Although I was raised on the Jersey shore, I didn't appreciate at the time how lucky I was to be growing up in such a great environment. Higher education and then a career took me away for most of my adult life. I rediscovered shore life when my family and I started vacationing on Long Beach Island in the 1980's.

My wife, Jayne, and I decided that we wanted to find our way to a more permanent Jersey shore situation. We watched the real estate market carefully, but for years found ourselves saying "we should have bought that house last year." By the beginning of 2003, we had decided that real estate market would cool off only when we invested in it. So we took the plunge. We bought a small duplex with the plan to rent it to vacationers during the summers.

We were wrong again. The real estate market on the island continued to heat up to the point that the house, a perfectly good house, accounted for less than 20% of the property value.

Our original thinking was that five or seven years down the road we might do a major renovation or build new. But within months of our purchase the economic pressure to maximize that property value was already building. We also suffer from a periodic compulsion to build.

So, we seized the opportunity to once again make things more difficult for ourselves and embarked on a project to build a new house on the site.

The difference a year makes...

We have several home construction projects under our belts, but this one has given me the most muscle aches, been the most fun, and has generated the most stories and photos. (I am up to date on the photos, but way behind on the stories.)

My second compulsion is to photograph and document every detail. That's just me and this Web site is my expression.

I often get the feedback regarding this site that goes along the line: "wow, this is really boring!" I don't mind. This Web site is not intended to be entertaining or exciting for everyone, or even for a lot of people. I don't have the story or the talent to make this a mass market hit.

This site is for those few people "not bored by our endless details." I get questions and great advice through this Web site from people curious about building on sand, about white cedar shingles, about home automation and even Web design. It's been a great way to connect with new people and old friends. I've certainly learned a lot and continue to learn as a result. So please don't be embarassed if you're someone that gets as much nerd-like pleasure from this as we do. It's OK. We know that you're out there.