Colorful Beachside Getaway
A child drawing this house would surely need the 64-count box of crayons, the one with the built-in sharpener. No 8-count box could provide the vibrant under-the-sea shades required for a rendering of this Florida home.
"People always stop and comment," Debra Pigage says of the Carillon Beach, Florida, property she shares with husband Michael and children Ellen and Joe. "One person said it looks like a big lime sherbet ice cream cone!"
It's an apt description because a visit to Bikini Bottoms is such a refreshing treat. Ellen and Joe came up with the name based on the Nickelodeon cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants. The yellow, absorbent title character lives in a pineapple in the city of Bikini Bottom. As you would expect from a place with a name inspired by a cartoon, the house is delightfully animated. Leave your serious pants at the door.
photo: Like a lot of great beach homes, this one comes with a nickname--Bikini Bottoms. Wish you could stay here? You can! Visit www.vacationrentals.com, and type in Listing ID# 22761.
"If nautical nonsense be something you wish…"
Michael and Debra hired architecture firm Dungan Nequette to design the house. The result was nothing like Michael and Debra envisioned but was everything they wanted. "We absolutely love it!" Debra says.
A favorite feature is the 640 square feet of outdoor living space (the two-bedroom, two-bath interior measures less than 1,000 square feet). There's a screened porch, a deck on the back of the house, and a second-floor sun deck.
Debra and Michael came up with the blue-and-green color scheme and then added the purple accent color, which was inspired by a sea horse that Debra painted. "The house really shows up," she says. "Every time we drive up to it, we smile."
photo: A built-in platform bed and shelves make smart use of the small master bedroom. The walls are painted Cayman Blue (2060-50) by Benjamin Moore.
The bold colors also appear inside. Waves of blue drench the second-floor kitchen. A pale shade covers the walls and ceiling while a deeper shade is used on the cabinets. The wood floors carry a third shade of blue. The same hues are used in the downstairs master bedroom. Such colors are a perfect reflection of the nearby Gulf of Mexico waters.
"When I gave the cabinetmaker the color of the cabinets, he looked at me funny. It was a risk," Debra says. "I am so glad we did it."
Paint your wood floors to get a coastal look. The secret to a good paint job is the prep work. Wash, sand, and prime the floors. Then paint with latex floor and patio enamel. If it's a high-traffic area, use a water-based polyurethane to seal it.
photo: Michael and Debra chose three shades of blue off the same color card for the floor, cabinets, and wall.
"Then drop on the deck, and flop like a fish"
While every episode of SpongeBob SquarePants begins with this directive, there are certainly other fun ways to spend your days at the beach. A typical day for the Pigage family involves heading straight to the surf. It's just a few steps down the road and across the walkway. The proximity of the water to the Carillon Beach community, which is about 5 miles west of Panama City, was a huge selling point for Michael and Debra. "Our 18-year-old son, Joe, loves to go out to the walkway and play his guitar, or you can find him skimboarding. Ellen is digging in the sand, bike riding, or sunning," Debra says.
Debra's personal favorite spot is the screened porch. "I love reading a book in the sofa swing and watching people stroll by," she says. And if some of those strollers can't help but stop and comment on this fun and fantastic beach house, can you really blame them?
photo: Michael cut out the fish-shaped table, and Debra painted it. The DIY furniture is one more reason Bikini Bottoms has "a smile around every corner," Debra says.
Pages 130-133: Architecture by Dungan Nequette, Birmingham, www.dungan-nequette.com or (205) 322-6455; Kitchen cabinets and master bedroom wall paint is Cayman Blue (2060-50); kitchen walls and ceiling paint is Tear Drop (2060-70); kitchen floor paint and master bedroom beaded board paint is Toronto Blue (2060-40), all by Benjamin Moore, www.benjaminmoore.com (R); kitchen barstools are nostalgic 1950s stools from Serve-U, www.servu-online.com or 1-866-817-3788.