Metro Weekly


Mike and Gary's charming Cape Cod home in Rehoboth Beach, DE

Take a stroll with the flamingos at this charming two-story, 4 BR, 3 BA Cape Cod in Rehoboth — includes an outdoor shower for the nature lover. Perfect for entertaining indoors and out! Relax poolside, or in the 12 man hot tub — the ample trees and bamboo provide all the privacy you could need.

Mike Wells and Gary Bowman began vacationing in Rehoboth in 1985, and bought a condo there in 1994. When Gary retired in 2002, they did a swap — now they keep a condo in Northern Virginia and their primary house at the beach.

MIKE: [In the living room] We read the Sunday paper in here and watch the people in the pool. The little barrel chairs are new. The folding bed belonged to my grandmother. My father refinished it. My stepmother did a little research on it — it was manufactured somewhere between 1898 and 1928. It had a feather tick mattress on it, but the frame is such that I don’t think I want anybody to sleep on it. The clock we bought when we lived in Omaha.

GARY: We used to have a huge house in Omaha

MIKE: This seashell I gave to Gary for our anniversary. And the glass came from John Acconi for our anniversary. We had 120 people here for our 25th anniversary party in 2003.

GARY: We’ve had several parties for 100 or more, but I’ve always done the food. That was the first time we had one catered and I loved it.

MIKE: The picture [on the wall] is by Gary’s favorite artist, Steve Walker. I was in Florida at the Sun Coast resort [in 2000] and he was down there doing a signing so I bought that and had him sign it for our 25th anniversary. I had it shipped up to a friend of ours who stored it for me [until 2003]. It wasn’t until after we bought the house and decided on the color scheme and furniture that I had it framed and matted so it would blend in.

GARY: [In the family room] And here’s our collection of Lenox Ladies and Lenox Birds. We started collecting the Ladies back in Omaha in 1980. They’re kind of expensive and we had enough of them — after a while they all got to be alike. So we started collecting the birds because they were smaller and cheaper.

MIKE: The plant and the sailboats and the fish on the mantle and the clock all came from a condo, so this room is pretty much a mish-mash of different styles and different times.

[In the backyard] When we moved in, we had just enough room to walk around the pool and a 3-foot-tall picket fence around the pool. But we wanted a private backyard, so we had a paneled fence installed and we did landscaping to shield us from the neighbors. We added the hot tub and the deck and the little corner piece here to the pool. In the concrete we added the radius on the back fence and enough on the sides so that we could put lounge chairs.

We had a fragrance garden put in at the hot tub. Everything there is fragrant at different times of the year. Witchhazel, which is the first to bloom in the spring, then gardenias and night-blooming jasmine. The bushes are also fragrant, so all through the spring and summer there’s a different plant blooming and a different fragrance. It makes it very pleasant to sit in the hot tub.

GARY: When we moved here there was no landscaping. There was a big spruce there and two huge hollies in front. So everything else has been added. The bamboo and the 24 arbor vitas give a bit more privacy in the back.

MIKE: There were six arbor vitas when we put them in. The tops were at the top of the fence line, so they’ve grown almost a foot a year. They’ve grown almost three feet since we moved in, so they are very happy here.

GARY: And they’ve blocked out all the neighbors. And we have flamingos around the garden. Very tasteful flamingos, though.

MIKE: My goal is to have a flamingo garden — not the pink plastic ones. The tin one that you see by the bird bath is by a local artist. The wicker one was purchased locally but I don’t know if it was made here or not. And the little ducks are made from roots that we got on a trip to Dallas at a Malaysian import shop, I believe.

GARY: They’re from roots of a tree. And one of them had a bow when we bought it and the bow is still there.

MIKE: We had a heater installed for the pool so we could extend the season. We were out here for the last weekend in April, we’ve had company from Virginia through the end of September, and maybe even October.