The Beach House from “Nights in Rodanthe:” Rescued!

by hookedonhouses on January 15, 2010


For all of you who have been following the sad saga of Serendipity, the inn from Nights in Rodanthe, I wanted to give you an update. The famous beach house sits on the edge of the Pea Island Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina’s Outer Banks and has been in danger of washing away.

Last year the house was declared a “public nuisance,” and things were looking grim for its future. Here it is as it looked in the Richard Gere-Diane Lane tearjerker, with the famous blue shutters:

Nights in Rodanthe-Serendipity

And here is how it has looked more recently, as storms eroded the beach front and brought the ocean right up under the house itself (source):

Serendipity-flooding after storm

When the house was declared a “public nuisance,” it meant that the owners would have to either move it or have it torn down (source). They had been trying to sell it for two years. Without any rental income coming in, it became a real hardship for them.  They told the Island Free Press that they had “everything tied up in this house,” and didn’t know what to do next.

Serendipity-wide shot from movie

Then came the happy news that a buyer had been found. Ben and Debra Huss had fallen in love with the house and were determined to rescue it. Yesterday I was excited to get an e-mail from them. Here’s an edited portion of that e-mail:

In April 2009 we went to Hatteras island to stay at Serendipity. Our intention was to rent the house for a week and enjoy the beach that Richard Gere and Diane Lane walked on. We were very surprised the house was not livable and the seriousness of the encroaching surf was going to destroy the house.

We decided to try to save Serendipity. We purchased the house and a coordinating lot on the ocean 7/8th of a mile south on Beacon road.

Our plans are to move the house this week and relocate it on new pilings around the 15th of Jan. We plan to restore it to the original splendor that it had in the movie.

Thanks to them, Serendipity is going to get a happy ending! They plan to start moving the house today, and there’s a webcam set up for anyone who wants to watch the progress (it tends to come and go, so check again if it won’t come up right away).

Many thanks to Ben and Debra Huss and all of the readers who have sent me updates from Hatteras Island on the state of the house. I will keep you posted as the house gets moved and restored.

UPDATE: See photos of the house being moved at (Thanks, Maggy!)

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Janet January 15, 2010 at 9:59 am

That is awesome! I am so glad someone is saving it. I can’t wait to see what it looks like when it’s moved. I may have to plan a vacation there! Thanks Julia, for the updates.
.-= Janet´s last blog ..Forceful Beauty =-.

Kirsten January 15, 2010 at 10:02 am

how exciting, and what a happy ending! fitting for the movie, no? ;) Now you’ll have to make sure you let us know when Serendipity is open for business, and we all need make a pinky swear that we’ll go & stay there. Thanks Julia – great post!
.-= Kirsten´s last blog ..It’s Official: I’m a Twit =-.

Christine January 15, 2010 at 10:15 am

I’m glad to hear that it’s being saved! This reminds me of a show I used to watch on the DIY Network, I think. It was about moving houses. They would follow the owners and movers from lifting the houses through the finished placement. I’d love to see this house being moved. Fingers crossed it makes it all the way!
.-= Christine´s last blog ..Construction =-.

Amy January 15, 2010 at 10:15 am

Thanks for sharing this interesting development!
.-= Amy´s last blog ..White Christmas: Southern Style =-.

Debbie January 15, 2010 at 10:15 am

Great great news – I was so sadden to hear the tragedy in losing such a beautiful home.

Kudos to the couple who have purchased it and their plans for it.

Are they planning on turning it into a rental or as a family home?

Please do keep us posted.

hookedonhouses January 15, 2010 at 10:18 am

It will be a rental that looks like the inn in the movie, so we’ll be able to stay there. Can’t wait to see how it turns out! -Julia

Robyne Ferri April 15, 2011 at 6:35 am

Oh how wonderful! I don’t think I’ve ever been so moved by a house in a movie! It’s a fantasy come true to think we’ll b able to go & stay there and that it will look just like the movie! Awesome! Thnx 4 this website and ur blogging about Serendipity! Robyne x

christy January 15, 2010 at 10:21 am

Wow that is so cool! And that is so neat that they emailed you the update – looking forward to seeing it on it’s new lot!
.-= christy´s last blog ..Matt ROCKS! =-.

Courtney @ Nesting Instincts January 15, 2010 at 10:34 am

how fun!!! I’m so glad they wrote you about it and are working to save it!! thanks for the update Julia!
.-= Courtney @ Nesting Instincts´s last blog ..happy new year! =-.

Becky @ Farmgirl Paints January 15, 2010 at 10:48 am

Oh I just love a happy ending. Too cool of house to have been washed away. That would have been awful. Thank heavens there are people out there with resources and a vision to preserve.
.-= Becky @ Farmgirl Paints´s last blog ..Forgiveness 101 =-.

Vanessa January 15, 2010 at 11:02 am

I wish tons of good luck to the people who bought it. A labour of love for sure. Can’t wait to see what they do with it. It needs a lot of TLC.
.-= Vanessa´s last blog ..Wine, Food and Beautiful Sofas =-.

anna see January 15, 2010 at 11:27 am

Wow! I’ll check out the progress when we are down there this summer. This is very exciting news.
.-= anna see´s last blog ..Parlez Vous le Spamais? =-.

Jackie W. January 15, 2010 at 11:34 am

Sounds like a episode of Hauling House.

rue January 15, 2010 at 11:49 am

Fantastic news Julia! I love happy endings :)

.-= rue´s last blog ..A walk in the snow =-.

Jen H. January 15, 2010 at 11:56 am

Great news! And how appropriate to the movie’s byline: “It’s never too late for a second chance.” I hope they keep you posted so you can continue to share its story!
.-= Jen H.´s last blog ..Some progress =-.

Kristen @ More Than Mulberries January 15, 2010 at 11:59 am

WOW! I think that the house will have full bookings if they restore it to look like the movie set – who wouldn’t want to stay there? That is terrific news and a huge project! Good luck to them!
.-= Kristen @ More Than Mulberries´s last blog ..Kids Bathroom Remodel =-.

rick nilson January 15, 2010 at 12:01 pm

I am glad to hear it. I have enjoyed painting your house, and I may paint it again after the move.
.-= rick nilson´s last blog ..Are you being served? =-.

Beth@The Stories of A2Z January 15, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Wow. That should be fun to watch! Thanks for filling us all in.
.-= Beth@The Stories of A2Z´s last blog ..Mantel Party #2 =-.

Morning T January 15, 2010 at 12:16 pm

I actually just saw this movie last week~ thanks for sharing this great news with us!

I have a little surprise for you, please check out my post today. Happy Friday Julia!
.-= Morning T´s last blog ..Spreading sunshine =-.

Robyns Online World January 15, 2010 at 12:34 pm

That is great that they are going to restore it! You know that house looks a lot like the one from Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, doesn’t it?
.-= Robyns Online World´s last blog ..Cookie Dough Shortage? =-.

Maya @ Completely Coastal January 15, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Impressive! And it still amazes me that houses can be moved!
.-= Maya @ Completely Coastal´s last blog ..Shellicious Steals from Etsy -Handcrafted Decorations under $20 =-.

Lesley @ TheDesignFile January 15, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Wow. This is absolutely phenomenal. I’m going to be hooked on this all day now!

It’s amazing that a house of this size could be moved — and without destroying it. Thanks as always for bringing us the most interesting homes and news!
.-= Lesley @ TheDesignFile´s last blog ..Design Translation: Help choose the bedroom =-.

Erin January 15, 2010 at 1:09 pm

So happy to read all of this! It is truly amazing how they can just move a house. I’m going to be watching that webcam! Thanks for the update!
.-= Erin´s last blog ..Elegant Turquoise Upholstered Beds =-.

Chris January 15, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Well, that just made my day! I couldn’t imagine it being torn down. I hope they restore the blue shutters…
.-= Chris´s last blog ..Word Verification =-.

Kim January 15, 2010 at 2:12 pm

I am so happy to know that this house is going to be saved. It saddens me when homes are neglected, abandoned or not taken care of.

Kristin January 15, 2010 at 3:00 pm

That was really good to hear. Such a beautiful house…!
.-= Kristin´s last blog ..Divine Bedrooms =-.

Jamie January 15, 2010 at 3:32 pm

How exciting! I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
.-= Jamie´s last blog ..January decorating: Grocery store style! =-.

missy Langley January 15, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Will you do the houses from the ABC show Modern Family? Love all three of the houses!!! Thanks

hookedonhouses January 15, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Love that show! I will do a post about it after the first season comes out on DVD. Thanks! -Julia

Kathy :) January 15, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Happily Ever After…….fantastic Julia

I have not seen this movie….I love those 2 actors….and WOW love that house…I am so happy she will be saved !!!

Thanks for this post…
Kathy :)

Brandy January 15, 2010 at 7:53 pm

I’m so glad to hear this. Watched the movie just the other day for the first time. Not what I expected I might add, but so glad the house is being saved.
.-= Brandy´s last blog ..Snow =-.

Diane at InMyOwnStyle January 15, 2010 at 8:16 pm

I love this house. The first time I saw it, I wasvacationing on the Outer Banks. I couldn’t believe it – it was perfect in my mind. Right on the water, not too grand, lots of character and the porches!!! I sat on the beach in front of it for quite sometime, dreaming it was mine. I just learned of it’s saga here on your Blog. I am so glad it is being saved.
.-= Diane at InMyOwnStyle´s last blog =-.

Michelle January 15, 2010 at 8:30 pm

I am so relieved! How wonderful for the homeowners and the new owners. Thanks so much for keeping us updated!
.-= Michelle´s last blog ..Guest Posting Today For Rue… =-.

Astrid January 15, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Yippee! That’s awesome that someone was able and willing to rescue that extremely interesting house!
.-= Astrid´s last blog ..Little Geologists… =-.

Renae Moore January 15, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Yay…so glad there is a happy ending. I hope the new location sits back a bit! It will be fun to see how the restoration goes!
.-= Renae Moore´s last blog ..Transparency and Perfection, Home Tour =-.

Outer Banks Revealed January 15, 2010 at 9:30 pm

It was very touch and go for awhile there. I believe four or five of the neighboring houses will be taken down. That Mirlo Beach area has always been exposed. When they first put Serendipity and the other houses up, it was very exclusive and had a pretty wide beach. When they tried to stop the Bonner Bridge from migrating, it ended up causing the ocean to scoop the beach away. Happy that the Huss’ saved it. You can see in the one picture that I believe one of the neighboring houses had just been resided … only to be comdemned. Sad. South Nags Head lost about 30 houses in that Noreaster’

– Dan
Outer Banks Revealed
.-= Outer Banks Revealed´s last blog ..Outer Banks Restaurants: Here are Taras Favorites =-.

Maggy January 15, 2010 at 11:29 pm

WRAL-TV in Raleigh is following the moving of the house .. here’s the story, along with a photo of the progress made so far:

hookedonhouses January 16, 2010 at 9:12 am

Thanks! It’s great to see photos of the move! -Julia

Annie@A View on Design January 16, 2010 at 5:47 am

huh – well this is fabulous fabulous news isn’t it. Thank god there are still some people out there with energy and will to keep these special places going, plenty of people have money (and could have afforded to do this) but it’s not just the money, its guts!
.-= Annie@A View on Design´s last blog ..All class on the Gold Coast =-.

Sarah January 16, 2010 at 11:30 am

This is fantastic news! A house is so much more than bricks and mortar; it’s a living thing. It’s so wonderful when others see that, too.

Kimberly January 16, 2010 at 1:02 pm

I’ve been fascinated with this house since my first visit to the Outer Banks. I’m from Michigan and watch the web cams in the area all the time dreaming if my return to North Carolina. I am so very happy to hear the house is being rescued and wish all the best to the family who bought it and plan to restore it. Thank You for your vision and dream. I will look forward to seeing it again someday soon.

Mrs C January 16, 2010 at 3:18 pm

What a relief to come across happy ending, this is far too spectacular of a property to let disappear, good luck to Ben & Debra Huss! Off to see if their webcam works!!
.-= Mrs C´s last blog ..Spiral Slide Staircase….my kids would go wild for this!!! =-.

Maya @ Completely Coastal January 16, 2010 at 7:41 pm

I’m so glad that there’s a happy ending (at least) for the house! And they’re going to do the interior after the film, that’ll be a feast for all of us -for movie , house and design lovers alike.
.-= Maya @ Completely Coastal´s last blog ..The Movie House Nights in Rodanthe is on the Move =-.

Jessica at Lavender & Lilies January 17, 2010 at 8:26 am

How great! Sadly beach erosion is a huge deal in the Carolinas. I have friends who had two condos and the beach shifted and they have no beachfront now. Also there are people in other islands with the same situation as Serendipity and the ocean is breaking on their houses. I’m so glad they are moving it. It’s such a spectacular place.
.-= Jessica at Lavender & Lilies´s last blog ..Alright I’ll Talk About It =-.

Tina Lawver January 17, 2010 at 12:35 pm

I just had to leave a comment and tell you how appreciative I am to this wonderful couple who is loving on this house. This beach and that community has had a special meaning to my husband and me long before a Nights in Rodanthe was created by Nicholas Sparks or Hollywood. I’m grateful that lil community has had some attention but sorry the attention, some of which, has been negative for them.
I’ll be vacationing there again this Fall in the same house we’ve gone to for many years and will look for ward to seeing what is new.
Thanks for posting this.
.-= Tina Lawver´s last blog ..hmmmm What to paint, What to paint…… =-.

Samantha January 27, 2010 at 12:20 am

I know both Ben and Debbie and they are amazing people!! I’m so excited that they bought this house to restore!!! Once it’s up and going as a rental I’m sure they will have a packed house!

Home January 28, 2010 at 2:29 am

I love beach houses especially this one. I have seen this movie and I fell in love the moment I saw the house. Thanks for posting this up!

Linda February 11, 2010 at 3:43 pm

I am so happy that this beautiful beach house has been saved. It’s absolutely amazing that they were able to move the house on sand!!

Gayle April 13, 2010 at 10:27 pm

When will the house be ready for rental and will it be like a bed and breakfast or can one rent the whole house for themselves for a few days? Please let me know.’

Gayle Walker

hookedonhouses April 13, 2010 at 10:33 pm

You’ll find rental information and photos of the renovation in progress here:


Candis May 30, 2010 at 8:55 am

Please keep us updated and let me know when it will be open for visitors. I would love to vacation there with my kids. Thank you and good luck

Katrina C. June 1, 2010 at 4:35 pm

My sister down there and we were taking pictures of the house moving…It was pretty awesome!
.-= Katrina C.´s last blog ..Going to pick up one thing, suddenly getting tons! =-.

Mary White August 22, 2010 at 2:49 am

I loved the film nights in Rodanthe,and could not get the house in the film out of my mind I felt that I wanted to visit it straight away but as I live in the UK not possible maybe one day, as i am hooked on this house hope the new owners restore to look as great as it did in the movie.,

rentalhousefan October 11, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Can you rent the house again? after the movie its probably impossible to effort, but it would be nice to know…

benda November 4, 2010 at 12:15 am

Hi, When i first saw this house in the Movie Night’S in Rodanthe,
Oh my i fell BIG time in LOVE with that house i think it is the way the wind blew the breeze thur the house, it has character of it’s own.
I would love to rent this house for a week my husband and I.
THANK YOU for saving the house.

andrew January 20, 2011 at 3:45 am

I’m glad the house is going to be saved. Is it going to open back up later for rent? If so I’d like to get more information please.

Ashley April 16, 2011 at 9:22 pm

I am so glad somebody is saving it! I loved that movie and fell in love with the outside of the in just for its originality. I looked it up hoping to go and stay in it someday. I was sad to hear that it could be gone and wasn’t livable now. I am very happy that I still have a chance to stay in it. Thank you!

dawn April 23, 2011 at 10:07 pm

here is the website for the house now that it is moved and fixed and it stays booked… take a look.

Ron R May 4, 2011 at 7:35 pm

So glad to see this house has a happy ending fit for Hollywood! I’m sure the new owners could have saved money by buying an existing house that didn’t need to be moved but it would not be so loved by so many.

crystal May 20, 2011 at 12:09 pm

i actually was at the new location and had got photos of it….its so beautiful

william September 6, 2011 at 8:13 am

Good thing the house was rescued! Looks like a breach was carved in the exact spot where the house sat previously due to Hurricane Irene 2011. This has to be the the same house:

hookedonhouses September 6, 2011 at 8:20 am

Wow! You’re right, William–it would have been a goner in that spot. Thanks for the link!

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