Jesse and Mandy Zimmer’s Surf City home is all about the roof-top views.

With miles of beautiful traditional coastal homes that extend from one end of Topsail Island to the next, what do you do when you want a modern beach house with clean lines and no design excess but can’t find one? You design your own — at least that’s what Jesse and Mandy Zimmer did.

Kitchen Surf City NC House Peek Inside
Distinctively nestled on the second row in Surf City, the house at 106 Charlotte Avenue is the only one of its kind in the area and boasts unmatched, unobstructed views where guests can experience breathtaking views of the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean and sunsets over the Intracoastal.

With no architectural design background, Jesse Zimmer just knew what he wanted in a house. He drew his inspiration from the contemporary style.

“I’m a plain lines kind of guy,” he says. “I worked with Mike Howington of Howington Building Group to make it happen.”

House Rooftop Message Surf City NC
The first thing you notice about the house is the roof, or lack of one, so to speak. Among its gabled neighbors, this house features a flat rooftop that doubles as a 950-square-foot deck, the perfect gathering place, morning or evening, to watch the sun. “I don’t think there is anywhere else on the island that can compete with the views,” Zimmer says.

The only semblance of a roof is the one on the elevator shaft of the upper deck, which supplies the substrate for another unique feature of the home: a simple message of support and appreciation to the military men and women who routinely fly overhead that reads “Thanks for your service.”

With helicopters, Osprey and other military aircraft flying overhead from surrounding military bases like Marine Corps Air Station New River, Camp LeJeune, Cherry Point Marine Corp Air Station and Seymore Johnson Air Force Base, Zimmer wanted to pay tribute to them. But, he admits, “I’m not sure if it’s big enough for them to see. It always seems like when you are at the beach the planes fly so low.”

Peek Inside Surf City NC House

Zimmer’s personal homage is fitting for an area already rich in military history with Operation Bumblebee, the secret U.S. missiles testing projected that operated on the island during the 1940s and nearby Camp Davis, where the WASP, Women Airforce Service Pilots, were trained to fly American military aircraft for important radar deception missions over the coast of Topsail Island.

In addition to the rooftop message, Zimmer is installing a flag on the roof of the cabana by the pool.

The house on Charlotte Avenue was only recently finished in March 2020 and became available for vacationers to rent in May. It boasts 3,700 square feet of well-appointed rooms and entertainment spaces including six bedrooms — two of which are masters, four baths, two half baths, a theater room, and a large open living and dining room space.

Peek Inside House in Surf City NC

The backyard offers everything, a private pool with a heater, a hot tub, a cabana with seating, fans and lighting and an outdoor shower.

It might seem like nothing can top all the amenities — except those amazing rooftop views. From this single spot, you can see the Intercoastal Waterway, the ocean and the Surf City Bridge and pier. Check it out for yourself at

Photography by Studio 910 Productions

About the author

Melissa Slaven Warren

Melissa Slaven Warren

Melissa Slaven Warren is a freelance writer who lives in Southeastern North Carolina. She earned her BA in English from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and is currently pursuing her Masters in Liberal Studies from UNCW. She’s been a freelance business writer, feature article author, non-fiction essayist, technical editor, entrepreneur, product and brand manager. Her work has appeared in Our State magazine and she is a regular contributor to local publications. In her spare time Melissa enjoys water sports and coastal living with her husband Bill and 110 lb. rescue dog, aptly named Bear. Visit her website at