By Linda Lewis
If you have been dreaming about spending your summer days relaxing at the beach, our featured home meets all the criteria for easy living. This expertly designed home is casually sophisticated with an understated beach house feel. Situated on a corner lot on Gulf Blvd., in South Padre Island, it is just steps away from the beach.
Like most urban dwellings and new builds on the island, the footprint of the home makes full use of the lot. However, this is a deep lot, and the setback allows for an extended driveway. Our tour begins at this attractive entrance to the home. The driveway is textured stamped concrete stained with a brown color that gives the surface a mottled appearance.
The driveway color is complemented by the brown paint on the metal garage doors. Having two garage doors, and two separate driveways allowed for a strip of grass between them that breaks up the monotony of double wide concrete driveways. The garage doors are designed to imitate wooden carriage house style doors. They provide the warmth this style offers without the maintenance. The addition of tropical plants creates a welcoming introduction to this home designed and built by Erickson Construction with interior decoration by Deyanira Erickson.
The overall style of the home is a minimal/modern Italianate or Tuscan. These are the design cues:
• The quoins (pronounced “coins”) on the corners of the building. Quoins were originally made of large stone blocks fitted into the corners of a building. They were modernized for stucco homes and are now usually made of styrofoam or concrete board.
• A second floor balcony with a wrought iron railing. Think Romeo and Juliet.
• An earthy yellow/gold color sometimes known as Naples Yellow. This color was adopted by the Old Masters (artists) and was identified as a color in the English language in the 18th century.
• Arched windows paired with rectangular windows.
• A low pitched roof with terra-cotta clay tiles.
Like historic homes in Italy, this home is built to withstand the test of time and the elements. It has sturdy cinder block walls that have had their open cells reinforced with additional concrete. The block is finished with a Cantera style stucco. All windows have impact resistant glass.
To the left of the garage door there is a barred gate that opens to an enclosed courtyard. It is not enclosed by solid walls, but a combination of solid and open barred fencing. This gives the courtyard an open and spacious feel. Rustic travertine pavers, in a herringbone pattern, lead us into the patio area. Travertine is a form of limestone that often forms near hot springs. Minerals from the springs are deposited and harden over time, forming unique patterns and colors.
An inviting swimming pool with a waterfall feature and a shallow water lounge area will be entertainment central on hot summer days. An added advantage is that the waterfall does double duty as a bench, so you can sit and dangle your feet in the flowing water. You can while away the hours on the bench style seating, inside the pool, when total immersion is required.
The main entrance to the home is through a set of sliding doors. This is a practical design choice that saves space, provides natural light and a great view of the pool, as well as easy access to the patio.
The time spent inside a beach home is about relaxation, recreation and being together with family and friends. These priorities are reflected in the open layout of the home. The kitchen, dining area and living area are together in one large open space. When the sliding glass doors are opened, the space merges with the patio and becomes an expansive indoor-outdoor room.
Beyond the intangibles mentioned above, a beach home needs to fulfill certain practical criteria. It must be easy to maintain, and durable enough to withstand heavy use. Materials were selected that would weather and build character in a lovely way. Natural organic materials have been utilized almost entirely on the first floor. They typically last longer and hold up better to everyday wear and tear.
The entire first floor is tiled with Scabos, a Turkish travertine tile. This tile has distinctive shade variations in yellow and gold. It is installed in a “French” pattern made up of four different sized tiles. If you like this design, you will be happy to know that the tiles are sold in “bundles” of tile that will cover 16 square feet. Four 8-inch by 8-inch, two 8-inch by 16-inch, four 16-inch by 16-inch and two 16-inch by 24-inch tiles are included in each bundle.
As a design element, natural materials provide interest and texture. A contemporary caramel colored split wood table is flanked by nut-brown high back woven sea grass chairs. A large theater style sectional sofa, covered with mottled brown leather provides the ultimate seating for watching the big screen.
The kitchen countertops are a stunning Blue Bahia granite. The mineral composition of this granite is 45-50% Sodalite, 30% Plagioclase (Feldspar) and 20% Microline. Sodalite is a rich royal blue mineral widely used as
an ornamental gemstone. It is a light, relatively hard mineral. Although sodalite is well known for its blue color, it may also be grey, yellow, green or pink and is often mottled with white veins or patches. Selecting this distinctive stone, is like adding jewelry or a piece of original artwork to you home. The bank of cherry wood cabinetry (with concealed hinges) is the perfect backdrop for the counter and backsplash.
The natural materials create an overall neutral color palette punctuated with accents of red and blue. In this scene, color and texture coalesce to create a harmonious whole.
This harmony is carried into the first floor master bedroom. You’ll have dreamy island nights on the gorgeous four poster bed inspired by British colonial style. The carved posts and insets of fiber woven in a herringbone pattern add texture and dimension to the room. The calm continues into the en suite bathroom where you can enjoy one of the two separate vanities or relax in the spa shower. You’ll be wowed by the onyx tile in the shower and on the countertops.
The mood changes dramatically on the second floor, because it is the children’s realm. An explosion of vivid color and pattern greets you at the door of the very individualistic bedrooms and en suite bathrooms. Colors like shocking pink, purple, turquoise, and patterns like stripes, camouflage, and paisley enliven the spaces. What’s not to love! There’s also a second living space on the second floor so the kids will be free to raise a ruckus away from the ears of the adults.
Sometimes you have to make choices between different practicalities, and it only seems to make sense to carpet the stairs and second floor when there are children running wild in their own space. They’ll feel like they are still at the beach when they run on carpet that looks like wind-furrowed sand.
If there is an overarching theme in this beach house, it’s simplicity—from the hardy materials to the uncluttered layout and functional design. There isn’t a “razzle-dazzle” moment in the design of the house. Its beauty lies in the deftly executed, understated elements of its functional design. That beauty is complemented by the interior decoration. This team has focused on the essentials in this home’s design as simply and directly and purely as possible.