media room that was created primarily for Bird and JP’s 7-year-old son that includes Sunbrella-covered three-piece sectional seating and the requisite entertainment electronics, all presided over by grand vaulted ceilings that reach heights of 16 feet, with handcrafted shiplap wood ceiling accents and exposed beams, oozing that nautical-rustic ambience that is a perennial winner on the Eastern Shore. The theme is buoyed by an overarching soft-gray color palette with accents in blue.
Off the entertainment area is the voluminous dining room, which boasts a 10-seat Canadel distressed-wood dining table with a Stanley server that serve up more spectacular ocean views. The great room, meanwhile, sports a huge sectional and two large swivel chairs with an inlaid Greek-key pattern, deploying more durable and utilitarian Sunbrella fabric, because Bird and JP prefer a home that can be lived in rather than tended to like a museum. The great room also has a custom-built linear fireplace with a custom surround all over off-white frisé carpeting.
The stunning master suite on the second level basically amounts to a tribute room for Bird’s beloved mother, for whom Bird has set aside the space when she comes to live with her permanently. The room features a Coastal Living Oasis bedroom group with king-size bed within a saltbox-white palette. The room comes with its own private, screened-in porch, stocked with outdoor furniture and coordinated cushions. There are also custom built-in dressers and a custom walk-in closet with barn doors. The master bath includes a luxury walk-in shower with flower-burst custom-tile (each petal is applied one at a time) and a seamless clear-glass door. The second level also includes a guest room with a king-size bed and upholstered headboard. Throughout the home, windows treatments are from Hunter Douglas, alternating between Woven Woods and Palm Beach shutters.
The third-level bedrooms continue the clean, crisp themes, with bright splashes of creams, whites, off-whites, taupes and grays. A carpeted hallway leads to JP and Bird’s bedroom, which was redesigned so that they could see the ocean while lying in bed. The third level also has a custom-built full-size dayroom-style common area for all upstairs occupants, where you can read, catch up with your mobile devices or just gaze at the Atlantic. The upstairs bedrooms also come with three-panel doors, and each has its own bathroom, for a total of seven baths throughout
Lots of newly installed, gargantuan picture windows — both traditional rectangular and porthole oval — bathe the house in sunshine while providing unobstructed views of the great outdoors, which the Bishops greet via an enormous Azek deck off the dining room and kitchen. Double chaise longues, a large dining table and a huge outdoor sectional are the trappings of countless summer days and evenings reveling in the majesty of both nature and the personal Shangri-La the Bishops have crafted in for themselves in Bethany Beach. And on July 25 and 26, you can revel in them, too.
2018 Beach & Bay Cottage Tour
July 25–26 • 9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Tickets: $30.00, available online, by mail-in order or at the South Coastal Library, Bethany Beach. A non-transferable tour ticket gives you access to the homes for the two days of the tour (each home may be visited only once).
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