North Beach Beauty
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Like barbecued oysters on bone china or a strand of pearls with faded blue jeans, the Coastal Virginia Magazine Idea House offers the perfect balance of elegance and coastal casual living at the North End of Virginia Beach.
Located on a half-acre lot on the lovely 3rd hole of the Princess Anne Country Club Golf Course at 35 1/2 Street and Holly Road, just two blocks from the ocean, the inaugural Coastal Virginia Magazine Idea House—a partnership between Stephen Alexander Homes & Neighborhoods (SAH) and Coastal Virginia Magazine—is a celebration of “old-dating.” This term, coined by SAH principal Stephen Quick IV, is a play on “updating” and describes a style that is “a little bit Virginia Beach and a little bit Nantucket, c. early 1900s.”
With an opportunity to participate in shaping the present-day vernacular at the North Beach, SAH, together with their architectural partners Retnauer Baynes Associates, LLC, has created an ideal marriage of the beach cottages popular in Virginia Beach in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the legendary restrained and weathered beauty of Nantucket. In the process, notes Stephen, “We have reinvented some of our own details.” The happy outcome is the “old beachy-beach” Coastal Nostalgic style they sought.
However, while Nantucket is often referred to as “the little gray lady,” there is nothing gray about the Idea House. Clad in durable fiber cement siding with the look of real wood—both cedar shakes and horizontal lap boards—this home is bathed in a stunningly subtle tint of sea mist green with undertones so ephemeral that a definitive description wafts away on a breeze. With ultimate coastal curb appeal, both the home’s distinctive color and its architectural lines, set off by many nautical miles of crisp white trim, are at once graceful and handsome. And they will stop you in your sandy tracks. Like the beautiful girl next door, the architectural presence of this new kid on the block in its established beach neighborhood sports the kind of good looks that turns heads, yet fits in comfortably.
A Gracious Plenty
Immediately upon crossing the threshold into the gracious and open first-floor foyer, the soothing comfort of classical proportions and scale are subconsciously perceived and felt. From this vantage point, the Idea House’s breathtakingly open floor plan unfolds with an unstudied and timeless harmony. “We wanted the home to look like a 100-year-old house that underwent a modern renovation without losing its character,” explains Stephen.
According to SAH principal, Steve Quick, Sr., the appropriate question to ask about this house is not “How big is it?” But, “How big does it live?” At nearly 4,000 square feet, this two-story, 5-bedroom, 3 full and 2 half-bath home sports a ground-floor, multi-generational suite designed for overnight guests who want to kick off their shoes and relax. So, it is plenty big. But, more importantly, its gracious, carefully-conceived proportions, right down to the tiniest detail, make it feel neither sprawling nor cramped; rather, perfectly human-scaled.
Central to establishing an easy breathability and flow is a simple, uncluttered, upscale interior. Ten-foot ceilings downstairs—and vaulted ceilings in the second-level master suite and laundry-craft room—contribute to that sun-drenched, buoyant feeling throughout. Abundant, elegant coastal millwork is neither cloying nor contrived. Instead, high-end, perfectly proportioned, crisp white moldings, casings, wainscoting, built-in bookshelves, five-panel doors and a coffered ceiling in the main floor family room unify the spaces with a clean, streamlined look that creates an effortless continuity. A deep portal between the dining room and the foyer not only allows space for two flanking coat closets, but provides visual separation without bulk while drawing people in, as do paneled knee walls with square column details between the dining and family rooms. Light, neutral area rugs downstairs and wall-to-wall carpeting upstairs—except on the stairs themselves and in the upstairs foyer—simultaneously define and connect areas.
With a kitchen and related areas—a keeping or morning room, wine bar and beverage center, and walk-in pantry—that function as the hub of the home and account for nearly half of the downstairs space, proportions had to be on-point. The centerpiece of the expansive gourmet chef’s kitchen with its professional-grade Thermador appliances—including a 38-inch, French-style hood over the deluxe range—is a custom, 12-foot kitchen island with furniture detailing. As interior designer Susan Wilson of Goodwin Interiors, Inc., notes, “The ample size was needed to match the magnitude of the space.” According to SAH principal Alex Quick, its double thickness of white Carrera marblesque countertops similarly provides for visual heft that is harmonious with the volume of the kitchen space and in keeping with the ambiance of the home. White inset and glass-front cabinetry continues the crisp look of the custom millwork through the kitchen area, contributing to the feel of seamless transition by further opening and brightening the space.