A Phoenix Rises at Ocean's Edge
By Veronica Russell
Published: 02/09/2009  Updated: 08/14/2019
The custom staircase made with African mahogany and Cambodian maidu burl accents is a focal point outshined only by the magnificent view from center stage in the Beckerman's living room, while details in wood, stone and glass create a natural  harmony and a cohesive style throughout the home.

A dramatic landscape from the private master suite offers views of Maxwell Mountain and Three Arch Rocks as they dip into the sea. From the stunning staircase to the elaborate tile work in the kitchen backsplash, it's evident that much attention to detail was paid in designing this home.
"The one thing I did not want 
this house to be is serious. 
I believe it is most important in 
life to have fun right now."
It's all about the details in the Beckerman's home, like the hand-carved wooden drawer pulls and bathroom countertop in the master bath.
The custom staircase made with African mahogany and Cambodian maidu burl accents is a focal point outshined only by the magnificent view from center stage in the Beckerman's living room, while details in wood, stone and glass create a natural harmony and a cohesive style throughout the home. A dramatic landscape from the private master suite offers views of Maxwell Mountain and Three Arch Rocks as they dip into the sea. From the stunning staircase to the elaborate tile work in the kitchen backsplash, it's evident that much attention to detail was paid in designing this home. "The one thing I did not want this house to be is serious. I believe it is most important in life to have fun right now." It's all about the details in the Beckerman's home, like the hand-carved wooden drawer pulls and bathroom countertop in the master bath.  Gary Hayes

As if resurrected from days of old, a 72-year old classic beach home becomes a shining star in the hands of this dream team of artisans and a pair of homeowners with a vision.

Pull up to Gary and Janet ­Beckerman's vacation home in Oceanside and you might not realize you're ­looking at a home nearly three quarters of a ­century old. Not surprising to the ­Beckermans. Their recent renovation project included a redesign, remodel or revamp of nearly ­every square inch of the home. Where once stood a typical 1937 oceanfront beach home, complete with ­craftsmanship and details true to the ­period, now stands an updated masterpiece decked out from head to toe in exquisite wood, tile, and stone detailing.

The Beckermans bought the home in 2003 as a vacation rental. After some relatively minor updates to the home they began renting it out to Oceanside ­vacationers, yet they found themselves continually drawn to the home. A few steps inside and you realize why. This home, sitting atop a sea cliff, offers an unobstructed tableau of the vast ocean framed by high windows that make up nearly the entire westward face of the home. As you stand in front of the windows taking in the view, it's easy to imagine you have the entire ocean to yourself. The Oceanside coastline sprawls out beside you, the ocean goes on forever in front of you and Maxwell Mountain takes a dip into the sea in plain sight. "There was just something about this place," said Janet, "something about the view and the natural beauty here that made us fall in love with it." The ­Beckermans saw potential in this home, like one of the many unpolished agates that Janet picks up on the sand below. And so their journey began.

In 2007, they ­decided to take on the ­monumental task of completely renovating this gem in the rough. They pulled together a team of ­professionals including design ­experts Mike Eggelston from Shoreline Designs in Lincoln City and Ed Overbay from Overbay HouseWorks in Astoria to guide them through the process. Eggleston had helped the Beckermans on other renovation projects. "He has x-ray eyes," said Gary Beckerman, "the man can see through walls and he has such an incredible sense of vision and spatial relations, I don't know how he does it." Eggleston and Overbay helped the Beckermans to envision and design spacious and livable areas, yet keep the renovations within the envelope of the local building codes. "We didn't want to make major disruptions to the structure," said Gary, "we really wanted to keep it as close to original as possible."

Remodeling an older home can pose some challenges. "One of the challenges," said Overbay, "is the adaptive re-use of space" to accommodate such things as modern appliances and "needs that didn't exist when the original house was built." To make better use of the available main floor space, for example, a large guest bedroom was downsized, freeing up space for a modern laundry room and to enlarge the downstairs bathroom.

In this home, you can't help but notice all the special design touches throughout the home and Janet gives due credit to her husband where some parts of the design process are concerned. "Gary is the designer of the family," she said, "he is responsible for choosing all the right fixtures and other design elements so that everything is ­coordinated." But, it's the team of Janet and Gary that makes this home unique. While Gary contributes his sense of sophisticated design, Janet's input is all about injecting some fun into the mix. "The one thing I did not want this house to be is serious," she said, "I believe it is most important in life to have fun right now." She illustrates this philosophy throughout the home with quirky splashes of fun like her three-foot tall metal sculpture of a rooster made of old car parts that makes its home at the base of the home's grand staircase.

If the panoramic view from the ­enormous living room windows is the star of the show at the Beckerman's home, it is the staircase that is the understudy vying for the spotlight. Master ­woodworker Ed Overbay, (whom Janet dubbed her ­"director of good taste"), was initially hired to create a custom staircase for the great room, but was soon asked to play a much larger role. His signature work ­utilizes combinations of wood and geometric design elements to tie together multiple areas of the house. Overbay used a combination of African mahogany with Cambodian maidu burl accents on the staircase and the custom mantelpiece and living room cabinetry. His exquisite woodwork overflows into the kitchen with custom cabinets and matching vent hood made of maple with madrone burl accents. The front door is an Overbay signature piece in solid African mahogany accented with Seedy Reamy glass and custom carved dentil shelf details.

In addition to Eggleston and Overbay, the Beckermans hired what they consider their dream team of contractors, sub-contractors and artisans to complete their project. The tile work throughout the home was done by Andy Toth, from Tillamook, whom the Beckermans called a true artist because of his painstaking attention to detail. Toth is responsible for the striking tiled floors made of honed and gauged slate and the backsplash in the kitchen composed of colorful stacked slate tiles with the occasional intermingled glass accent tile.

A group of contractors from Tillamook, Bob Jacobsen, David Kelly and Dan ­Larsen, contributed their expertise throughout the project in finish ­carpentry, ­structural and exterior work like the expansive ­hardwood deck overlooking the ocean.

The fireplace surround made of ­rough-hewn basalt was built by David Rael, a stone mason from Portland who hand-chiseled the blocks of stone on site to create a custom focal point in the room. Rael personalized the fireplace by incorporating two special stones into his design, one from each of the Beckermans, securing in stone the contrasting, yet complementary styles of the home's owners. Gary's stone, a smooth ocean-polished piece of basalt was found on the beach, and Janet's smooth red rock is one she picked up along a dirt road in Africa on a recent trip she took with her son.

Upstairs, the view from the expansive master bedroom and sitting porch rivals that of the main floor, overlooking the sand and sea below with a perfect view of Maxwell ­Mountain and Three Arch Rocks in the distance. The master bath features more custom woodwork by Overbay and more of Toth's tile work including the large custom shower with a pebbled floor and slate walls accented by a wide strip of clear glass stacked tiles set at eye level. This master suite was a new ­addition to the house. "I wanted my own private space," said Janet, who plans to have a bookcase with a secret passageway into the room built in front of the door. "We share the rest of the home with our guests, but this part is just for me." Janet is anticipating grandchildren one day and she fully intends to bring them here and show them the secret doorway. "I will be the fun grandma who lets them put their feet on the couch and shows them the way through the hidden doorway!"

The Beckermans credit their dream team of professionals for creating such an astonishing transformation and ­accomplishing such a smooth project. "Each of these guys has his forte," said Gary, "and it went together so much better than we ever imagined."

Their 3300 square-foot gem in the rough became a polished beauty with an additional 800 square feet of space, a revamped well-defined style and a view that leaves nothing to the imagination. "We wanted this home to be special," said Janet Beckerman, "one that looks like it has really been loved." Mission accomplished.
A Phoenix Rises at Ocean's Edge