Laid-back Cape May retreat suits couple’s needs and interests
Former 6ABC morning personality Liz Matt now pursues her passion for painting in the Shore town she loved while growing up.
Liz Matt and Steve Mushinski have found paradise in a seashore condo tucked among greenery in Cape May but easily accessible from South Jersey and Philadelphia.
There are ocean breezes, gorgeous landscaping, and a lifestyle with a glorious blend of ease, abundant charms of the historic Victorian town, and memories for Liz of years past at the Jersey Shore.
“We feel pretty lucky," said Steve, who makes occasional trips to the Parker McCay law firm in Burlington County, where he has had a long career representing municipalities and school districts.
Liz can often be found painting on the home’s expansive front porch. Art has become a passion since she retired from her very public life as a 6ABC morning TV personality paired for years with Wally Kennedy.
“We both loved it,” said Liz, who spent mornings with celebrities and guests from all walks of life.
These days, her audiences often are curious neighbors and, in season, beachgoers, who pause at the couple’s charming porch for a hello and a look at her latest project.
Recently, she was working on a delightful painting of three little girls, inspired by Liz’s nieces as they swam at a community pool, just as she herself did growing up in a Philadelphia suburb.
Now her “studio” is a welcoming Cape May home, which beckons as sure as the seashore does. The couple have created a laid-back retreat that suits their love of cozy spaces, no-fuss living, and most of all, flexible spaces for multiple uses.
“We saw that we could create several rooms in one,” said Steve, who knows a bit about efficiency from his family’s much-loved and popular restaurant, the Country House in Pemberton. Though the restaurant no longer is operating, Steve became a formidable chef before and even during his professional legal life.
“Steve cooks every night,” said a grateful Liz, who is involved in various community and philanthropic endeavors. One of her most active missions is with the North Philadelphia Kroc Center, which offers potentially lifesaving water education to children.
In Cape May, the couple love their garden, their proximity to the U.S. Coast Guard Station, and the town’s renowned beaches.
The home itself meets the couple’s need for a “cook’s kitchen" with great views at one end, a comfy living room, and an office economical in space with its multipurpose desk.
Their home is decorated with art acquisitions from the venerable Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts shows and beloved finds from the Bahamas, where Liz and Steve spend as much time as they can manage. They also like to patronize regional craftspeople.
One of their great joys is that their son, Hank, and his wife have chosen to live on the very street in Cinnaminson where they themselves lived as newlyweds. Both loved the neighborhood, and their son’s memories matched theirs.
In a sentimental gesture, these parents lovingly refinished Hank’s childhood bed for their Cape May house, transforming it into a shabby-chic room centerpiece. Another highlight in the home’s guest room is a Bahamian-made valance that accents an upstairs window.
The couple’s love of Cape May is enhanced by family — specifically Liz’s sisters — that is both geographically and emotionally close.
When the chill winds blow, Liz and Steve head to their other home on the west coast of Florida, getting the best of weather year-round.
“Home is very important to us,” Liz said. “Both of us have worked hard, have loved our work.”
And yes, she said: “We’ve also loved our homes.”
That love shows in Cape May, where their home has been rehabbed, repainted, and furnished with repurposed pieces.
“Once you’ve worked in a family restaurant,” Steve noted with a smile, “nothing else seems too great a challenge!”
Is your house a Haven? Nominate your home by email (and send some digital photographs) at email@example.com