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River Living - The Scharers
10/27/2009 - By A.J. Perna
Photography by Al Kruper
Monmouth County Natives Settle Down Along the Banks of the Shrewsbury
Each school day for many years, Richard and Gale Scharer had driven their children from their home in Middletown to the Rumson Country Day School, growing fonder of this borough between the rivers with each trip. Eventually, the Scharer children graduated from Rumson Country Day and moved on through high school, and the family was content to stay in Middletown. In 1992, on a July 4th day trip through Rumson, however, Gale stumbled upon and fell in love with a 10,000- square-foot farmhouse that was in desperate need of repair. Soon after, the Scharers had a new reclamation project, a new home, and a new town.
For 6 years, Richard and Gale remodeled and resided in that farmhouse, but they found that such a large house was too much space for two people and, deep down, there was still something else they really wanted. Richard explains that he and Gale “were two Monmouth County kids who had always dreamed of owning a house on the water.” The Scharers wanted to stay in Rumson, and a search for that home on the water quickly led them to a 4,000-square-foot colonial set on more than an acre and a half of property that backs right up to the banks of the Shrewsbury River.
This new home had potential, but Richard and Gale had a lot of work to do to turn it into the real river house that they desired. The first order of business was to reclaim the land. The property was overgrown with reeds, which the Scharers cleared; then they proceeded to truck in tons of soil and plant scores of beautiful trees, bushes, and flowers to create and enhance their desired look and feel. Next, they needed to remodel the house to take full advantage of the river views. Interior walls were removed to open up the floor plan, banks of large windows and glass doors were installed, and an architect redesigned the back portion of the home, adding a gazebo, decks, and a two-story, three-season wraparound porch.
The final result is the epitome of Jersey Shore “river living” – a home on a quiet street with privacy on all three sides and the most spectacular view of the river. The Scharers take full advantage of their home all year ’round. Swans and egrets can be found roaming the backyard’s lush vegetation during the summer months, and the winter offers an expansive view of ice skaters enjoying time on the frozen river.
Gale sums it up nicely – “It’s just a lovely place to live. Look around. What could be bad?”
The Scharers have held their fair share of parties on their picture-perfect property, and have even allowed a newly married couple to shoot their wedding pictures in the gazebo and around their backyard.
Visitors are greeted by an impeccably landscaped front yard, set off by a charming short fieldstone wall, accented with brightly colored flowers.
Richard and Gale removed an entire wall to open up the master suite and help create a stunning sunrise view. A marble master bath with a glass shower and double vanity is just a few steps away.
The perennial gardens have been planned down to the last detail – from the seating on the bulk headed riverfront down to the array of whimsical, hidden treasures that dot the property.
The warm, cozy family room and casual dining area have plush leather seating, wood floors, a full brick fireplace, and sweeping views of the river.
Gale loves antiques but admits that there is no particular rhyme or reason to her collections…she just knows what she likes. Pieces from her collection of restored antique mirrors can be found on walls throughout the home.
The hardwood floors flow from the foyer to the formal dining room, where a custom-cut Strauss crystal chandelier sways above the sturdy mahogany table. Prominently displayed in the breakfront are circa 1880’s fish-themed plates from the “Queen Wilhelmina of Netherlands” collection.
The bright, open kitchen features a double-wall oven, wide black granite countertops, and a center island.
The Scharers’ custom octagonal, two-story wrap-around back porch is covered, top to bottom, with cedar planks. It is a sight to behold from both inside and out.
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