A Natural Wonder on the Eltingville Waterfront

Mo Ghezzar came to America from his native Morocco, by way of Hungary, to finish his education and achieve the American dream. He had planned to be a veterinarian, but changed his major to business and earned a Master’s degree from Baruch College. He became a successful small business owner and moved from Brooklyn to Staten Island about 25 years ago. Mo loves nature, gardening and all things beautiful, and he always enjoyed the water, so when his daughter recommended he look at a home in the Eltingville section he worked it into his busy schedule.

His initial tour of the home was on a dark night in the middle of December. His initial response to the home was not positive, but he agreed to come back during the day to get a better look. His viewpoint changed immeasurably once he saw the potential of the house and its  wonderful location. He bought the house in 2001 and began to re-imagine and redefine the space completely. His goal was to “let nature take over” and maximize the magnificent views of the Raritan Bay and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. He designed as he went and worked closely with David, owner of Avid Construction, to achieve his goals. His talented wife Elissa describes the home as having “an unmistakably fresh coastal vibe.” She further describes the house as being “a modest understated home which is big on style, using all quality materials with form and function throughout.” This exquisite waterfront home is filled with natural light from dawn to dusk.

Mo and Elissa love the Staten Island lifestyle and consider Eltingville to be a dream location to call home. The area is named for the Elting family who settled there in the late 19th century, but the area was originally known as the South Shore. Mo and Elissa both love the “small town feel” of the area, and the convenience factor cannot be underestimated. The location has been a bit of a crossroads for over a century, making it easy to get almost anywhere on the Island and beyond. The Staten Island railway is close at hand, and bus service is easily attainable without the usual hassles. The Island offers great shopping, fresh produce and some of the best food Mo and Elissa could ever ask for. They do have their favorites, including the the Bagel Depot for the best bagels in town, Reggianos for all things Italian, and as a go-to, quick goodfood fix, they say the Annadale Terrace cannot be beat.

Life is good in Eltingville for Mo and Elissa, who love being a part of the Staten Island renaissance going on in various parts of their Island paradise. They truly enjoy the peace and joy they feel sitting on their terrace perch under the pergola enjoying nature, the salt water and the passing of boats and ships in the distance. Mo has loved birds since he was a child, and they have seen all sorts of fine feathered friends over the years, including seagulls, herons, egrets, cormorants, and a plethora of others. Of the interplay between nature and their lives they simply say, “Nature is part of us.” Elissa and Mo feel blessed to share one of the most beautiful locations on the south shore of Staten Island in peace and tranquility. As Elissa so succinctly sums it up, “living here simply, serenely and joyfully creates just the right energy.”

Mo loves to garden and works with greenery four seasons a year to create a lush and welcoming entry into this South Shore waterfront Shagri-La. The stucco exterior and careful placement of windows make the best use of views, ocean breezes and natural light. Elissa and Mo sum up their approach to their home’s design as “letting nature take over.” The pineapple finials flanking the antique iron gate create an artistic entry into the pool area and magnificent views beyond. An elegant and much used pool creates an oasis for lounging, swimming and entertaining. The pool area is surrounded by pavers and just the right amount of potted greenery. The views from all angles are spectacular and vast, creating an unforgettable vista to enjoy four seasons a year.

Elissa has always had a passion for design and remembers, as a child of 12, searching for just the right shade of peach carpeting with her Mom. She says she feels good when she is in an environment that is right. She likes to keep things simple to achieve just the right balance of comfort, decoration and architecture. The custom carved mahogany doors open into a spacious open floor plan space that reminds some of an elegant Manhattan apartment, but with a subtle nautical beachlike feel. The glowing solid oak flooring with decorative inlay details is soft and warm to the feet and the eye.

The fully appointed kitchen, with picture windows, takes full advantage of the views, sun and surf beyond. The Shaker style cabinets and oak butcher block topped center island create a magnificent working triangle to enjoy with guests and family. The hanging pendants are decorative and provide a soft glow in the interior space. Wall colors and upholstered furniture are finished in neutral colors, allowing for art and objects to create splashes of color and interest in the interior. The world outside, of course, provides the ultimate splash of color and interest and takes center stage in most rooms in this well-designed home.

A laundry area is cleverly tucked into a small space, but ample storage is achieved just inside large louvered bi-fold closet doors. A guest room is a comfortable and welcome place for guests to lounge and sleep after a day at the beach or in the pool.

The master bedroom and bath are designed to take full advantage of this home’s location. Massive windows and skylights allow for maximum light and views. A door leads to a private terrace that is one of Mo and Elissa’s favorite places to spend hours watching nature pass, the weather change or just to spend quiet time together. Simple, yet elegant, this private space is as much a celebration of the outdoors as it is an inside living area. The master bath is spacious and comfortable. The sunken tub and large window above are well-placed to reflect the magnificent water views in the large wall mirror

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16 Sep 2016

By Michael Berman