When it comes to fine carpentry, a do-it-yourselfer can't compete with a trained professional. Unless, of course your name is Tom Weisbecker. Tom is a finish carpenter, a trade he learned from his father, Tom Sr. For the last 25 years, as a subcontractor for developer K. Hovnanian, Tom has installed the interior wood trim on new homes throughout South Jersey. He even lives in one of those homes, a four-bedroom house that fronts the meadowlands in Linwood. Since it was his personal residence, Tom gave the woodwork a little special attention.
"I put in a lot of crown molding, chair rails and wainscoting," he says. "I beefed up the staircase railings, put in solid pine interior doors, installed nicer cabinets and upgraded light fixtures. I have personal relationships with the subcontractors I've worked with over the years so I was able to get good deals on a lot of the interior features."
Tom, who was raised in Egg Harbor City, was living in Gulph Mills in suburban Philadelphia when he relocated to Linwood in 2001.
"At the time K. Hov had six or eight projects down here," he says. "I wanted to be closer to the jobs."
Tom purchased the two-story colonial with a stucco fa�ade new in 2001. It occupies a choice lot in the K. Hovnanian subdivision just down New Road from the Mainland Regional High School football field. It's the only house on Spatterdock Lane, a private street off Falling Water Drive.
Spatterdock Lane, named after an aquatic plant, dead ends at a man made canal that feeds into Patcong Creek, a tributary of Great Egg Harbor Bay. One side of Tom's property borders the canal. Another side overlooks a vast stretch of wetlands. A ramp at the end of Spatterdock Lane provides private access to the canal and creek and is ideal for canoeing, kayaking and fishing.
"I've caught striped bass right from my backyard," says Tom. "And I've identified 90 species of birds out back including a bald eagle."
The lower level floor plan includes formal living and dining rooms and an eat-in kitchen that opens into a family room, where a gas fireplace is flanked by built-in wood cabinets. A triple window overlooks the back yard and wetlands that extend to Patcong Creek.
"I love the sunsets over the wetlands and this time of year you get beautiful moonsets," Tom says.
Andersen sliding doors in the kitchen open to a 32-by-17-foot paver patio and a side door opens to a 16-by-12-foot wood deck. In the spring, Tom says the yard is alive with rhododendrons, azaleas, daffodils and tulips.
A natural oak staircase rises from the two-story foyer to the second floor, where there are four bedrooms, two full baths and a large laundry room. The master suite has a tray ceiling in the bedroom, two supersized walk-in closets and a three-sided gas fireplace built into a half wall that sets off a sitting room with another triple window overlooking the wetlands.
"In the summer I like open the windows and a nice breeze comes through," Tom says.
The master bath has double sinks, a corner whirlpool tub and a tiled walk-in shower chamber. A bedroom that Tom uses as an office has as hardwood floor and wainscoting and a soothing elevated view of the meadowlands.
"You have a great view out of nearly every room in the house," Tom says.
Outside, a concrete driveway leads to a two-car garage, where Tom keeps his beautifully restored 1965 Porsche 356.
Tom, who is single and lives with his faithful Cairn terrier, Rico, doesn't plan to leave Linwood when he sells the house. He may not even leave the neighborhood.
"I'm downsizing," he says. "I might build a smaller house on the lot I own right next door. It has all its approvals."
Or he might not. The adjacent lot, which also borders the wetlands, is on the market for $149,900.
For more information on this property, which is listed for $429,500, call Cathy Laltrello of RE/MAX Atlantic, 609-804-0280.
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