VIA Show House
A Dozen Designers Transform a Beach Cottage and You Can See It!
One of the most exciting architectural and design events of the year will happen during the first three weekends of May.
The 2014 Design House, at 46 Columbia Avenue in Rehoboth, presented by the Village Improvement Association, will be open to the public.
The house is a 1940s cottage that has gone through a super transformation. In fact, it has gone through several transformations in its long life and will now be on display for only three weekends.
What could be considered a swat team of a dozen well-known designers have been recruited to give the house an exciting makeover. They will have their way with the four bedroom home, apartment over the garage, a front and back porch, outdoor kitchen and more.
The house will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the weekends of May 2-4, 9-11, and 16-18. It will be open on those days from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tickets are $20 if purchased before April 26, and $25 after that date.
The Design House is a fundraiser for the VIA. Proceeds will benefit the Capital Campaign and pay off the mortgage for the renovation of the clubhouse on the Boardwalk at Grenoble Place. Additional proceeds will be used toward charitable giving.
What a history!
The story of 46 Columbia Avenue began with a soldier returning from World War II, who had a dream of founding a restaurant in Lewes. Eighteen year old Dennard Quillen, with the help of his well known Rehoboth Beach family, constructed the 1800 square foot building in Lewes in the late 1940s.
Sadly, the Lewes restaurant was a commercial failure, but the family moved the building to the lot on Columbia Avenue in the Pines area of Rehoboth Beach, where it stands today.
Over the years, many changes and updates were made to the historic building. Today, the house sits atop a newly constructed full basement, with its current footprint of over 3000 square feet. A grand staircase to the second floor provides access to two large dorm-sized bedrooms with a common bath. Finally a two car detached garage with a cottage apartment above was completed.
The Quillen family no longer had ties to the building when it was purchased in 1976 by Dian and Jay Stein, owners of Stuart Kingston Gallery Auction House. They purchased it from the estate of Louise and Ben Shaw. During the three years of Stein ownership, the house was a beach rental.
Then, in April 1979, Mr. and Mrs. Clem Conger became the home’s owners. Mr. Conger was the Curator of the White House and State Department Diplomatic Reception rooms from 1970 to 1990. The couple used the house as a beach home and for fundraising events—oh how we would have liked to see it then!
Loving to entertain, they added a rear porch and a bar in the basement recreation area bringing the square footage to 3,700. The basement décor was similar to a “tavern,” with tables, a sitting bar and a slate pool table. During the Conger’s ownership, the house was a social center in Rehoboth Beach.
The Congers sold the house to the Donohoes on November 30, 1995. The slate pool table and the rattan porch furniture conveyed!
Over the years the Donohoes have updated the home with central air conditioning. Walls have been removed for a more open design and the roof was raised over the kitchen for more light. A butler’s pantry, breakfast nook, and bedroom were integrated into the kitchen area. Finally, the garage cottage apartment was renovated in 2011 and is now used for the Donohoe’s family and friends.
Mr. Donohoe will be retiring shortly from his career as an attorney in Bethesda, MD. Following the Designer Showhouse transformation, Mr. and Mrs. Donohoe will make the home at 46 Columbia Avenue their full time residence.
Throughout the journey of the house on 46 Columbia Avenue, it has retained its charm and historical significance. It’s new beach house look will have been expertly and beautifully accomplished by very talented designers and the generosity of the Donohoes.
Don’t miss the chance to check out this historic gem and the exciting design work done to transform it into the perfect beach cottage. In addition, The Designer Boutique will be on site with home accessories and gifts as well as the Garage Boutique—the old and new of it with antiques.