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The Meeting Place - The Del Dottos
03/04/2010 - By Michael Berman
Photography by AK Photo / Al Kruper
The Del Dottos Creating Memories by the Sea
Reno and Denyse Del Dotto met while still in their 20’s at a restaurant and bar in Hackensack, New Jersey known as the Crow’s Nest. They had run into each other around town a number of times, but it took a while before they went on their first formal date together. Denyse remembers it fondly, coming home that night and telling her mother that she had just went out with her future husband. That was three beautiful children and more than 33 years ago. Obviously Denyse has good instincts.
Denyse and Reno have built two family homes together. Their first, in 1985, was a center hall colonial in Rivervale, New Jersey. Their second, also in Rivervale, was needed to accommodate the Del Dotto’s expanding family and is a home they still own today. The late 90s found the Del Dottos looking for a summer home for the family to use as a place to gather and enjoy together. The goal was to find a location where they could go and feel away from their regular life in Rivervale but still only be within an hour or two from their family home in North Jersey.
Denyse recalled her family’s summer vacations to Belmar on the Jersey Shore when she was a child, and her father’s love of swimming and the water. These joyful memories inspired a three year search to find the perfect beach house in which to create new family memories for the next generation including their now grown children Lauren (and her husband Oskar), Nick and Jeanine. The search began in the late 1990s, but did not turn up the right property quickly. Almost by chance, Reno found a property online located in Avon that seemed to have potential. The couple was going to be attending an engagement party in nearby Spring Lake anyway, so a stop in Avon-by-the-Sea was a natural. Denyse feels that “things happen when they are meant to happen in life” and the family’s beach house was no different. The Del Dotto’s bought this charming 1950s vintage expanded home in 2002 and began plans to renovate and make it their own.
The family hired architect Tom Degnan of Degnan Design Group and Dennis Bosco of Bosco Construction, both located in Wall, to take care of the design and construction work. They worked on a plan for renovating the existing home, but once the budget was calculated and the plans drawn up, it was decided that the needs of the extended family and the cost pointed toward a fresh start utilizing the existing footprint as a starting point.
Denyse and Reno hoped to build a comfortable home for their family and friends, inspired by the great tradition of shingle-style beach houses found on Cape Cod. The end result speaks very much for itself. Denyse repeatedly stated to her architect that she wanted this home to “feel like it belonged at the beach” paying homage to, but not limited by, the grand tradition of seaside, vintage architecture. Victorian elements were integrated into an open, free flowing floor plan and a three story elevation that allowed for family comfort and water views. Construction began in 2006 after the demolition of the existing home and 14 months later the family could not be happier with their cozy shingle style, Victorian-inspired beach house in Avon-by-the-Sea.
The kitchen in the Del Dotto’s classically inspired beach house exemplifies the integration of vintage details with modern comfort. Denyse enjoys the design and decorating process and found her family’s Shore home to be her best experience yet. Comfort, open space and plenty of natural light were very much part of her plan from the very beginning and informed many of the design decisions made in the construction and planning of this well thought out beach house. Denyse is a gourmet cook and runs cooking classes in her beautifully designed kitchen, by Penterman Kitchens of Manasquan.The large, black granite-topped island, white beadboard cabinetry and vintage-inspired pendant lighting add up to a wonderfully inviting space for friends and family to gather.The see-through glass doors integrated into the cabinetry help define the space, but also allow for transparency and flow into the large dining room. Beautiful architectural details and warm inviting furnishings combine to create a comfortable, relaxed and lived in style that Denyse and family were able to enjoy from the first day they moved in.
The living room is quaint and comfy.The colors are natural and warm and the gas-fired fireplace and flat screen television offer the perfect setting for Hamlet, the family’s beloved pet pooch to snuggle up in and take a nap.
The elegant, yet inviting dining room features seating for 12, a unique flush mounted rug set intot he floor as to be level with the hardwood flooring surrounding it and a pull out chilled wine cabinet (by Pentermans). The bay window is a classic detail and adds a bit more space to this lovely room. Hand-blown antique glass was used in these windows to allow for a bit of privacy without installing shades or blinds.
The Del Dotto’s master bedroom features a tray ceiling and gas-fired fireplace.The bath features travertine marble floors, double sinks and a free standing soak ing tub. The double vanities, by Pentermans, feature wood counter tops - a departure from the granite used elsewhere in the home - and are finished in a special boat varnish to protect the wood from the inevitable splash and moisture of a much used sink.The windows allow for much enjoyed natural light and the starfish accenting the cornice moldings are a whimsical reminder of just where this beautiful home is located.
The third floor is a wonderful space that can serve as a second master suite or get-a-way room. The French doors lead to a deck featuring magnificent views east to the Atlantic Ocean.
The master bedroom, although spacious and comfortable, achieves intimacy through the careful balance of scale and color.The nine foot ceilings featured on the first floor become eight feet on the second and third floors adding to the intimacy of the upstairs living spaces.
The full bath on the third floor features many elegant and colorful details such as iridescent mosaic floor tile, a bright aqua paint color scheme and a classic arch top window.
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