Welcome to the Beach

Welcome to the Beach

A Potomac couple’s custom-built home in Bethany sleeps 16 and features lots of cool coastal accents

| Published:
Photo by Stephen Walker.


Photo by Dana Hoff.

For nearly 25 years, Tom and Lisa Kloster kicked off and wrapped up the summer in Bethany Beach, Delaware. The Potomac couple loved to escape the grind of their busy lives in the D.C. area for a slower pace on the coast.

“The minute you get on Route 50, you sort of feel like you are away. Everything just falls off you for a little while,” says Lisa, 54, the chief financial officer for a consulting company in Tysons Corner, Virginia. “Coming down here, you park the car and you don’t ever drive again. Everyone is just a little bit more relaxed.”

The Klosters typically rented for three to four weeks a year in the family-friendly resort town. In the summer of 2009, they stayed in a house designed and built by Marnie Oursler, the host of DIY Network’s Big Beach Builds and president of Bethany Beach-based Marnie Custom Homes.

Something clicked.

The house was just the right size. They liked the open concept and contemporary feel. They’d always dreamed of owning a place at the beach and had grown weary of living in someone else’s space. So the search began.

The Klosters spent the next five years consulting with Oursler and looking for the perfect location to build a custom home. Empty lots were rare, and existing houses, if priced right, went quickly. After missing out on a few, the couple realized they didn’t need to see a house first if they were going to tear it down.


The great room is decorated with light natural colors and textures. The coffered ceiling adds dimension, and pillars help define the spaces.


So in October 2014 they bought a 1960s-era duplex without setting foot inside. The property was on a relatively quiet street lined with cherry trees and featuring a median strip, so it didn’t feel dense. It was a block from the beach and a block from the commercial strip downtown.

The Klosters signed a contract with Oursler that New Year’s Eve, and construction began in June 2015. On the lot, which is 40 feet wide and 113 feet deep, the Klosters squeezed in about 3,500 square feet of living space that sleeps up to 16 with five bedrooms, a loft and 5½ bathrooms. They wanted enough room for their teenage daughters, Caroline and Katie, to bring friends and for the house to be the site of an annual beach week for extended family.


Left: In the kitchen, the Klosters went for a timeless look, with clear glass light fixtures over the island to create an unobstructed line of vision. The iridescent mother-of-pearl backsplash brings in a touch of the beach.
Right: A mudroom off a side entrance was essential to have a place for sandy towels. A washer and dryer are nearby. Beach houses often don’t have a pantry, but the Klosters wanted a place to keep chips and cereal off the counter and tucked away so they put a pantry in the mudroom.


The project was completed on schedule in March 2016. “We were thrilled to have a home after talking about it for years,” says Tom, 58, the chief financial officer for a health care technology company based in New Jersey.

The Klosters named the house “It’s About Time” with a double meaning in mind. “It’s about time—as in, finally, we bought a beach house. We’ve been thinking about it forever,” Tom says. “The other side is that it’s about spending time together, about being here and getting away.”

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