The first impression conveyed by the custom-built, extremely elegant three-story, six-bedroom, six-bath residence that overlooks the ocean at 114 S. Surrey Ave. in Ventnor, now being offered at an asking price of $2,100,000, is that it’s the sort of home you’d more expect to see on a country estate than just off the boardwalk. In fact, its owner and designer, CPA Enrico “Ric” Ballezzi, would agree that “it’s not your typical beachy style house.”
That’s because when he built it back in 2001, Ballezzi says he was striving for a look that would “fit in more” with the luxuriant character of the historic St. Leonard’s tract neighborhood of Ventnor. But its appearance, as he also points out, can be a bit deceiving, in that “people who love the beach are going to love this house as well,” which he says was specifically designed to take full advantage of its location, including ensuring that every room—even the master bathroom— offers its occupants an ocean view.
An example he cites of the sort of practical considerations that went into its planning was how he reacted when the builder talked about installing an outdoor shower of the kind that has become standard for homes within walking distance of the beach. To Ballezzi, however, that didn’t sound quite good enough. Instead, he had a fully equipped bathroom with an outside entrance added to the exterior, not only giving members of his family, friends and guests the benefit of that convenience, but even inviting his neighbors to utilize it whenever they were so inclined.
But then, coming up with ways to make life at the shore as convenient as possible was largely what inspired the design of this house from the get-go, Ballezzi’s original purpose in buying and building on this particular lot having been to provide his mother with a home where she could live full-time at the beach. Only rather than equipping it with an elevator, which she didn’t want, he and his brothers decided that the first floor could be made into a self-contained apartment for her, complete with its own kitchen, living room and laundry room, along with two bedrooms, one of which is a master suite. But the best part was that it opened onto a wide, colonnaded patio facing the ocean with direct access to the beach, where, as Ballezzi recalls, “she always said she felt like she was in heaven.”
“The rest was basically built for me and my brothers and kids,” he says. That resulted in the placement of yet another living room on the home’s second floor—a rather spacious one, adorned by a built-in gas-burning fireplace—flowing into an expansive dining room and kitchen area, complete with a deck overlooking the beach and boardwalk, as well as a guest bedroom suite.
The upper floor was reserved for the remaining three bedrooms, including a second master bedroom suite featuring a Jacuzzi in the bathroom with its own ocean view, a walk-in-closet and dressing room that Ballezzi has used as a home office (even installing a porthole window over his desk that also looks out on the Atlantic), two other bedrooms with a shared bathroom between them containing separate sinks, and a second laundry/ utility room.
Other features incorporated into this luxury seaside retreat are a two-car garage, with a driveway large enough for three additional vehicles, beautiful hardwood and tile flooring, an exquisite stained glass front door with matching windows, a full complement of high-end stainless steel appliances, multi-zoned central air conditioning, landscaping, and verdant front and side yards with a sprinkler system. In addition, should a prospective buyer be interested in acquiring any of the present furnishings, a lot of them would be negotiable.
Ballezzi also points out that the home comes with a rather unusual attribute shared by neighboring St. Leonard’s Tract beachfront properties —an arrangement dating back to the 19th Century and the original deed, which gives the owner “riparian rights” to 1,635 feet of the ocean’s surface from the low tide mark. So “essentially, this is a private beach, which we give the city the right to use and in exchange they do the maintenance,” he says.
But the “phenomenal and breathtaking” views the house offers are what its current owner finds most captivating, noting that what he likes best about it is being able to get up in the morning and take a stroll on the boardwalk. Another exciting aspect of living here is the opportunity to watch the planes participating in the annual Atlantic City Air Show do their maneuvers directly overhead, as well as the 4th of July fireworks display from the front decks. In addition, both the neighborhood and the neighbors are “great,” as is the environment of Ventnor, which, as he points out, is a lot livelier, particularly in the off-season, than that of many other beachfront communities, especially given the revitalization and “restaurant renaissance” that have been underway here in recent years, with many local eateries and shops being just a short walk from the house.
Although they plan to stay within hailing distance of the boardwalk, Ballezzi and his family have now decided they no longer need all that space. “I hate giving it up,” he says,” but I want it to go to another family who will love this home like we have and realize how practical and convenient as well as exhilarating it is to live here.”
If you think the next family to come to that realization might be yours, you should waste no time in arranging for a tour by calling either listing agent Paul A. Hartman or Todd Gordon of BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors at their respective cell phone numbers, (609) 271-7337 or (609) 553-5098. You can also contact them at their office number, (609) 487-7234, or email Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org.