"Life is good” is the mantra repeated throughout the summer days by family and friends visiting this thoroughly renovated Shore house in Loveladies on Long Beach Island. And life is good for the family that summers there—Short Hills residents who spend the majority of the warm months down the Shore at their expansive bay-front home. A combination of patience and perseverance, along with the help of design professionals, enabled them to reach their ultimate goal: a summerhouse to relax in that has a strong sense of style but is not overwhelming. The family of four hosts near-constant gatherings of relatives and friends and wanted a place where everyone can pitch in and feel at home.

Situated at the end of a short drive, walking distance to the beach, the house had sweeping views of Barnegat Bay and a perfectly adequate layout when it was purchased in 2001. But it was missing that certain panache and personal touch. Armed with a confident sense of style and worldly knowledge gained through years of travel, the owners turned a ho-hum house into a spectacular getaway destination that rivals the luxurious resorts they’ve visited all over the world.

“When they first bought the house,” says interior designer and fine artist Nancy Jeffrey, who collaborated on the overall design, “we envisioned it as an old plantation-style home. So that’s the direction we went in.” Jeffrey owns Studio 211, Ltd., in Steamboat, Colorado, and had worked successfully with the homeowners on their house there, so it made sense to bring her in on the Long Beach Island project. Developing the proper color palette was the first step, says Jeffrey, a task she took on with fervor, painting all the walls and murals herself. The prominent earthtones, ranging from khaki to chocolate to espresso, provide a backdrop to the furnishings—overscaled, sink-into sofas and chairs, accented with art and collectibles gathered by the homeowners.

The showcase kitchen, an expansive open space with a gently curved island, now allows for multiple cooks. The massive dining-room table is frequently filled to capacity.

While the first-floor common rooms  often teem with the hustle and bustle of guests, the second floor master suite is a study in calm. The serene space includes a deck off the bedroom that gets frequent use and affords the homeowners a private sanctuary.

Outside, the attention to detail really shines. The existing landscaping when they purchased the house was rather run-of-the-mill. The starting point was the traditional-style pool, which was completely redesigned with a modern shape that lends itself to the large groups the family often entertains.

The homeowners were looking for something new and innovative, says Mark Reynolds, who owns Reynolds Landscape Design in nearby Manahawkin with his wife, Peg. With the directive of creating a resort-like setting with the indoor-outdoor lines thoroughly blurred, Reynolds proceeded to bring in a bevy of plants and flowers to foster the tropical feel.

“We created a landscape that’s all about texture and color, often brilliant color,” he says. “It’s a big property, and every inch is in color.” There are plenty of perennials and grasses that survive year to year, along with four types of hydrangeas, myrtle trees, tropical palms, ragusa roses, black-eyed susans, sedums, and hibiscus.

The Reynolds even planted pineapples. Says Peg, “There’s a timing to it. All of us were a little afraid that first year, but now we plant all-new pineapples every year. And they get eaten!”

The end result, both inside and out, is a glorious vacation destination that has become the go-to house for the owners’ friends and family without leaving the state.