For a slideshow of the Burris home, click here.
Several years ago, one of Bill Burris’ friends let him in on a little secret.
“He told me that one of the secrets to a happy life is to own a Shore house – it’s a great way to make sure your kids will always want to spend time with you, even after they’ve grown up and moved away from home,” says Burris.
So Burris set out to make a Shore retreat – an exquisite family compound – for his wife, kids and grandkids to enjoy. He designed it with customized charm and super-modern amenities, everything a family needs to live a dream life at the beach.
Burris and his wife Linda are the parents of two adult children. And since they are both builders with decades of unmatched experience, they knew right away this wouldn’t be just any Shore house.
The couple already owned a prime piece of land on Long Beach Island, nestled at the very tip of the exclusive community The Dunes. The hallmark of the lot on North Old Whaling Lane, which they purchased in 2001 from The Dunes founder James Brogdon, is the breathtaking, awe-inspiring view overlooking a wide part of Little Egg Harbor Bay, unobstructed by islands.
Burris says that after the family’s original home on the property suffered extensive damages during Superstorm Sandy, he set out to build “the ultimate family compound. We wanted a home that would have space to provide the togetherness that families enjoy while at the Shore, but also space for everyone’s privacy.”
After a whirlwind six months of construction, the end result was undeniably the most magnificent home on LBI. With approximately 10,000 square feet, this majestic Shore retreat strikes that perfect balance of comfortable and inviting entertaining space with luxurious personal quarters that Burris so desired. To put it simply, every inch of the home is jaw-dropping.
“We hired architect Jeffrey Wells, and from the very beginning he understood our vision,” says Burris. “He came up with a genius design that exceeded anything I could have imagined.”
The genius design, says Burris, masterfully blends four distinct living units. Each stunning unit – complete with two bedrooms, two and a half baths, a family room, sitting room and laundry center – opens to a center common area with a soaring two-story great room with unrivaled, 180-degree views. The grand bank of floor-to-ceiling, hurricane-proof windows – stretching an impressive 25 feet – make this stately space feel like a private oasis in the middle of the bay.
“When you walk into the great room and see the southwest view – it’s almost indescribable,” says Burris. “It’s truly the best view of the bay you can find.”
And while it’s difficult to pull your eyes from the sweeping panorama outside, the room’s impeccable décor encourages you to sit down and revel in the company of family and friends in the laid-back, carefree atmosphere that’s synonymous with the Shore.
The architecturally detailed tray ceiling, monumental fireplace, media wall encased in a furniture-quality custom surround and Mohawk porcelain flooring are all signs that this room – and entire home – was designed and decorated by the best.
“We hired Meridith Baer, the premier home stager in the Hamptons, to come in and put her touch on the home and tie everything together with coastal-inspired hues and design elements,” says Burris. “Absolutely no detail was overlooked.”
An avid sports fan, Burris also made sure he put his own personal stamp on the great room with the addition of three state-of-the-art, flat-screen televisions tastefully hung above the fireplace.
“We’re a sports family. We love basketball, hockey, football, baseball – all the Philly teams,” says Burris. “I wanted to be able to watch more than one game at a time, so three large TVs was a must. If it’s a lucky year, three Philly teams might even be playing at once.”
On game days, the adjoining kitchen has everything the Burris family needs to entertain a group of fellow fans – and perhaps even an entire team.
By all accounts, the Burris family knows a thing or two about designing kitchens – they were winners of the 2007 HGTV Best Kitchens in America award for the stunning cooking space in their former Moorestown home. Even with that impressive track record, Burris opted to bring in renowned designer Joanne Hudson to ensure that every last detail was perfect in the $400,000 kitchen at the waterfront estate.
Fit for a master chef – or a family of chefs – this culinary creation is unlike any other kitchen you’ve ever seen. The crown jewel is the stunning island that comfortably seats eight and is topped with a massive 8-foot range hood that is nothing short of a work of art.
And if that wasn’t impressive enough, the island flawlessly incorporates a stainless-steel oyster bar with built-in drains, a deep fryer, induction cooking unit, infrared grill, gas cooktop units, steam oven, microwave oven and convection ovens. It is by very definition a dream kitchen.
“We had to have the island custom made, and it turned out to be exactly what I had hoped. We can all work side by side without getting in each other’s way,” says Burris. “It has everything we need to cook for a large group of people or just make pancakes for the grandkids on Sunday morning. And you can’t beat the views while you’re cooking.”
Those gorgeous vistas of the bay – it’s no surprise the kitchen also boasts them – also include a birds-eye view of the large deck with stairs down to the cabana, terrace, fire pit, Zen garden and an exterior landscape that was artfully created by award-winning designer Jon Van Allen.
“We opted for low-maintenance plants and artificial turf that are perfectly matched with the property,” says Burris. “You truly don’t need to do anything or go anywhere to maintain it – all you have to do is relax and enjoy.”
Burris also took steps to include a one-of-a-kind pool, surrounded by incredible travertine stone, that guests and family members of all ages would love.
“My son is a champion swimmer, so he wanted a saltwater lap pool. We worked with professionals at Anthony & Sylvan Pools to design the 25-meter resort-style pool on the south side of the property,” says Burris. “You can relax and float around or you can get in your morning laps, so it’s ideal for families.”
If life in – or on – the water is your idea of a good time at the shore, the premier property is an ocean-lover’s paradise.
“There are 273 feet of lifetime vinyl bulkhead framing the 15,000-square-foot property,” says Burris. “That offers four personal watercraft ports, and an 80-foot dock for boats on the lagoon side and a 60-foot yacht slip on the bayside, with deep water all around.”
With all those exhilarating water toys comes the need for ample storage, and the home has it in abundance. There are four spacious garages designed to easily accommodate 10 to 14 cars under the house. Those garages are also heated and air conditioned – powered by two separate, high-end HVAC systems – and insulated with closed cellular insulation to a point above base flood insulation and waterproof interior sheathing so everything remains in mint condition.
“Two of the garages also have garage doors that open to the rear of the property, so there’s access for equipment, party rentals or whatever else needs to get into the back of the property,” says Burris. “It’s another one of those little details that sets this house apart from others.”
An elevator from the garages will whisk you directly to the rooftop deck, where on a clear day you can see for miles and enjoy the magnificent LBI sunset the way it was meant to be seen. That rooftop deck is just one of the home’s ten grand viewing balconies, including an ultra-private deck off the plush master suite that occupies the entire top floor.
The master suite, like the three other palatial living units, spares no detail. There’s the luxurious his and her bathrooms, complete with high-end fixtures and intricate tile details, not to mention the pillow-soft Karastan Beauty Trend carpeting underfoot. And again, at every turn, those remarkable southwestern views of the bay.
And while the views and thoughtfully designed features are what you’re instantly drawn to in every room, what you don’t see is just as impressive, says Burris.
“Each living unit has its own high-efficient HVAC unit, along with a top-of-the-line water heater and Maytag washer and dryer,” says Burris. “The entire home is also insulated with the R38 spray foam in all the ceilings, R28 between the garages and the first floor and R24 spray foam the entire thickness of the 2″ x 6″ exterior wall framing. We also used 5/8″ fire-code drywall for safety and Andersen hurricane exterior doors and windows. It’s literally the best of the best materials you can get.”
Burris says that attention to detail and commitment to exceptional materials led him to add sound insulation between all the units and bathrooms. “It’s just another detail that proves this is truly a family compound – you can be in the room next to your kids and grandkids and never have to worry about disturbing each other.”
And though Burris built every inch of this majestic Shore retreat with his family in mind, life has a funny way of changing plans when you least expect it.
“My son recently accepted a job in California, so he and his family have moved across the country. My wife, daughter and I are still able to enjoy the home, but it’s not the same. Without the ability to have all of us under one roof,” Burris says, “we made the difficult decision to put it on the market.”
“Building this home was a labor of love, but it was meant to be a family compound, and I hope another family will learn to enjoy it as much as we have,” he says. “I have no complaints or regrets about this home – it is by far the most amazing property you will find anywhere at the Shore.”
12312 Old Whaling Lane Listing Agent:
Coastal Living Real Estate Group