Rising gracefully against blue beachside skies, the home of Rule and Bob Brand welcomes you with a simple yet stylish presence. The house takes full advantage of its lot, masterfully using every inch.
With neighbors just steps away, creating a private feel in a community such as Rosemary Beach, Florida, is a challenge for any architect. Foregoing the typical rectangular design of many houses in the neighborhood, architect Eric Watson created a slanted L-shaped structure to give more privacy. The design also takes advantage of the light patterns. "The main facade of the house faces west, so it provides some shading to the terrace and garden areas oriented to the east," Eric explains.
Though fairly modest in size, the house feels pretty spacious. "The monumental entry facade gives more prominence to the front of the house and hints at the double-height space inside," he continues.
Mix It Up
The exterior blend of materials gives the house added character. Eric combined white stucco and cedar siding with mahogany shutters and a galvanized metal roof. The materials are durable and low maintenance. "We had the cedar stained, not painted. The stain works well in this environment because it is rougher in character and more forgiving than paint."
The Brands use the beach house as their primary residence, so it was essential that it be suited for a year-round lifestyle. "It was important for us to have an open floor plan, and we wanted a master bedroom on the first floor," says Bob. The interior's spaciousness results from the expansive ceiling in the main living area. "Although it is fairly open, we did provide a semiprivate area upstairs that overlooks the garden and has its own porch," Eric says. The design focuses on open and fluid spaces. "We conserved floorspace by minimizing hallways and foyers," he notes.
Warm heart pine is used for the floors, beams, and fireplace mantel and "plays off the rougher character of the exterior," says Eric. The kitchen finishes take their cue from the exterior. "The cabinetry is stained, and the kitchen island's blue-green color is the same as the window sashes," says Rule.
It's hard to pick the best feature of this award-winning home, but Rule's observation is worth noting. "My favorite aspect of the house was the whole experience of creating it. We all contributed our ideas, but Eric went beyond what we imagined. The house surpasses all our dreams," she says.