Interior Design

When we make plans, God laughs. Or so it would seem for Chris and Shannon Nelson and their two children, who, after living overseas for years, planned to move back to the States and make their family beach house their full-time home. Their 50-year-old Cape Cod–style house was located in Mantoloking, New Jersey, 110 feet from Barnegat Bay and 200 feet from the Atlantic Ocean. They had strong family ties to the town — Chris grew up there, his parents lived across the street, and his family loved to spend time there in the summer. 

They moved to Mantoloking in June 2012 and fixed up the casual summer cottage as their primary home, establishing themselves in the small community of year-rounders. But a few months later, Hurricane Sandy hit the town hard, and they had 2 feet of water on the first floor. Ultimately, many of the homes in the small community were lost. The family was homeless and needed to make big decisions about whether they’d stay in Mantoloking or reestablish themselves somewhere else. “We had to decide whether to cut bait and move out or go all-in,” Chris says. The family mulled it over and decided to stay.


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