willowbrook farm

historic yellow springs

Beach House Inspiration

The construction of a new house is truly an amazing thing, especially when one was under the assumption that they would be renovating a precious family gathering spot. A place that had been visited for almost twenty years, first when rented and then when it was purchased at an auction for it was two doors down from the house where one’s family had spent their vacation for the last thirty years. A place that I wrote about in a blog post a couple of years back entitled A Sense of Place.

 

The foundation of this house had roots that ran deep as did the people to this house and this island. I had walked its coastline in high school with my sister and our best girlfriends, all of us singing turn around bright eyes from Bonnie Tyler’s famous Total Eclipse of the Heart, at the top of our lungs, the waves lapping at our feet and the full moon overhead burning that memory into our minds forever. My husband and I then brought our babies here to vacation every summer where my parents, four siblings, their nine children, and all of our one, then two, then three, four and five children stayed under one roof. We bunked up, we slept on floors, air mattresses whatever… to all stay together in this place that held so much magic for us. At a certain point, our extended family of 25 outgrew the house and started renting another house two doors down, which eventually became ours and quickly turned into another beloved family gathering place where we all came together, year after year.

 

Given how our family was growing, we were in the midst of renovation project when a hurricane hit nearly three years ago. What began as a nine month renovation turned into a tear down and rebuild that’s spanned two years.

Various renditions of the architectural plans from first the renovation and then the total new build architect’s first pass. Notice my very official notes and drawings!

This process went back and forth, back and forth and when we brought in the talented help of Melanie Smart from Smart Design Studio who could provide us with 3D Cad drawings, it was a total game changer. I was now able to convey to Melanie what I was envisioning in my head that she could put into a realistic format where I could visualize it. I am a total visual and this helped tremendously and her talent to understand what I was envisioning was par none!

I would like to take you through the inspiration, the design process and the build whose new roots are firmly planted and intermingled with the old to create a place for the future. Having never built a house from the ground up and focusing all the design that I have done thus far towards restoration and utilizing old objects in new design, this experience has been a true learning curve, both for myself … and the builder! Imagine trying to get specs for glass doors that were ordered from a vintage salvage company that are shipping from overseas when all of the doors “are a little different.”  I’m certain that the builder is thinking, “So which ones are we getting? for that is kind of important for me to know!”

Pinterest, again, became my best friend as did my tear sheets from magazines. Gaining inspiration from both sources, I compiled folders of ideas and pinboards to fuel my own work and help me decide on the elements that would dictate the feel and design of this house… a sense of place for future generations.

Natural wood beams and floors…

Natural reclaimed stair treads…

old reclaimed pieces married with new…

Driftwood…

and other natural elements and materials  from the surrounding environment…

all guided by the colors that surround the house.

The coastline is an incredibly peaceful and beautiful place. Swathed in soothing colors of greens, blues, tans and whites, the visuals are cathartic. The rhythmic sounds of the water as well. I have been blessed and fortunate enough to have taken in this scene for most of my life, even if for only a week or two a year. This environment of contemplation and nature are guiding this build and its design, both inside and out.

The materials I have selected are raw, organic and echo the natural environment of the coastline. From the floor tiles…

to the reclaimed floorboards…

and the natural beams.

From the bathroom floor tiles…

to the shower wall tiles.

 

Of course the changing colors of the ocean could not be ignored and the paint colors on the interior will reflect the views of the exterior changes.

Above you will see some of the 3 D renderings of the interior, all of which have been tweaked and changed to some degree, from colors to materials to placement of things, but I highly recommend this process if you are involved in a new build or renovation.

Stay tuned to see how we retrofitted this behemoth piece that I had found on Clearance at Furniture Land South (most likely because of its size)  and to see the rest of the progress. As we are getting closer to its finish, I will be writing a blog post sharing my tips for embarking on a new build or renovation as well as some of my favorite materials to use. I will also be highlighting how I am giving some of the furnishings from the old house a new look, for we had moved everything into storage after the hurricane to be utilized and loved again. With the addition of some “new” old pieces, I will be showing you the decor and how to layer with texture and subtle color.

AND…

I want to show you where this awesome European apothecary ended up! We loaded it into our trailer and drove it down to the cabinetmakers to utilize in the kitchen. You should have seen their reaction when we arrived with it!

Until then, if you are looking for some unique pieces for your own home that can reflect some of the looks you see here, we just loaded some new merchandise to our online shop, including the above vintage dough bowl and below light blue kitchen/dining built in cabinet. Take a look, where you can find these items and more! Our last shopping day for the season is this coming up on Wednesday, June 23rd from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

 

 

As I wrap this one up I leave you with a sentiment from that Blog post that I wrote five years ago… how apropos since one cannot look into the future.

This is the thought that caused me to stop walking, to take a seat on the edge of the vast ocean whose rhythm you could pretty much set your clock by. Unlike this unchanging ocean, which has crashed upon these shores year after year, our lives are changing. The kids are growing up. Some will be absent on these trips as they are now immersed in their own lives which does not entail or allow the travel and time off to come down to this gathering spot. Life certainly changes when your children who have LIVED with you for twenty some years become visitors. Parents are aging, we are aging, life is fraught with change, for the good and the bad but change never the less. My hope is that with this change, my children encounter more good than bad, full happiness, success and lots of love in their own path, whatever that may look like for each one of them. That they may someday come back to this sense of place with their own children because they too…

feel it in their bones.”

xoxo

Meg

 

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  1. Denise Sedor says:

    OMG Meg you never cease to amaze me!!! You are an inspiration for sure!! ❤️

    • Meg Veno says:

      Denise, you are too funny… and sweet! Miss you girlfriend! Are you around this summer? would love to catch up and thank you!
      xo
      Meg