Building on Inspiration

This home captures the spirit and style of the surrounding community.
Julia Hamilton

For leaving everyday cares behind, there's nothing like a trip to the beach. Jeannie and Alex Krumdieck of Birmingham get away from it all with a stay at their home away from home, a masterwork of architecture and interior design they've created in Rosemary Beach, Florida. The neo-traditional resort town, designed and planned by Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company of Miami, borders a stretch of sand on the Sunshine State's northwest coast. Rosemary Beach's regulations requiring top-notch design and construction attracted Jeannie, a designer, and Alex, an architect.

Throughout the beach community, landscaped common areas punctuate clusters of cottages and larger homes that adapt much of their visual style from coastal and Caribbean towns.

Initial Ideas
Jeannie and Alex collaborated on the design of their vacation home with co-owners Kristen and Alan Boan of Fairhope, Alabama. Homes in Rosemary Beach are flavored by a colorful palette, and the Krumdiecks found inspiration in the white stucco town hall, a local landmark designed by Merrill and Pastor Architects of Vero Beach. "Alex loved the town hall, and we all agreed that we liked the white stucco and the idea of using a parapet wall to achieve a more vertical feel," says Jeannie.

At Rosemary Beach, certain distinctive architectural features, such as the parapet wall, are sometimes repeated on houses of various styles and sizes. This recurrence of familiar elements helps give the community its own visual identity.

The Krumdiecks and Boans chose a corner lot that was large enough to build a small pool within an enclosed garden area at the rear. Stucco walls with end gables anchor the house's rear and side elevations. On the side facing the street, Alex selected a tall, multipaned window downstairs and balanced it with a second one above.

 

Creating a Great Space
Massive wooden double doors beneath a tall front porch open to the first floor living area, a large, open room with a wall of windows enclosing each long side. Within that space, the dining area stands opposite the entry; the kitchen is positioned to the left, with seating and a fireplace situated to the right.

During the day, sunlight bounces off water circulating in the pool and dances across the windows. "Our main goal was for the interior and exterior to be unified," says Jeannie.

Balancing Old And New
To give the living area a feeling of age and bold character, old beams and planks were used on the ceiling. The waxed floor is also made of reclaimed wood. Rustic antiques are mixed with contemporary pieces. The cypress, glass-topped dining table is surrounded by primitive benches.

Woven roping covers a pair of armchairs, while pillows and upholstery contribute accent colors. Opposite the sofa, a plasma TV mounted on an adjustable arm projects from the wall of windows. The limestone fireplace occupies an arched recess at the end of the room.

The kitchen is also sleek and contemporary. It holds a stairway that leads to a hall, master bedroom, bath, and guest quarters on the second floor. There, a small den provides a cool, dark respite from the sun and creates a private space for reading.

Easy, Breezy Layout
French doors on the first floor open to the pool and garden area. The house is a marvel of visual interest both outdoors and in. "We strove to generate a lot of detail in the architecture so that the space continues to unfold before you as you experience it," says Jeannie. "You notice things--small intricacies in the way materials come together or how details are used. Overall they create a pleasing whole."