Mster Bedroom Seating
Bedroom #2 Bath
Bedroom #2 Bath
Master Bath Tub
Master Bedroom Closet
Creating a Calm Space
With muted tones and open spaces, this Broadkill Beach home is a restful oasis
By Lynn R. Parks | Photographs courtesy of Boardwalk Builders
From the April 2022 issue
When their electrician was hanging the dining room chandelier in Jo and Tom Dole’s Broadkill Beach home, he called for some help.
It turned out that each piece of crystal and the silver wire to which it was attached had to be fastened to the fixture separately. “The electrician said that there was no way he was hanging all those because it had to be done artistically,” Tom says. “And he looked at us to help him! All three of us ended up on the scaffolding, hanging the pieces. We had a few pieces left over at the end and we were like, ‘Uh-oh.’ But it looks good.”
The modern, free-form chandelier “sort of looks like a big jellyfish,” Jo says. It is one of several artistic touches found throughout the home that, combined with the muted backdrop against which they are set, convey a “modern beach vibe,” she adds. Walls throughout are pale blues and grays, and floors are vinyl planks, made to look like weathered wood. “It’s all very calming and relaxing,” Jo says.
The Doles bought their vacation home in 2018; their primary residence is just outside Philadelphia. “We have always been beach people, but our beach houses were always in Ocean City, N.J.,” Tom notes. “But Jersey beaches were getting so busy, almost to the point that we were leaving one city to get to another.”
A friend, who also has a home in Broadkill, introduced them to coastal Delaware. “We were really impressed by the peacefulness and tranquility of the area,” Tom continues. “We started looking at homes and found this one.”
It wasn’t love at first sight: “I knew that the kitchen would need serious expansion, and the house was lacking in terms of what we wanted in a principal suite,” Jo says.
But the location won them over. “It’s on a double lot, right on a beautiful beach on the Delaware Bay,” she says. “That just couldn’t be beat.”
The renovation project, done by Rehoboth-area design and construction firm Boardwalk Builders, started in January 2019 and was completed seven months later. While the house kept its same footprint, the design was reconfigured to allow a larger kitchen and a separate laundry room. A top-story addition over the living area made room for the couple’s bedroom suite.
The great room is on the second floor (the first story has a garage and a small bathroom). The color of the upholstered furniture in this living area is seafoam. The wooden dining area table, beneath the jellyfish chandelier, is counter height, perfect for playing games or working puzzles, Jo says. It is painted the same color as the other furniture.
Cabinets in the kitchen are white. The black-and-white granite atop the floor cabinets as well as on the island has a leathered, or unpolished, finish. “It brings out the natural stone look of the granite,” Jo says, noting that the dark material “brings a little depth to this very white kitchen.” Also providing color are a blue accent wall at the back of the kitchen and green and blue glass tiles on the wall over the coffee and wine bar.
Upstairs, the master bedroom has a large walk-in closet, lined with shelves and built-in drawers. “It’s wonderful, because it enabled us not to have any dressers, or big heavy furniture, in the bedroom,” Jo says.
White textured tiles line the walk-in shower in the adjoining bathroom, and gray penny tiles (that is, small and round) are on the stall floor. The shower was designed to have a glass door, “but we came down for a visit after the tiling was all finished, and it was so beautiful,” Tom says. “And the best part was that when you were showering [without the door], you could see out to the bay. I didn’t want to cover that up [with a steam-clouded door].”
For now, at least, the glass doors remain in storage in the basement. “An open shower. I had to get over that, I can tell you,” Jo says.
Outside, a weathered boardwalk leads across the dune from the house to the beach. The boardwalk was there when they bought the property; Tom and Jo removed the old handrailing and replaced it with a thick, heavy rope that drapes from post to post.
As for the landscaping around the Dole house, “it’s very rustic, and we want to keep it that way,” Tom says. To go with the relaxed feel inside, “we want the real natural look outside.”