You might say Dan and Cindy Walsh like to plan ahead. In 1992, the couple razed their bayfront summer home in Ocean City and built a bigger house that could accommodate all their grandchildren. They did this despite the fact that they had zero grandchildren.
"At the time we had four children and no grandkids," Dan recalls. "But we built the new house in anticipation of having grandchildren."
Over the next few years, the grandchildren did in fact come along, seven in all. And the house the Walshes built was plenty big enough for all of them, not to mention their moms and dads and various friends and neighbors. It features more than 5,000 square feet of living space, seven bedrooms, six baths, two half baths and laundry rooms on the first and second floors.
Dan and Cindy live year round in Gladwyne, Pa. on Philadelphia's Main Line. But they've been vacationing at the Jersey Shore since they were kids. "I'm 73 and I'm pretty sure I've spent 71 or 72 summers at the Shore," Dan says.
The current house was built on the site of a modest Cape Cod the Walshes purchased in 1968. It's located on Bayshore Drive, near the end of a cul-de-sac lined with multi-million dollar waterfront homes.
"It was designed by architect John Snyder with a lot of input from my wife," Dan says. "We wanted a house that would be good for entertaining."
They got what they wanted. The cedar shingled house has multiple indoor and outdoor entertaining areas including an enormous great room, where Dan and Cindy have hosted dinner parties for as many as 24 people. There's also a huge second-floor family room for the kids and an immense mahogany deck that extends to the edge of the Sunny Harbor Lagoon.
The 7,000-square-foot property has 66-feet of lagoon frontage and includes a floating dock and three boat slips. The Walshes are avid boaters and longtime participants in Ocean City's annual Night in Venice boat parade.
"We won our division for Best in Show quite a few times over the years." Dan says.
The interior of the house evokes an old-time seashore feel, with lots of intricate woodwork including crown molding, solid wood doors and built-in cabinets and shelves. The great room features a gas fireplace, faux painted walls and oak floors that extend throughout the first floor. Three sets of glass doors open from the great room to the deck, which is partially covered and also has a retractable awning.
The kitchen has Corian counters, a two-level island with cooktop and custom cabinets. An unusual first-floor master suite has two bedroom-sized rooms on either side of a huge master bath that is divided into two sections. One section has a whirlpool tub, vanity and commode. The other has a walk-in shower, vanity and another commode. Closing the pocket doors in the bathroom creates two bedroom suites, each with a private bath. The master bedroom has a walk-in closet and access to the deck.
The second-floor family room has a vaulted ceiling, wood paneled walls and another gas fireplace. Glass doors lead to a large fiberglass deck overlooking the lagoon. Separate wings off the family room lead to six oversized bedrooms and four full bathrooms.
While Dan and Cindy have enjoyed entertaining their children and grandchildren over the years, they won't be playing host to any great grandchildren. At least not in their house on Sunny Lagoon.
"We're looking to scale down a bit," Dan says. "We'd like to find a place a little more manageable. We're going to sell this house, take a deep breath and see what happens."
An open house at this property, which is listed for $2.39 million, will be held Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information and directions call John J. Van Stone of Berger Realty, 609-412-9607, or Stan Duzy of Re/Max At the Shore 609-317-5035.
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