THE LAWS OF NATURE DICTATE that only in our dreams can we be in two places at once. But the design of this magnificent beach house in Water-Sound, a planned community on Florida's Gulf Coast, begs to differ.
Inspired by New England's “great places by the sea,” architect John R. Kirk introduced a taste of Yankee style to this tropical setting.
Strategically placed cedar shingles on the flared “skirt” dividing the home's upper and lower levels say Cape Cod, while a gracious wraparound porch and deep overhangs are a nod to the home's location on Southern soil. Ample glass reflects a Floridian sensibility; asphalt roofing and hurricane-proof fiber-cement siding reflect Floridian practicality. Mixing historic architectural styles can be a risky proposition, Kirk notes, so restraint was paramount in keeping this beach house on the casual side. “If you're trying to do a traditional house in the modern era, scale is one of the trickiest things to carry off. Our goal was to keep it domestic and very simple while providing everything that people want today,” he says.
There is a visual rhythm to the architecture, giving this home full right to its nickname, “Singing Sands.” Base moldings, wainscoting, chair and picture rails, and crown moldings align with windowsills, heads, and mullions. Outside, rafter tails align with window and door casings.
Functionally, the home is equally inspired. Designed to comfortably accommodate a multigenerational family, it boasts 4,200 square feet of interior space and 2,600 square feet of outdoor living space on its porches and balconies. A spacious second floor holds four bedrooms—each with its own bath—not including a bedroom over a semi-detached garage. A day room on this level also has a sleeping bunk that can be pressed into service.
We'll be right over.
Category: Custom, one-of-a-kind, 3,500 square feet or more; Entrant/Architect: Cooper, Robertson & Partners, New York; Builder/Developer: The St. Joe Co., Jacksonville, Fla.; Landscape architect: EDAW, Atlanta; Land planners: EDAW, Atlanta; Robert A.M. Stern Architects, New York; Interior designer: Suzanne Kasler Interiors, Atlanta
KID-FRIENDLY Architect John Kirk says one shortcoming of many new houses is that they lack the quirky spaces and hideaways that kids love. Not so in this beach retreat. The house has plenty of built-in nooks and crannies, including a third-floor bird's-eye perch carved out of the roof and attic. Like a participant in a game of hide-and-seek, the lookout post peeks out from under a shed dormer. A rooftop observation deck is also a favorite spot for young visitors.