Strolling, just Strolling

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Nick Churton, from the Diane Turton Realtors’ London office, takes a short walk from the New Jersey Boardwalk to discover a charming home. 

The Property: 15 St Clair Avenue, Spring Lake, New Jersey

The Broker: Diane Turton Realtors

The Agents: Susan Millar and Patricia Hamilton

Saint Clair Avenue is one of several broad, elegant thoroughfares that stretch back from the New Jersey shore at Spring Lake. High-end homes in this high-end town invariably come in two types – desirable and even more desirable.

But that doesn’t mean anything will do. Oh no; when house-hunting, one must always choose wisely – even if one is spoilt for choice. Not every home in Spring Lake will suit the requirements of the exacting buyer. There are important personal decisions to be made concerning size, proportions, condition, specification, orientation and nearness to the pretty village centre. But one common consideration will overarch everything. It is why most people house-hunt in Spring Lake in the first place: it’s what they want for their families – it’s the beach.

The beach is what makes this community tick. It is why it is a great place to live and a great place in which to invest in your family and real estate.

15 Saint Clair Avenue is in the ‘even more desirable’ category of houses in this town. One big reason is that it has ocean views. Yet it is peacefully set back from all the hectic summer season activity. This home is an all-year or weekend and vacation sanctuary combining exterior elegance with interior sophistication. Recently renovated to the point one only has to move in, it is the ultimate plug, play and enjoy Spring Lake home.

But best of all, the house is only a couple of minute’s stroll from the beach – just far enough for the kids to walk the sand from their feet – so the house self-cleans as well! Now that is something in which it is well worth investing.

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Do It Yourself Anyway

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Nick Churton from Residential Properties’ London office, loses his heart to a Providence home offering its next owner enviable potential.

The Property: 75 Prospect Street, Providence, Rhode Island

The Broker: Residential Properties

The Agent: James DeRentis

Nowadays, there is a trend for buyers to shy away from homes that need some work undertaken. It is understandable. In this day and age, we all seem to have less time – or not the sort of time to spend on property renovations.

This reluctance turns out to be a silver lining for those who are prepared to do the work, as they have less competition for some great homes at lower prices. With care not to get into money pit renovations, the savvy buyer can pick up a great deal that will turn out to be a spectacular home.

I have found a perfect example. It is in Providence, Rhode Island. Behind the beautiful buildings of Ivy League, Brown University, in an area called College Hill, are charming tree-lined streets of fascinating and handsome period homes. One such home is 75 Prospect Street. It was built c1859 to an Italianate design by celebrated local architect, Thomas Tefft. It is all still all there: high ceilings, fine architectural features, good proportions and elegance. They have been left unsullied for 160 years.

One only has to stand in the grand entrance hall to understand the outstanding opportunity that presents itself. The dated decoration will put off the daunted. But the undaunted will quickly understand that several large buckets of good quality paint in the right colour and shade, a roller, and a few weekends spent rolling will transform this into a fantastic, sophisticated space of Architectural Digest quality. The same goes for the rest of the rooms.

Over time I would go a bit further and update the services and remove a wall to create a fabulous kitchen with breakfast room that will open out onto a secluded terrace looking over the charming, city-proportioned English garden.

So, go on, be brave – and creative. Unleash the interior designer in you. It may take some work. But revival is ultimately satisfying and well worth it. You can ask the broker, James DeRentis, who happens to be extremely talented at this sort of thing. I am sure he will be happy to advise. Or you can pay much more money for a house someone else has already renovated – one you may very well end up altering anyway. That’s what people usually end up doing.

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Slow Track To Success

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Nick Churton from the Residential Properties, London office, discovers a quaint and tranquil cottage in a charming coastal location only 24 miles from bustling Providence. As he says, “What’s there not to like”?

The Property: 31 Gould Way, North Kingstown, Rhode Island

The Broker: Residential Properties

The Agents: Dana Zangari

Some of the most attractive features of New England are the charming communities that hug the coastline. They can be found all the way up the seaboard including islands such as Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

Some neighbourhoods are now so popular they have become prohibitively expensive and, in summer months, impossibly congested. But some remain quiet, tucked away and only familiar to those in the know. I discovered one of these in North Kingstown, Rhode Island recently. Rhode Island, nicknamed the Ocean State, may be the smallest state in the union, but it boasts over 400 miles of beautiful coastline – enough to hide some perfect gems.

North Kingstown has the look and character of a small and quaint artists’ enclave. It is the sort of place where bees hum in the summer and fires crackle in the winter – and even where one may feel it unnecessary to lock the front door. It is a hamlet of charming gardens and picturesque shingle-clad houses with views to the water. In summer kids can adventure as their parents did when they were children. It is a rare thing nowadays and a priceless gift.

Close-by are the yacht and tennis club, library, church and post office. This is a friendly and welcoming community that is alive throughout the year.

31 Gould Way was built in 1900 for local ferryboat captain, J. Lester Eaton. The house still bears the name of its original owner who would, I am sure, still recognise the layout of his house – but not the décor or the facilities. Today this cottage is a chic and comfortable coastal home. Top marks for the first floor bedroom. Outside there is a studio for creativity, fitness or extra accommodation. The garden is a haven and a delight.

So let the stress of modern living slip away. Take a step back from the 24-hour news cycle. Get back in touch with your inner harmony, smell the flowers, be on first name terms with your neighbours – all of them – and join the slow track.

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Windmills of my Mind

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Nick Churton from Residential Properties’ London office finds a chic Providence city home that takes him back to the movies.

The Property: 26 Benefit Street, Providence, Rhode Island

The Broker: Residential Properties

The Agent: James DeRentis

I hope that Rhode Islanders won’t mind if I suggest that, in parts, their beautiful state capital, Providence, has a look of Boston about it. But I suppose it is hardly surprising, Boston was established in 1630 and Providence only 6 years later, the two cities are only 50 miles apart and share an elegant architecture imported by European settlers before and after the war of independence. College Hill in Providence, particularly, has echoes of Beacon Hill in Boston with charming Federal-style terraced and detached houses in tree-lined streets with brick pavements.

I first came across Beacon Hill in the1968 movie, The Thomas Crown Affair. Steve McQueen’s eponymous character had a very cool town house there. I was reminded of it when visiting 26 Benefit Street in Provincetown. It may have been smaller but, for me, somehow it had the essential Thomas Crown vibe – classy.

26 Benefit Street, Providence, is a comfortable home with a great deal of style and originality behind a handsome brick exterior. Internally it features part exposed-brick internal walls spread out on several half floors – creating an interior that is beautifully inter-connected. It makes for perfect and sophisticated solo, couple or small family living and intimate entertaining – with or without a chessboard!

Outside there is off-street parking for two cars. But there is hardly a need for cars as this lovely home is within walking distance of all the educational, arts and cultural amenities of this highly creative city.

So, whether you are a super-rich, super-bored bachelor planning an audacious bank heist or, far more probably, a highly law-abiding buyer looking for a perfect city home close to all amenities, including state governance, this could well be for you. I’ve made the introduction, now it’s your move.

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Elementary my dear Buyer

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Nick Churton from Residential Properties’ London office, heads off to Rhode Island’s rocky shores to find a ready-made waterside home in one of the loveliest settings imaginable.

The Property: 450 Poppasquash Road, Bristol, Rhode Island

The Broker: Residential Properties

The Agent: Kris Gladding Chwalk

If I were going to live on a peninsular, then I think I would like to live on Poppasquash Point, Bristol, Rhode Island. Poppasquash is such a lovely American Indian name. The very sound of it makes me want to live there. Originally, the word could have meant partridges or broken rocks or, perhaps, both. But it doesn’t matter which now, because for those in the know, Poppasquash has now surely come to define where earth meets water – more particularly, a spectacular, jagged and dramatic point jutting out into the expansive and beautiful Narragansett Bay.

Water is as vital as earth to Rhode Island. Both elements play an essential part in the state’s history, culture and economy. Poppasquash, situated about halfway between pretty and bustling yachting-super-city, Newport, and the elegant state capital, Providence, emphasises this elemental co-dependence and offers a quiet retreat from both urban centres.

The house I visited would suit not just those seeking peace, but also those who like messing around in boats, as the property has private mooring with the possibility of a dock.

From the broken rock shore, a delightful three-acre, wild-garden walk or golf buggy ride takes one to the house. And what a house! Every room seems to be designed to make the most of the sensational bay views – often with breath-taking, over-water sunsets. Generous living rooms grace the ground floor while upstairs four bedroom suites each offer spacious and comfortable privacy. This house has the lot – or as much, if not more than most would demand. Just look at the details and please note, it is green constructed for low-maintenance and no-conscience living with geothermal heating and lots of other bells and whistles to make living easy – including an elevator.

Should you make Poppasquash your address? I think you should. It’s elementary.

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Nick Churton from the Diane Turton Realtors’ London office gets all watery eyed at a breathtaking beach house on the New Jersey shore.

The Property: 712 Morven Terrace, Sea Girt, New Jersey

The Broker: Diane Turton Realtors

The Agent: Colleen Tobin

I checked out the definition of seagirt and found it means surrounded by sea. This was one of the questions I had when I reached Oceanfront, Sea Girt, on the New Jersey shore. Next, I wondered how this house would look like on the inside because it seemed pretty amazing to me on the outside?

If you follow my footsteps, I challenge you not to shout, “Wow”, and then dive for your beach clothes, because when you go through the front door of this home, you realise that the house is not on the beach, it is the beach.

At this magnificent contemporary home with an industrial vibe interior, you sleep on the beach, shower on the beach, eat on the beach and relax on the beach – or so it seems. All there is separating the house from the strand is a giant wall of glass. It is fabulous in the summer, but also cosy warm in the winter – giving the home a year-round life.

The beach is what living in this part of the world is all about. It is an antidote to the urban frenzy of New York City only sixty-odd miles to the north.

There is a strong chance that buyers will want to balance both beach and city lifestyles – city to make their living and beach to enjoy their living. Commuting is made easy at Oceanfront by only a two-hour rail journey between Manasquan station (only five minutes from the house) and Penn Station in Manhattan.

Oceanfront blurs the lines between city and beach living with a loft look that offers a sophisticated modern design with a carefree sand-between-the-toes lifestyle. So, go on, kick off your shoes and join the beach set.

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Looking Good – In All Directions

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Nick Churton from the Diane Turton Realtors’ London office, sits back and admires the view from a waterside super-home.

The Property: 119 Curtis Point Drive, Mantoloking, New Jersey

The Broker: Diane Turton Realtors

The Agents: Suzie Van Schoick

I like the water, so let’s start on the dock at the rear of 119 Curtis Point Drive in Mantoloking, New Jersey. Behind is the beautiful Barnegat Bay.  In a fast boat from the dock, it is only a few moments to the Mantoloking Yacht Club.

In front of us is the pretty house with a charming chalet look, sitting beyond a spacious deck, pool and veranda. It is now that we begin to notice the quality. Everything looks crisp, well maintained and beautifully thought out. This is usually an excellent sign. A home that looks good on the outside can signify a house that looks good on the inside.

We will not be disappointed. We will be thrilled. The house on the inside is even better than the outside – if that is possible. But there is a bit of an optical illusion going on because, although the house looks compact from the exterior, indoors there is excellent accommodation including seven bedroom suites. The downstairs layout flows between the fabulous kitchen, comfortable family room, quiet sitting space and bay-view dining area.

This home is for relaxation, family and entertaining. It has the location, space and specification to cater for all three with ease. Ease is the perfect word to describe the feeling that this beautiful house engenders.

So let’s pop into the sensational climate-controlled wine room, pop a cork, pour a glass and pull up a chair on the deck for one of the best times of the day – sunset. It is going to be a fantastic show.

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No Shoes Required

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Nick Churton from the Diane Turton Realtors’ London office, kicks off his shoes and relaxes into a landmark beachfront home in New Jersey.

The Property: 1611 Ocean Avenue, Spring Lake, New Jersey

The Broker: Diane Turton Realtors

The Agent: Cindy Napp

I’m not for a moment suggesting you may feel smug, but when sipping cold French Rosé on the ocean-view, wraparound veranda of 1611 Ocean Drive in Spring Lake, I think you might be permitted a moment of personal satisfaction.

As you relax there, looking at the passers-by looking at you, and waving to neighbours and friends, you should be allowed to congratulate yourself on a job well done and on a purchase well made.

Owning a front line house in Spring Lake is a big deal. It is undoubtedly a big deal for the children and perhaps grandchildren – no, especially the grandchildren, as this house is a grandchildren magnet. It draws them to you. Having done that, it gives them something to do – all the time. The beach is across the road. A barefoot, sun-soaked summer is guaranteed.

So far we haven’t even gone past the veranda. It is worth going further. This is a beautifully fitted, decorated and maintained home with several bedrooms (out of 8) having outstanding ocean views. On the ground floor, there are generous living spaces, ideal for decompressing after the beach – and after dark entertaining. Or sit on the stoop sipping Rosé. It is up to you; this is your dream come true.

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Six out of Six

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Nick Churton from the Houlihan Lawrence, London office, does the math and discovers a perfect six in Rye.

The Property: 12 Dogwood Lane, Rye, New York

The Broker: Houlihan Lawrence

The Agent: Joan M. O’Meara

At a dogleg in Dogwood Lane, Rye is the entrance to a drive that sweeps up to a beautiful colonial home set in private and secluded grounds. This exclusive part of Rye is close to golf and country clubs. It is also only three minutes drive to Rye train station and close to some excellent private and public schools. For goodness sake, it’s only 15 minute’s walk to brunch at Ruby’s Oyster Bar & Bistro in the heart of Rye. This is a first-class place to live.

12 Dogwood Lane is first class also. This is not just a Rye house. This is a Susie Cappelli, Rye house. For those who don’t know why this means so much, Susie Cappelli has been an established leader in Rye real estate development since 2005. Her signature involvement in new build and key renovations is a big deal. Cappelli’s sense of style, design flare, and construction expertise combine to make her a busy and sought after developer. If one is having a house built or one made-over then Cappelli is a great professional to have in one’s corner.

This home is an excellent example of Cappelli’s work. Here she worked hand-in-hand with the current owners to re-imagine this 1963-built home. It has been designed for modern family-style living but retains a traditional flavour. Have no doubt; this is a beautifully executed root and branch renovation.

So, great looks, accommodation, location, schools, commuting and convenience: to me that sounds like the top six requirements that any buyer is looking for.


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A Pocket Full of Rye

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Nick Churton from the Houlihan Lawrence London office compares two Ryes and finds an English looking home in Rye, New York, that ticks all the boxes for active family living in a coastal location not far from Manhattan.

The Property: 45 Forest Avenue, Rye, New York

The Broker: Houlihan Lawrence

The Agents: Marianna Glennon

Rye, on the south coast of England is a quaint town with steep cobbled streets of charmingly higgledy-piggledy tile-hung houses and cottages. It was once a port, but the sea, in the form of The English Chanel, forsook Rye hundreds of years ago, leaving it now only with a tidal river and thrilling tales of smugglers and excise men.

Rye in New York, is a different kettle of fish. No smuggling here – as far as I know, although there are, no doubt, one or two tax people – and the sea, in the form of Long Island Sound, still laps the town’s rocky shore.

Likewise, the houses are different. This Rye is a serious New York City commuter town. Getting to and from Manhattan quickly is important to the people here as much of the local wealth is generated in Wall Street, less than an hour away by train.

It is not surprising that living in Rye, New York, is popular – with handsome houses like 45 Forest Avenue in which to live. This brick built Georgian style home certainly looks good on the outside, but this is nothing to the interior. I loved the entrance hall with elliptical cantilevered stairway. But I also loved the spacious layout of elegant rooms and the wonderful facilities for an active home life, like a gym and outside pool and tennis court.

If you are looking for Rye and a comfortable family house only a few minutes away from the station and the rocky shore, this is one for you.

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