American reality shows other than Idol don’t translate well in Japan, so I have been missing the proliferation of design content on HGTV and other networks. No Design Star or Million Dollar Decorators have been able to tempt me to watch them. That is, until they all started to visit my decorating backyard, better known as Asbury Park, New Jersey. Asbury has many famous associations, perhaps Bruce Springsteen and The Stone Pony being the most obvious to my generation, but it is also a historic beach community that has been riding a roller coaster of redevelopment as of late. The boardwalk and the downtown area along Cookman Avenue are in an upswing of renewal, filled with delicious restaurants and design shops joining long-standing antique stores (more on those in my next post). By far the best of these new shops is Gene Mignola and Scott Hamm’s Shelter Home, as the three lucky episode winners on HGTV’s Design Star discovered.

Design Star has a basic Project Runway type format. Each week a challenge is offered up and the designers compete to impress judges. One participant wins, one loses and leaves the show and the rest remain to compete the following week. Last week’s episode had the designers redecorating a bed and breakfast in nearby Spring Lake, NJ, either paired up or in one case, tripled up. While the pairs got regular bedrooms to work with, the trio of Meg, Mark and Karl got a suite. They had a slow start in making a cohesive plan, but got off and rolling as the show progressed.

Here’s the before photo of the winning room. Not much to work with, other than the expansive layout of the larger suite.

And here is the winning after view. Almost everything of note in the room is from Shelter Home – the couch, Buttercup chair, throw pillows, print, rug and more. You see now why I called the winners lucky. They were the only ones to shop at Shelter Home and the room would be nothing without it. Karl did do a beautiful job with his free form painted “paneled” walls, subtly evoking the beach and skyline. And I also enjoyed the very Tom Scheerer-like rope sculpture and arrangement Mark put together.

Here is a photo of the winning trio. Ironically, the thing I liked least was the favorite of the judges, the sleeping area designed by Meg, using fabric from Designer Fabrics on Route 35 in Ocean, an unassuming but great fabric store I use all the time.

Currently, Shelter Home has the same couch as the one featured above, a queen size sleeper called “One Night Stand” in the shop in grey.

Meg, Mark and Karl used the octopus print in green and it is also available in red. Not shown in any of the photos above is their use of the Algues wall sculpture, designed by the Bouroullec brothers, and here hanging on the wall of the store.

In addition to the items used on the TV show, Shelter Home has so much more to offer. They have a sample of every Dash & Albert pattern, which is lovely as the colors are so hard to judge on the website, as well as many of the rugs for sale in the smaller sizes.

There is also lots of John Derian decoupage, hard to find outside of his eponymous store in NYC.

Every color Point A La Ligne candle.


The largest selection of Alessi in the state.

The Chin Family of timers and salt shakers, designed by Stefano Giovannoni and Rumiko Takeda, is the result of a collaboration between Alessi and the National Palace Museum of Taiwan. While these little fellas are Chinese…

Don’t they remind you of modern Japanese kokeshi dolls?

Shelter Home is also stocking a shin-hanga inspired line of cards, like this one, by Ryo Takagi, particularly at their secondary location, a seasonal kiosk shop in the grand arcade of Convention Hall along the Asbury boardwalk.

If you can’t visit, take a look at their website as many of the items mentioned above are available for sale.

Shelter Home
704 Cookman Avenue
Asbury Park, NJ 07712
Phone: 732.774.7790
Fax: 732.774.7799

Watch for my next post as Design Star isn’t the only HGTV show to visit Cookman Avenue recently…