By BILL BARLOW
Michelle and John Kennedy have long wanted a house in Sea Isle City.
They’ve been coming to the resort for decades, and for about 10 years, lived in a side-by-side duplex.
“It was always a dream of ours to have a single,” said Michelle Kennedy.
It can be tough to find a single-family house in Sea Isle, she said, so when they found the right spot, they jumped at the chance. She said they did not consult their family or talk to their friends. They just put in an offer.
Working closely with a builder and architect, they created a vision for a new home built last year at 6504 Pleasure Avenue. It combines elements from their lives and fits their vision. The former house was demolished, replaced with a three-story home Michelle Kennedy helped plan and design.
“I grew up in North Carolina and we lived in Boston. I wanted to incorporate the feel of both places,” she said. “I wanted something different and a little more modern, but nothing too crazy.”
In an interview, she explained they went beyond Sea Isle’s requirements for trees and plants. She said she sees so much concrete and stone near the beach, she wanted more plants.
“I’m all about the flowers. I think it adds to the house. It adds to the neighborhood and it adds to Sea Isle,” she said.
Apparently, members of the Sea Isle City Environmental Commission agreed with that assessment. Michelle and John Kennedy’s house was one of eight properties to receive a 2019 Beautification Award in the 32nd annual contest.
Dudley McGinty, an environmental commission member who oversees the awards, said the contest allows homeowners to showcase their properties and transform their neighborhoods into something “even more appealing.”
“We’re just acknowledging anyone’s hard work to upgrade their property and to help make Sea Isle an even nicer community,” McGinty said.
The contest is open to businesses and private homes. Residents and visitors nominate properties based on their overall appearance, attractive architecture, landscaping or those which maintain an eye-catching appearance.
“We were so excited,” Michelle Kennedy said. “I was really thrilled and honored to get that award.”
She said the design of the house echoed the Nantucket style, including in the shape of the decks. From North Carolina, she said, pineapples were incorporated into the light fixtures. The fruit has been a symbol of welcome in that state and throughout the south, an association that reportedly dates to Colonial times.
The house is larger than the one it replaced, with a third-story deck and a built-in garage. Kennedy said the garden is important to her.
“I work hard on it. I’m always planting and gardening,” she said.
John Kennedy works for Lincoln Financial in a job that requires extensive travel. Michelle Kennedy said they have seen places around the world.
“We always return to Sea Isle. It’s our happy place. When we come across that bridge, it’s just a happy place to be,” she said. “It’s a great town. Great people. Great friends.”
Following are all the winners of the Sea Isle City 2019 Beautification Awards:
- 6504 Pleasure Avenue, Michelle and John Kennedy
- 39 82nd Street, Richard and Mary Pfau
- 7901 Pleasure Avenue, Bob Austin
- 32 61st Street, Heather and Paul Baldini
- 312 47th Place, the Hollingsworth family
- 9108 Pleasure Avenue, Kara and Justine Grady
- 9400 Roberts, Townsend Shoals Condo, Nancy and Ron Kovatis
- 6013 Pleasure Avenue, East and West, Diane and Chuck Muvdi and Renee and Ken Bull