J. Sarno

Owner of
- February 2013

Hi Mike,

Island Cottage Survives SandyI built your Coastal Cottage Design (the Island Cottage) over 10 years ago. My family and I have enjoyed the home very much and we live on a point on the bay with water on both sides. We have weathered many bad storms in this house and we really owe it success to your design. The roof plays a huge role in protecting us from nor’easter storms which hit us often.

This is our primary residence. Recently we were hit with hurricane Sandy – the eye hitting our community directly. Homes on either side and many more were destroyed by the ferocious wind and waves. We were left with some cosmetic damage, lost stairs and railings, but structurally we are okay and are currently up and running in our home while, unfortunately, most of the community is abandoned.

Thank you for designing a heavy-duty house. Check out YouTube – put in Tuckerton, NJ Sandy. You will see your design under direct attack in the storm. Also, the picture was on Fox, CNN and many other newscasts around the country. Most of this community calls our house the blue lighthouse and uses it as a landmark and GPS and radar setting for their boats. Anyway, thanks Mike.

Hurricane Sandy News Report

Update – February 2015

Houzz Review: J. Sarno, Owner of the Island Cottage

I came across Mike’s designs after looking for about a year for just the right design to fit on my bayfront lot along the southern New Jersey coast. The site is very exposed to extremely harsh weather conditions. Flood waters, wave action and very high winds are commonplace on the site, which forms the point that juts out into the bay. Mike’s design of the Island Cottage fit perfectly on our site. The hip roof, which makes up a large part of the architecture of the building, not only serves an aesthetic look but also serves an important function in deflecting the commonplace 70 mile-per-hour-plus wind-gusts that we get here on the site and is one of the most important features of why the design was chosen.

As someone who had the pleasure and experience of building his own home, Mike’s Island cottage became a labor of love. It’s symmetry in the framing process made it a pleasure to build although the hip raptors and commons required a lot of patience, especially on this windy site.

Island Cottage Satellite ImageI have now lived in this home for the past 13 years and in that time the house has kept us safe and we have survived some incredible storms, notably Sandy. Our community was directly struck with an enormous storm surge that took out over 300 homes. Unfortunately, we lost our neighbors around us, but we survived even though we were struck by debris of other buildings breaking apart and massive waves that struck our house. That’s a testament to its designer and all the great craftsmanship that were involved in putting her together.

Currently, we have been fortunate and consider ourselves very blessed to have survived Sandy, but again it had a lot to do with the overall design and strength of the of the home. Most of the people in the community where we live call us the blue lighthouse since the roof is a blue aluminum standing seam roof. Many fishermen use the home as a landmark and Mark their GPS to our home.