In 1990, Dr. William Wixted was perfectly happy living in Somers Point. His house was just a stone's throw from both his medical office and Shore Memorial Center, where he practiced urology.
But when a prime piece of real estate in nearby Linwood came on the market, he decided it was an opportunity he couldn't pass up. Or maybe it was his wife, Jeanette, who decided. In any case, the couple built their dream house on a ¾-acre partially wooded lot on Linwood's prestigious Gold Coast.
"My wife negotiated the deal," says Dr. Wixted. "And then she designed the house."
Actually, it was architect Joe Courter who drew up the plans for the colonial style 4-bedroom, 3½ bath structure. But Jeanette had a lot of input into the design. It was her idea, for example, to have a supersized two-story foyer
"She loved ballet and she created a grand foyer where she could display her paintings of ballet dancers," says Dr. Wixted. "She also wanted the bridge between the master bedroom and the two kid's bedrooms."
The nearly 5,000-square-foot house is just three doors down from the meadowlands and bay that separate Linwood from Absecon Island. It was built by Jeanette's father, Ed Hahn, who in addition to being a builder also owned a car dealership in West Atlantic City.
"It's built like a fortress," Dr. Wixted says. "Whatever the plans called for my father-in-law upgraded it. If it called for 2-by-4 walls, he put in 2-by-6 walls. He put in steel I-beams to support the floors. As a result we don't even hear nor'easters and we didn't sustain any damage from Sandy. It helps that we're on high ground, 24 feet above sea level."
But it was the secluded location that most appealed to Dr. Wixted.
"The beauty of the house is the grounds," he says. "It's very private. We have a lot of mature trees. We planted the holly by the pool and some Canadian hemlock in the back. But the huge 100-year-old hollies, white pine and Scotch pine were all there when we bought the property."
Given the fact that, at the time, the Wixteds had two school age children, it also helped that the house was within a walking distance to the Bellhaven Avenue Middle School and Mainland Regional High School.
The center hall design features a large formal dining room and an office/den on either side of the foyer. Toward the back of the house an enormous eat-in kitchen has two islands, granite counters and custom European cabinets. French doors in the kitchen open to a screened back porch that overlooks an in-ground swimming pool. A first-floor bedroom has access to a full bathroom.
On the second floor a curving second-floor bridge looks out over a great room with a wood-burning fireplace flanked by two sets of French doors that lead to a slate stone patio. Columns make for an elegant transition from the foyer to the great room and dining room.
A second front entrance opens to another foyer where a staircase ascends to a lavish master suite. The master bath has an oversized whirlpool tub and a walk-through closet has two entrances.
An extra large room above the garage, ideal for a rec room or gym, has a vaulted ceiling, exposed beams, skylights, and glass doors to a large deck.
A window in the walk-up attic, which is accessed from the mater suite, has a great view of the meadows and bay.
"That's my $300 window," Dr. Wixted says. "I didn't want it but my father-in-law said I had to have it. The view is great but it's not like I'm going to go up in the attic just for the view."
Other upgrades include red oak floors that run through much of the house, multiple zones of hot water/baseboard heat, solid wood doors, and central vac, sprinkler and security systems. There's also an oversized two-car garage and a full unfinished basement.
While Dr. Wixted has no plans to stop practicing medicine, he has decided it's time to sell his Gold Coast property. And it's not just the fact that his kids are grown and out of the house. It has more to do with Jeanette, who passed away five years ago.
"The house, with all the memories, was kind of like a shrine to my wife," he says. "Practically speaking it was time to move on. And it's way too big for one person. I really didn't want to leave but it was time to move on."
For more information on this property, which is listed for $899,000, call Carlo Losco of Balsley Losco Real Estate at 609-646-3207 extension 125 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Size: 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths