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A Barnegat Bay house where you can watch the sun rise and set

The 3,000-square-foot traditional style house is situated between the bay and the Barnegat Wildlife Refuge.

The house has 20-foot floor-to-ceiling views of the water, plus a two-story fireplace.
The house has 20-foot floor-to-ceiling views of the water, plus a two-story fireplace.Read moreCHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer

The view from the 20-foot floor-to-ceiling windows in Mark Rybarczyk and Anabel Pichler’s Barnegat Bay beach house makes it feel as if you’re floating in the water.

When the couple discovered the home in September 2020, they thought that its location between the bay and the Barnegat National Wildlife Refuge would provide a relaxing respite from their house in Kennett Square, Chester County.

“You get the view of the blue from the water but also from the sky, and they reflect off each other,” said Pichler, vice president of Global Rewards at Global Foundries, a semiconductor manufacturing company based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. “We wanted something on the water, but not super touristy or busy. We both work a lot and wanted something calm and rejuvenating.”

The 16-year-old, 3,000-square-foot traditional-style house features water views from four of the home’s five bedrooms. The fifth looks out over the wildlife preserve. Their primary bedroom with an en suite bathroom is on the first floor, where through a wall of windows surrounding sliding glass doors, they often awaken to a magnificent sunrise.

Two fireplaces share a stone chimney that extends from the first floor den upward into the second-floor loft, a relaxing space, also with stunning water views. One wall in the otherwise white room is painted a rich, deep green. Pichler describes their design style as soft contemporary with clean lines, using color to complement their surroundings.

“On different days at different times of day, the colors of the walls match the color of the water exactly. It’s really remarkable,” said Rybarczyk, software developer of Chefcipes, a website that connects chefs with food lovers and home cooks.

The loft features a 60-by-47-inch painting that their designer Christina Henck found. “It says ‘beach house’ without being blunt,” said Henck, owner and senior designer at Henck Design in Queen Village. “It’s abstract but evokes the feeling of waves rolling onto the shore as the tide recedes.”

Although the home is mostly white, the variety of shades within the art pulls in three of the pops of color through the house — the loft walls, shiplap dining room ceiling and interior doors, and the kitchen island and hood.

The large open kitchen features a two-tiered island that serves as the gathering spot for the couple and their daughters, Kendall, 16, Kira, 19, and Alena, 21. The marble dining table has a wavy pattern, which feels like a continuation of the bay in the dining room, Rybarczyk said. He appreciates the high-quality kitchen appliances, especially the Viking stove.

“While Anabel and I are not big cooks, we have been using some of the techniques and recipes from Chefcipes to learn how to make new dishes, and that oven has made quite a difference in our results,” he said.

The couple enjoys entertaining family and friends or watching passing boats from the enclosed patio or back deck, which extends the full length of the home. A walkway extends from the wide patio around both sides of the house, and a natural bulkhead featuring large boulders extends to the waterfront.

“It feels so vibrant and lively,” Rybarczyk said. “Almost like being at the beach without the sand.”

The family’s favorite pastimes include watching sunrises over the bay and sunsets over the wildlife preserve. They also enjoy water sports, including kayaking, paddle boarding and windsurfing, though windsurfing is a work in progress, Rybarczyk joked.

Unfamiliar with Barnegat until they discovered the house, the couple have come to appreciate the area and their wonderful neighbors. They had planned the home to be a summer retreat but during the pandemic were pleasantly surprised by how much they enjoyed spending time there in the winter.

“Even if it’s cold outside, you still have that sun and blue sky that are coming in, giving you a very relaxing feeling,” Pichler said. “Sunrises are beautiful, and the way the light shines on the bay is stunning. You wake up and already you’re a happy camper.”

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