A HUMBLE BUILDING MATERIAL pretty much tells the story of architect Jim Strickland's beach cottage in the Florida panhandle community of WaterColor. It's No. 2 pine, and it's used just about everywhere in the funky, 2,250-square-foot house: on the floors, on the walls, on the ceilings. “It's not finger-jointed, shiplapped, not even cypress-select,” says Strickland, founder of Historical Concepts in Peachtree City, Ga. “We wanted to build something that we didn't have to worry about. The last thing we wanted was to do a beach house that had marble and all the accoutrements of some grand, custom house.”

All that yellow pine is a fitting backdrop for the kind of casual, sleep-a-crowd house that Seaside, Fla., builder Jerry Miller put up for Strickland (and which recently won the Southeast Building Conference's Aurora Award for interior detailing). Covered with a corrugated metal roof and clapboard siding, the cottage has the simple charm of an early 1900s fish-camp hideaway, but with cleverly concealed modern amenities. The first floor, anchored at the front with a covered porch complete with operable shutters, features a casual living/dining room that sits opposite an open, vintage-style kitchen. Beyond that are three bedrooms and two and a half baths. Upstairs there are two bathrooms plus a large sleeping loft that has cozy “Jeffersonian beds” built into the dormers.

COME ON IN: The front porch sets the tone at architect Jim Strickland's Florida beach cottage, a guest-friendly house in the panhandle community of WaterColor. Operable shutters and plenty of comfortable seating turn the porch into an all-weather, outdoor living space.
COME ON IN: The front porch sets the tone at architect Jim Strickland's Florida beach cottage, a guest-friendly house in the panhandle community of WaterColor. Operable shutters and plenty of comfortable seating turn the porch into an all-weather, outdoor living space.

“We've had as many as 17 people spend the night here, although 10 is more typical,” says Strickland, the father of two and grandfather of four. “It's really exactly what I wanted to have, but didn't have, when I was a child. This is a place where the grandchildren can jump up and down on the furniture, spill ice cream, and scream and yell. It's really a family place.”

Location: Seagrove Beach, Fla.; Size: 2,250 square feet; Architect: Historical Concepts, Peachtree City, Ga.; Builder: Jerry Miller LLC, Seaside, Fla.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Atlanta, GA.